The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that an employee of a company contracted to do work at a Nissan plant in Canton, Mississippi who was fired for having a firearm in his car at work has no legal protection, even under the state’s law that allows for some legal gun owners to lawfully store their firearms in their vehicle while they’re at work.
The case was brought by Michael Wayne McIntyre, who was an employee of CalsonicKansei North America, Inc., which in turn was a subcontractor for Nissan North America. In February of 2016, CalsonicKansei was informed through an anonymous tip that McIntyre had a gun in his vehicle, and when a security officer for the company searched McIntyre’s car, they discovered McIntyre’s legally owned handgun in the center console. McIntyre was sent home, and ultimately fired from CalsonicKansei. In his suit, McIntyre claimed that he was wrongfully terminated and had the right under Mississippi law to legally store his gun in his vehicle, but both a U.S. District Judge and the Fifth Circuit disagreed, noting that the parking lot protection law has an exemption that allows companies to ban employees from storing firearms in their vehicles while they’re at work if access to the parking lot is “restricted or limited.” According to the Fifth Circuit, the CalsonicKansei parking lot that McIntyre used as an employee meets that definition.
The drop arms, whatever the facts on how often they were down, provided at least a periodic limitation. Further, a security camera was directed at Entry 1A and was monitored from a central security office. Security officers continuously patrolled the entire plant, including Lot 1B. An additional limit to the public’s access to Lot 1B was created by the barbed-wire-topped, chainlink fence surrounding the entire plant. We conclude that fact is statutorily relevant because limiting access to a larger facility will also limit access to its individual components. Finally, there were visible no-trespassing signs posted at all plant entrances. Signs limit by declaring there is no right to enter. Indeed, posted notice prohibiting entry is a significant legal restriction because entering another’s property in disregard of a properly displayed sign can be a criminal offense.