SW Legal studies in Business

State May Require Businesses to Allow Employees to Store Firearms in Their Vehicles
Description

Federal appeals court upheld the constitutionality of an Oklahoma law that prohibits employers from prohibiting their employees from keeping firearms stored in their locked vehicles on company property. The law regulates company property but is not a taking that requires compensation, nor a violation of due process.

Topic Constitutional Law
Key Words

Takings; Eminent Domain; Due Process; Firearms; Company Property

C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts

A number of Oklahoma businesses forbid employees from bringing firearms onto company property. The Oklahoma legislature passed a law that holds employers to be criminally liable if they prohibit employees from storing firearms in locked vehicles on company property. Various businesses filed suit to challenge the constitutionality of the statute. A federal district court issued an injunction against enforcement of the statute. Oklahoma appealed.

Decision

Reversed. The businesses contend that the rule is a taking of their property without compensation in violation of the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment. The law does not physically take any property; it only states that businesses may not prohibit employees from storing their firearms in their locked vehicles on company property, such as the employee parking lot. That is not an exercise of eminent domain that requires compensation. Similarly, there was no violation of due process as the state law was rationally related to legitimate state interests of increasing public safety. The law is not arbitrary or irrational.

Citation

Ramsey Winch v. Henry, 555 F.3d 1199 (5th Cir., 2009)

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