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Parking Lot Bills

I think the ironic thing in this whole issue in Georgia is that I’m actually not in favor of the parking lot bill, and would prefer a bill like HB 915 to be passed in its place.  But I find myself defending NRA’s position on the bill, which I don’t agree with, because I think the criticisms that it won’t get behind HB 915 are unfair.

Gun owners should take a hard look at the situation that got this whole “Parking Lot” thing going:

On October 1, 2002, the company sent detection dogs into the parking lot of their Valliant, Oklahoma paper mill plant looking for drugs in vehicles in response to an employee drug overdose. They found no drugs, but the dogs alerted on 12 cars with guns in them.[8] Some of the employees were provided by sub-contractors, including Kellogg, Brown & Root (KBR) and Kenny Industrials.[9] The company then asked the employees if they would open their vehicles for a hand search, two of them refused, of the remaining 10 vehicles rifles, shotguns, and handguns were found.[8][9]

On November 14, 2002, the vehicles in the parking lot were searched for a second time. All employees were warned that if contraband, either drugs or firearms, were found a second time, they would be terminated. 12 employees were found with contraband and were immediately suspended.[9]

Whether you agree with the Parking Lot bill or not, the gestapo tactics employed by Weyerhauser in this case are despicable, and I can tell you I would never do business or work for Weyerhauser because they treat their employees with this level of disrespect.  It’s unprofessional on the part of Weyerhauser to violate their employees privacy by conducting random searches of employee property.  I would have told them to get bent.

But as I’ve said, I think an employer has a right to make an ass of themselves in this manner.  While government does rightly interfere with the Employment at Will doctrine to prevent discrimination against certain classes of people, in most cases, we don’t for behavior issues, and I don’t like the idea of opening the door up to that.   I also think the problem has been overstated; are that many employers going as far as Weyerhauser has in terms of searching employee vehicles?  Is it worth the energy and resources to solve this problem legislatively?   These are the things I question.

But if you’re NRA, and you have members worried about situations like Weyerhauser, do you tell them too bad, because NRA is going to stand up for property rights and employer rights?  They are an organization that represents gun owners.  They are not the CATO Institute.  They’re also not Reason Magazine, no matter how much I might agree with Reason’s take here.

I don’t agree with NRA on the parking lot bill, but I won’t blame a tiger for its stripes.  A lot of gun owners see things differently on this matter, and the National Rifle Association represents them every bit as much as it represents me.

5 Responses to “Parking Lot Bills”

  1. Sailorcurt says:

    I’m well aware of what started the ball rolling on this issue. I applauded their efforts in Oklahoma at the time and I still do even though I’m not wholeheartedly behind the legislative fix that they pursued.

    The NRA tasted success in Oklahoma and, so, are trying to capitalize on that success by getting similar legislation passed in other states.

    I think that is a great and wonderful idea right up until it begins to undermine hard work of the people who live there. In this case, the residents and activists of Georgia have taken a different tack. Georgia is NOT Oklahoma and the NRA is stepping on Activists who will still be fighting the good fight there after the NRA has moved on.

    The NRA should be supporting the grass roots activists in Georgia who have been working so hard on this legislation…not undermining them to pursue their own agenda.

  2. Sebastian says:

    I think that is a great and wonderful idea right up until it begins to undermine hard work of the people who live there. In this case, the residents and activists of Georgia have taken a different tack. Georgia is NOT Oklahoma and the NRA is stepping on Activists who will still be fighting the good fight there after the NRA has moved on.

    That’s a legitimate criticism, and Georgia activists aren’t the first people to get pooped on when NRA decides it has different priorities. I understand the frustration, but I think a lot of folks get way too bent out of shape and start looking at the issue too parochially. I do actually wish that NRA could always work nicely with local groups, but NRA has a national agenda to worry about, and that’s necessarily going to mean local groups get stomped on sometimes. It sucks, but I don’t know how you change that and still have a national gun rights movement.

  3. Alcibiades McZombie says:

    I view parking lots as able to have easements similar to sidewalks. Sidewalks in front of buildings are owned by somebody, yet anyone with a CCW can carry over that property. Even without a CCW, you can carry a firearm across sidewalks (complying with all local laws, etc., etc.).

    (Okay, sidewalks are a bit different in that they are “right-of-way”, but easements can do other things as well.)

  4. Dustin says:

    I’m all for property rights in that a business can tell me whether or not I can park my car on his or her property. Where I draw the line is invasion of my property rights by the employer wanting to know what is in my car or trying to tell me that I can not have perfectly legal items within it since my car is an extension of my home.

    The line would be that I can’t step out of my mobile “home” in the form of my car & onto the business property carrying a weapon if the business owner does not allow weapons. In that case I’d be forced to lock my gun in my car to respect the business property rights, or refuse to get out of my car & drive off.

    Just my .02 cents :)

  5. straightarrow says:

    Dustin has it.

    Don’t just think about this is 2A terms, but think about in terms of all the other rights this practice violates. And think of all the area covered by the violation of these rights beyond the limits of the employer’s lot.

    He hasn’t just violated you on his property but has extended that violation to everywhere between his property and anywhere else you may need to go. And he did it by violating your property rights.

    How in God’s name does anyone justify that?

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