In July of 2008, Gov. Jindal signed Senate Bill no. 51 into law. Senate Bill no. 51 has been dubbed the “take-your-gun-to-work law.” The new statute took effect on August 15, 2008. The United States 10th Circuit Court of Appeals recently upheld a similar Oklahoma statute.
Louisiana is not the first state in the nation to enact such legislation. Other states with similar laws include Alaska, Kentucky, Mississippi, Georgia, Florida, and Oklahoma. Legal challenges to the statutes followed.
The Oklahoma statute was challenged on the grounds that OSHA workplace safety rules preempted the Oklahoma state statute. A U.S. District Court agreed with the challengers, but the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the District Court and held that OSHA did not preempt the state statute.
Louisiana’s Senate Bill no. 51 enacts La.R.S. 32:292.1 and makes it lawful for a person who “lawfully possess” a firearm to transport or store the firearm in a locked, privately-owned vehicle in any parking lot, parking garage, or other designated parking area. Property owners, tenants, employers, and businesses may not prohibit any person from transporting or storing a firearm in a locked, privately-owned vehicle in any parking lot, parking garage, or other designated paring area. But, employers and business entities may adopt polices specifying that the firearms must be hidden from plain view or within a locked case or container within the vehicle.
The statute does not apply to vehicles “on property controlled by” employers or businesses if access to the property is restricted through the use of a fence, gate, security station, or other means of limiting access to the general public; and either one of the following applies: (a) the employer or business entity provides for the temporary storage of unloaded firearms, or (b) the employer or business entity provides an alternative parking area (“reasonably close”) to the main parking area where employees and others may transport or store firearms in locked, privately-owned motor vehicles.
Property owners, tenants, employers, or businesses may not be held liable for damages “resulting from or arising out of an occurrence involving a firearm transported or stored” pursuant to the new law. But property owners, tenants, employers, or businesses may be held liable for damages for prohibiting the otherwise authorized transportation or storage of firearms.