Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels has signed into law the “Possession of Firearms and Ammunition in Locked Vehicles Law.”  The law bars employers from adopting any rule or policy prohibiting employees, including contract employees, from storing firearms and ammunition out-of-sight in their locked vehicles.  Effective July 1, 2010, the law applies only to persons who may possess a firearm or ammunition legally.  It does not apply to the possession of a firearm, ammunition, or other device for which an individual must possess a valid federal firearms license issued under federal law (18 U.S.C. § 923).

In general, the gun law precludes employers in Indiana from adopting or enforcing any policy or rule that “prohibits, or has the effect of prohibiting, any employee, including a contract employee, from possessing a firearm or ammunition that is locked in the trunk of the employee’s vehicle, kept in the glove compartment of the employee’s locked vehicle, or stored out of plain sight in the employee’s locked vehicle.”

The law includes several broad exceptions, however.  Specifically, it permits employers to ban the possession of a firearm or ammunition on school property, property that is being used by a school for a school function, or on a school bus.  Employers also may prohibit employees from bringing firearms or ammunition on the property of:

  • a child caring institution;
  • an emergency shelter care child caring institution;
  • a private secure facility;
  • a group home;
  • an emergency shelter care group home;
  • a child care center;
  • a penal facility;
  • an approved post-secondary educational institution;
  • a domestic violence shelter;
  • a person’s residence; or
  • a location in violation of federal law.

Property that either is subject to the United States Department of Homeland Security’s Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (issued April 9, 2007), and licensed by the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission (under Title 10 of the Code of Federal Regulations), or is owned by a public utility that generates and transmits electric power or a department of public utilities also is exempt from the gun law.  Finally, the law permits employers to ban the possession of a firearm or ammunition in an employee’s “personal vehicle” if the employee is a “direct support professional” who “works directly with individuals with developmental disabilities” and uses his personal vehicle to transport such individuals.

Employers in Indiana must take note of this new law and review their policies concerning the possession of firearms or ammunition on company property, including company-owned vehicles.  

We will continue to keep you apprised of developments in this area.