Upcoming Changes to Concealed Carry Law Affects Ohio Employers, too.

In a highly publicized development, Gov. John Kasich signed into law Senate Bill 199 on December 19, 2016.  This law is set to go into effect on March 20, 2017.  It will greatly expand the legal right of concealed handgun license holders to carry firearms and ammunition into areas from which they were previously restricted.  Much of the media coverage regarding SB199 has focused on carrying firearms into child care centers and universities.  But the law also restricts the ability of Ohio employers to keep firearms off company property.

The new law prohibits both public and private Ohio businesses from establishing or enforcing any policy which restricts an employee from storing a firearm in their privately owned vehicle if the employee satisfies the following criteria:

  • The employee holds a valid concealed handgun license;
  • The firearm is located in the employee’s privately-owned vehicle;
  • The employee is physically present in the vehicle; OR
  • If the employee is not present in the vehicle, then the firearm is locked in the trunk, glove box or another enclosed compartment within the vehicle;
  • The vehicle is parked in a location where it is authorized to be.

The new law also provides protections for Ohio employers.

The law shields employers from liability with respect to any accident, injury or death resulting from an employee’s bringing a firearm onto company property in compliance with this law.  This protection is expressly extended to any incident resulting from a firearm which is stolen from an employee’s vehicle.

In considering what steps an employer must take with respect to this new law, it is worth emphasizing the following points:

  • Employers may continue to prohibit firearms inside company buildings;
  • Employers may restrict an employee from having a firearm on their person – even in company parking areas, and even if said employee holds a valid concealed handgun license;
  • Employers may restrict an employee from storing firearms within company-owned vehicles;

Employers with blanket policies restricting firearms on company property should consider revising their policies in order to comply with the new law which goes into effect on March 20, 2017.

This post is not intended as a substitute for professional legal advice, nor does it constitute an attorney-client relationship.  If you have any questions about this information, please contact an attorney at Martin, Browne, Hull & Harper, P.L.L. at 937-324-5541.