A New Gun Law In Iowa Could Become A Reality
Over the last few years, a topic that seems to be gaining attention is whether or not employers can have policies that restrict employees from having guns in their vehicles in company parking lots. A law prohibiting these policies has passed an initial review in the Iowa Senate.
“The employee, I believe, has a fundamental right on their way to work…on their way home after work to have a weapon as a means of well-being and security,” says Senator Jason Schultz, a Republican from Schleswig and bill’s sponsor.
In a subcommittee hearing last week, Schultz said people should be able to leave their locked guns in their parked vehicles. The bill wouldn’t affect businesses that don’t allow guns inside the workplace.
Not everyone is for the bill. Rita Carter of the United Methodist Church Advocates is concerned because the bill would also apply to employees and volunteers of non-profits.
“So what’s to prevent an employee from — even though they’ve lawfully locked their gun and ammunition in their car — from going out, getting it, coming back in, and wreaking havoc?”
And Carter is not alone. Tracey Kennedy, the leader of the Iowa chapter for Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense, is also raising concerns.
“There are legitimate reasons employers choose not to have firearms being stored on the property, including the risk of guns being stolen from cars. Research actually suggests that nearly one-quarter of guns are taken from cars and other vehicles.”
Several business groups are currently monitoring the bill.
The first "parking lot" law was passed in Oklahoma in 2004. Since then, other states have passed their own but the specifics of the laws vary from state to state.
About two dozen states have similar “guns-at-work” laws said Richard Rogers of the Iowa Firearms Coalition in an interview with Radio Iowa.
“What we believe is that employers have rights, but employees and citizens have rights, including a right to an expectation of privacy in their vehicle, just as they do in their home, and that the place to draw the line between those rights is at the locked door of a private vehicle.”
Currently, the bill is scheduled for debate in a Senate Committee this week. Because this is a policy bill. if it is not approved by the end of next week by the Senate or House- the bill will be tabled for a year. This deadline does not apply to any spending or tax-related bills.