Ok, so let’s say you are a woodworker, who also owns firearms, and you want to get an early start on your hunting trip for the weekend, but you can’t have your gun on company property without getting fired. What to do?

In the news recently is an article from Indiana, where a bill proposed by State Sen. Johnny Nugent (R) is presently working its way through the state’s General Assembly. The bill would allow gun owners to keep their firearms locked in their vehicles while at work. Though this issue may not be specific to woodworking, it would affect a large number of woodworking companies and employees.

Nugent said he wrote the legislation in reaction to instances in Indiana and other states where workers have been fired for keeping a handgun or hunting rifle locked in their cars in a company parking lot. “This allows an employee to have their gun locked in a car so they can go hunting before work or after work, and it allows means for them to defend themselves should there be an encounter before or after work,” he said in the article.

Those against the bill, such as businesses and business groups like the Indiana Chamber of Commerce, say the law violates the rights of property owners to make policies that keep their workplaces safe. State Sen. Karen Tallian (D) also pointed out that besides property rights and safety issues, the bill allows a worker who is fired for having a gun in his or her vehicle on the employer’s property to sue that employer for damages, costs, attorney fees and injunctive relief to remedy a violation, and that those are privileges not even provided for people fired because of age, race or gender discrimination.

This is, of course, all part of a much larger Second Amendment issue. But who is right in this instance? I think most people feel that responsible gun owners should have rights. Might it be a slippery slope to more restrictive gun laws if this bill is shot down?

At the same time, I wonder if this is just asking for trouble. How often in the past have we heard of disgruntled workers opening fire in the workplace? Would this bill make it easier for that type of situation to happen? And shouldn’t business owners have the right to decide who or what is on their property?

So what side of this issue do you fall on? Or do you think there is gray area that the bill does not address? We would love to hear your thoughts and opinions, especially if there are any of you out there from Indiana who want to weigh in.


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Got a viewpoint you would like to share with the our online woodworking community?  Woodworking Network welcomes guest blogs from wood products professionals. Submit your opinions to Rich Christianson, Editor at Large, at rchristianson@vancepublishing.com.

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