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Arizona employers can still ban guns in workplace

Legislation that will allow most people in Arizona to carry a concealed weapon without a permit won’t change employers’ ability to ban firearms from the workplace.

Gov. Jan Brewer recently signed a bill that will allow U.S. citizens 21 and older to carry concealed weapons without a permit. However, the new law has no effect on employers’ policies that restrict guns or other weapons at work sites.

“Employers can stick to their guns,” said Neil Alexander, an attorney with the Phoenix employment and labor law firm Littler and a board member of the Arizona Society for Human Resource Management. “Even though the licensing has been revised, employers can still prohibit concealed weapons.”

The law goes into effect 90 days after the Legislature adjourns.

Brewer signed another bill last summer that prevents private-property owners from banning firearms in parking areas as long as the weapons are stored in vehicles. That law prompted many employers across the state to rewrite workplace-violence policies to reflect the change, Alexander said.

Private businesses such as Phoenix-based commercial retailer Westcor don’t expect much impact from the state’s decision to loosen concealed-carry requirements.

Westcor bans guns at all of its Arizona properties, except for law enforcement and trained security personnel such as armored-car guards. It posts the “no-firearms” policy at its mall entrances and at anchor stores, but some customers must be reminded of the policy by Westcor security.

“When we come across somebody who has a firearm, we will approach that person and allow them to secure their firearm,” said William Harrell, Westcor’s assistant vice president for security and guest services. “We do that because there is no way for us to tell a responsible gun owner from an irresponsible gun owner.”

Some businesses, such as the Scottsdale Gun Club, allow employees to openly carry firearms at work. New Scottsdale Gun Club employees must pass a police certification that tests a student’s ability to handle and shoot a gun.

Darrell Whitmer, assistant operations manager of Scottsdale Gun Club, called the new legislation a “step for more freedom.”

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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