Tennessee Attorney General Opinion on Employee Gun Possession
The Tennessee legislature recently passed a statute that states that an individual does not commit a criminal act when the individual transports or stores a firearm or ammunition in the person’s privately-owned vehicle when the individual has a handgun carry permit recognized in Tennessee. This statute, which goes into effect on July 1, provides for storage in the vehicle in any public or private parking area provided the gun or ammunition is kept from observation, or is locked in a trunk, glove box, or container if the person is not in the vehicle. Many Tennessee employers have been reviewing weapons policies in advance of the law.
The Tennessee Attorney General released an opinion on May 28 that finds that this statute does not alter or impact the employer-employee relationship. In other words, employers can still prohibit handguns on their property by employees. As the opinion notes, employers have long had the ability to prohibit or restrict lawful activity through employment policies. While the opinion does not have the authority of a court decision, the reasoning should be considered by employers who are reviewing their policies.