Ohio Enacts 'Guns in Trunks' Law

Author: David B. Weisenfeld, XpertHR Legal Editor

December 29, 2016

A new Ohio law will allow employees to keep guns and ammunition in their cars while at work so long as each firearm remains locked within the car's trunk, glove box or other enclosed compartment. The law also makes it illegal for an employer to fire or refuse to hire someone who has a valid permit and keeps a gun within a vehicle locked on the employer's property.

With the new measure, Ohio joins neighboring states Indiana and Kentucky, which have similar so-called "guns in trunks" laws. In all, more than 20 states permit employees to store guns locked in their parked cars while at work.

The Ohio law is expected to take effect in March 2017. It also expands the list of places where a licensed permit holder may carry a concealed gun to include:

  • Childcare facilities that do not post signs banning concealed weapons; and
  • College campuses, with permission of the boards of trustees.

Business groups, including the Ohio Chamber of Commerce, had opposed the law, arguing that it creates increased uncertainty for business owners.

The measure does provide a safeguard in stating that a private employer is shielded from liability in a civil lawsuit for any injury, death or loss to person or property resulting from an employee's or other person's decision to transport a firearm as permitted by law, unless the employer acted intentionally to cause the loss.

This issue is a reminder for employers to stay abreast of current gun laws in the states where they do business and ensure that their policies comply.