Legal Issues and State Government and Workplace Safety and Government & Economic Development and Government and Workplace Issues

Employers mull legal challenge to new state gun law

July 1, 2010

The state’s top business advocate said he would support a challenge to a new state law that took effect Thursday allowing workers to keep guns out of sight in their locked vehicles while parked on their employers’ property.

At least a dozen members of the Indiana Chamber of Commerce are interested in potentially pursuing a legal challenge, though no specific plans of action exist, Chamber President Kevin Brinegar said.

Brinegar, an outspoken critic of the new law, said his organization would not lead any legal challenge but instead would defer to its members.

“The question is whether employers can prohibit employees from bringing guns on their property,” he said. “Many employers feel very strongly that this is their right and should remain their right.”

One of those is steel producer ArcelorMittal USA in northwest Indiana.

The company sent a memo to workers at its mills in East Chicago and Burns Harbor telling them officials would strictly enforce its firearms ban because federal law supercedes the state law, according to The Times of Northwest Indiana.

Ice Miller LLP labor lawyer Paul Sinclair predicted businesses will force the General Assembly to justify why some are companies are exempt from the new guns-at-work law and others are not.

Schools and day cares are exempt. So are pharmaceutical companies and refineries.

“The question is, why is it that we carve out some employers and say they’re protected from all of this, but not other employers?” Sinclair said.

Several business groups concerned about workplace violence opposed the measure as the Legislature was weighing the measure earlier this year.

For more, go to IBJ blog NewsTalk.

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