Armed at the workplace?

March 18, 2009 3:54:57 PM PDT
Armed at the workplace? Local lawmakers are pushing a bill that would allow gun owners to keep a gun in their car at work, despite what their employers say. [SIGN UP: Get headlines and breaking news sent to you]

It's an idea that's getting a lot of reaction from both sides of the debate. Those against the idea are worried about scenes like the one that unfolded last year in Kentucky, where a man opened fire on his co-worker, killing five people, after getting in a fight with his boss over whether he had to wear safety goggles.

Supporters argue the legislation would help gun owners feel safer.

The bill is sponsored by two local state senators, Glenn Hegar of Katy and Dan Patrick of Houston.

It is a debate in Austin that could cause fireworks just about anywhere you go. It's Senate bill 730 and it changes where licensed gun owners can carry their weapons.

"I think it's a fantastic idea," said gun store owner Jim Pruett.

Pruett also offers the concealed handgun permit class, and he believes SB 730 is a step in the right direction.

"It's not anything to do with having a gun in the workplace," he said. "It's all about having a gun to protect yourself from the gangs, the common street thugs, carjackers and all of these other people that plague our society."

The bill states that a public or private employer may not prohibit an employee who holds a license to carry a concealed handgun in a locked, private owned motor vehicle in a parking lot, parking garage, or other parking area.

That doesn't mean you can take a gun into work, just that you can have it in your locked car at work.

"We really don't feel that's a sensible idea," said Tommie Garza with Texans for Gun Safety.

Garza is believes the bill is a bad idea, even for responsible gun owners.

"We feel that if a gun was available to someone who might have an altercation inside the workplace, that would give them such an easy opportunity to go in and show them how they felt in that particular moment, as opposed to if you had your gun at home," she said. "You may take off in a rage, but by the time you got home, it would have given you time to cool off."

There is an identical bill in the state House. But of the seven stages, it takes for a bill to become law. Senate bill 730 is still on stage one, in committee hearings.

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