HUNTSVILLE, Ala.(WHNT)-Leaders in Alabama's business community are voicing their opposition to a bill that would allow employees to bring their guns to work.
Senate Bill 286 would make it illegal for workplaces to disallow employees from transporting their firearms onto company property, as long as those weapons stay locked inside workers' vehicles. Many Alabama employers currently have policies that prevent workers from bringing their guns onto company property. But if the bill passes it would strike down those policies, and punish businesses who try to fire or discipline employees for bringing their guns to work.
The influential Business Council of Alabama has voiced their opposition to the bill, which could be voted on in the Senate as early as this week.
"Does an employer have the right to set their own rules on their property? I think that's where we draw the line," said Huntsville businessman and BCA Board Member Phil Dotts. "We would see this as just another burdensome regulation on business. That's not ideal when we're in an environment where we're trying to create jobs...Employers should have the right to make their own rules, and not necessarily abide by something that might not be in the best interest or safety of their employees."
Lawmakers who support the bill say it's needed to ensure the Constitutional rights and personal protection of gun owners while travelling to and from work. Dotts said the BCA would support the bill if it had an opt-out provision, along with guaranteed immunity for companies who may suffer harm from an employee that chooses to bring their gun to work. But lawmakers have rejected those advances so far.
Sen. Roger Bedford (D-Russellville) helped draft the guns to work bill, which is also supported by a number of other lawmakers in the north Alabama delegation.
The bill also provides measures that would repeal the pistol permit requirement currently needed if gunowners wish to keep their personal weapon inside their vehicle. Alabama sheriffs would also be required to make decisions on pistol permit applications within thirty days of receipt.