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Workplace shootings accounted for 375 deaths in 2012, which is about average for the past decade, according to the Wall Street Journal. A study by the American Journal of Public Health found in 2005 that companies that allowed guns were five times more likely to have a worker killed on the job than a workplace that didn't allow any weapons.
Still, many states, mostly in the Midwest and South, have recently passed legislation that allows employees to keep guns in their car while at work. Their reasoning is workers have the right to defend themselves if they become a victim of a carjacking.
Gun-control advocates and many businesses disagree, arguing that workers are put at greater risk if a coworker is mentally unstable, becomes angry and has easy access to a gun in the parking lot.
"We're not particularly fond of state or federal mandates, regardless of what the issue is," Bob Carragher, senior adviser for state affairs at the Society for Human Resource Management, told NBC News. "There is a concern always about guns or access to a gun in or near the workplace, but the real concern we have is an employer's right to decide what policies to implement in the workplace are infringed by these laws."
Guns in the workplace recently received national attention when Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz asked customers to stop bringing guns into his coffee shops, even in states where it is legal to do so.
"Pro-gun activists have used our stores as a political stage for media events misleadingly called 'Starbucks Appreciation Days' that disingenuously portray Starbucks as a champion of 'open carry,'" Schultz said in an open letter. "To be clear: we do not want these events in our stores. Some anti-gun activists have also played a role in ratcheting up the rhetoric and friction, including soliciting and confronting our customers and partners."
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