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State House Passes Parking Lot Guns Bill

By Jason Allen, CBS 11 News
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A customer looks over a .45-caliber pistol in suburban Chicago on July 12, 2010. (credit: Scott Olson/Getty Images)

A customer looks over a .45-caliber pistol in suburban Chicago on July 12, 2010. (credit: Scott Olson/Getty Images)

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AUSTIN (CBSDFW.COM) - No company will be able to prevent an employee from keeping a gun in their car at work, under a new bill that was passed by the state House on Wednesday. That bill is now just a Senate vote and a signature away from becoming law.

This bill had passed in the state Senate twice before, but it had never made it through the House.

School parking lots as well as oil and gas leasing companies are exempted from the new requirements.

The vote was a big victory for Texas gun owners, who said that the workplace restrictions placed on employees left them vulnerable and unable to defend themselves. “We need to maintain our freedoms,” Paul Kanesky said Wednesday. “And one of those is the freedom for the weak to protect themselves from the strong.”

The Texas Association of Business opposed the bill, concerned about corporate liability if there is an incident, and higher insurance costs. The bill includes language which states that an employer cannot be held liable, but the assocation said that it is not as strong as they would have liked, and leaves open the chance that businesses could be held liable anyway, if a gun was ever removed from a vehicle.

Gun owner James Cooke said that companies should worry more about the liability if they continue to deny employees the right to keep a firearm with them. “They say you can’t defend yourself, then they are the ones who are in jeopardy,” Cooke said.

NRA Board member Charles Cotton spoke with 1080 KRLD and said he supports the bill.

The bill now goes back to the Senate for review and one last vote, before heading to the Governor’s office for his signature. If it signs the bill, it will take effect on September 1.

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