On July 8, 2003, Doug Williams, an employee at the Lockheed Martin plant in Meridian, Mississippi, shot 14 of his co-workers, killing 6 of them before committing suicide.
Three years later, the Mississippi Legislature passed Section 45-9-55 of the Mississippi Code, which allowed employees to keep weapons in their locked vehicles in the employer’s parking lots, if those lots were not otherwise denied access to the general public by fences, a gate, security station or other means.
The law prohibited employers from establishing, maintaining, or enforcing any rule or policy which prohibited employees from keeping weapons in their locked vehicles under such circumstances. Nevertheless, employers either seem not to be aware of this law, or ignore it, publishing in their employee handbooks that firearms are prohibited anywhere on company property, which would include open parking areas.
In May, 2013, an employee of an aerospace company in Mississippi fired an employee for having a weapon in his locked vehicle, which was parked in their open parking area. This company had also “established, maintained and enforced” a company policy prohibiting firearms anywhere on company property, which would include the open parking lot, in violation of state law.
While it would certainly appear to be reasonable for an employer to prohibit firearms in the interiors of its facilities, it is without doubt contrary to the law in Mississippi for it to totally ban firearms in locked vehicles in open parking lots. The law even grants civil immunity to the employers from any liability in complying with the law, a reasonable interpretation of which is that if an employee brought a firearm into the parking lot and then retrieved it and committed mayhem upon other unarmed employees, it could not be sued for complying with the law.
Such “no-firearm” policies, which are in violation of Mississippi law, deprive law-abiding and sane firearm owning employees any possibility of self-defense in a situation such at that that occurred at the Lockheed Martin plant in Meridian, Mississippi, in 2003. One can only speculate what would have occurred had the employees at Lockheed been able to flee the building and retrieve their weapons from their locked vehicles and defend themselves.
David Butts Law Firm has filed suit to enforce the Mississippi law allowing employees to keep firearms in their locked vehicles in open-access parking lots and for firing an employee who merely exercised his rights under Mississippi law and the Second Amendment of the Constitution. This employee threatened no one, never removed his weapon from the car, yet he was fired for violating a company policy prohibited by Mississippi law.
As Mississippi is an at-will employment state, and employers are free to fire any employee for any or no reason (except those prohibited by Federal law: race, sex, age, religion, or national origin) only two exceptions to this doctrine have been recognized by the courts in Mississippi: an employee may file a suit for wrongful discharge when he or she refuses to commit an illegal act at the direction of the employer or reports an illegal act by the employer.
This suit seeks to establish a third exception, the right of an employee to have access to his or her firearm in necessary self-defense, without being fired for doing so. You may see the lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Mississippi by clicking here – or simply view the Slideshow below.
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