Effective January 1, 2023, Alabama law regarding firearms in public is amended to permit an individual to carry a concealed firearm without a permit. The conditions under which employees may keep firearms in their personal vehicles in an employer’s parking lot are also amended.
Employers are not permitted to ban employees from keeping guns in employer-owned parking lots. Specifically, the amendment provides that a public or private employer may not restrict or prohibit the transportation or storage of a lawfully possessed pistol or ammunition for that pistol in an employee’s privately owned motor vehicle while parked or operated in a public or private parking area as long as the employee satisfies all of the following conditions:
- The motor vehicle is operated or parked in a location where it is otherwise permitted to be.
- The pistol is either of the following:
- In a motor vehicle attended by the employee, kept from ordinary observation within the person’s motor vehicle.
- In a motor vehicle unattended by the employee, kept from ordinary observation and locked within a compartment, container, or in the interior of the person’s privately owned motor vehicle or in a compartment or container securely affixed to the motor vehicle.
Next Steps for Employers
Employers should proceed with caution before taking adverse employment action against an employee who is following the law including proper storage of the firearm. Employers, specifically those wishing to prohibit handguns in the workplace, should review their workplace violence and/or weapons in the workplace policy(ies) to ensure the Company’s position on handguns is not contrary to the amendments and is explicit about the Company’s stance on carrying weapons in areas of the workplace beyond the parking lot.
Although not required, employers are encouraged to provide a poster regarding workplace violence prevention. It is also recommended that employers engage in annual workplace violence prevention training to mitigate risks related to employees having firearms on their premises and consult with their legal counsel on additional best practices as it relates to enforcement of their company policies.