Compliance Conundrum: Can Employers Ban Guns in Parked Employee Vehicles?

By Jana Bjorklund, GovDocs Senior Counsel and
Director, Employment Law and Compliance
Published May 15, 2024
Can employees have guns in workplace parking lot - GovDocs

When it comes to an employee storing a legally owned gun in their privately owned vehicle on company property, the laws vary from state to state.

Can An Employer Prohibit Employees From Having Guns in Their Vehicles Parked in Workplace Parking Lots?

Workplace violence is a continuing worry for employers, and safety in the workplace is a top concern. Consistent with this, most employers ban guns in the workplace. But when it comes to the employer’s parking lot, what options does an employer have? 

The answer is (as with most answers to questions about employment law), it depends. Most states are clear that employers can ban guns in the workplace. But when it comes to an employee storing a legally owned gun in their privately owned vehicle on company property, the laws vary from state to state.

States with Laws Related to Guns in Workplace Parking Lots

There is no federal law regulating the possession of weapons at private workplaces and parking lots. However, 29 states have passed laws addressing the issue of guns in workplace parking lots.  

Alaska, California, Hawaii, and New York all have laws that allow an employer to prohibit employees from bringing guns into workplace parking lots under certain circumstances: 

  • In Alaska, an employer may prohibit firearms in vehicles in a parking lot owned or controlled by the employer within 300 feet of that employer’s secured restricted access area.
  • In California, certain employers may prohibit firearms in the parking areas of specific public and private locations.
  • In Hawaii, guns may be prohibited on private property without express authorization and employers may prohibit guns in their parking lots.
  • In New York, employers may prohibit guns in their parking lots, provided those parking lots are private property.

States with Laws Prohibiting Employers from Banning Guns in Workplace Parking Lots

Several other states have laws expressly prohibiting employers from banning guns in parking lots. These include:  


Most of these laws restrict employers from banning guns in vehicles in their parking lots, as long as certain conditions are met, such as the firearm being out of sight and locked in the vehicle. Each law is a little different, and employers should be aware of the specifics of these laws in the states where they conduct business.

States with No Laws Related to Guns in Workplace Parking Lots

Finally, there are several states that have no laws addressing this issue. In such jurisdictions, employers can generally establish their own rules for gun possession in their parking lots. These states include the following: 

CO, CT, DE, D.C., IA, MA, MI, MT, NV, NH, NM, NC, OR, PA, RI, SC, SD, VT, VA, WA, WY 


Employers who want to restrict weapons on their property should develop and distribute a clear and distinct policy addressing weapon possession in the workplace and in their parking lots. Where required, signs should be posted, and employers should implement procedures for employees to report policy violations and disciplinary action for those who violate the policy.

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This Employment Law News blog is intended for market awareness only, it is not to be used for legal advice or counsel.

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