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Expanded Parking Lot Laws

NRA is pushing a law in Indiana that would prohibit employers from asking about gun ownership on job applications. I’m guessing because employers have started doing this in response to the parking lot law. So one intrusion into private relationships between employers and employees begets another.

Why isn’t the proper answer to that question “None of your damned business.” Sure, maybe you won’t get hired, but there are worse things. If I saw that question on an application I’d walk out of the place. No government need be involved.

I understand these types of restrictions are common in employment law, but having had to sit through entire seminars on how to interview people, and what you can and can’t talk about, we don’t need yet more of this. It’s already hard enough when someone comes in and starts talking about their dog, sitting there thinking “Can we talk about dogs legally?”

24 Responses to “Expanded Parking Lot Laws”

  1. Pat says:

    It happens in MN on some job applications as well.

    I usually just put down “N/A” — I haven’t had anyone ask about my answer yet….I’m guessing Corporate formality?

  2. Jeff says:

    What about people who want to ask for the opposite reason? Job postings for Gun Owner’s Action League here in MA state that applicants must have a MA LTC or be willing and able to obtain one.

  3. Freiheit says:

    The caveat being that “none of your business” usually implies yes.

  4. Stephen says:

    Invasive laws vs. reasonable protection.

    In Colorado we have a law that says (don’t know the actual words) that you can’t be fired or not hired for engaging in an activity outside of work that is legal in the state.

    It was actually put in place years ago to protect smokers, but it should protect us gun guys too.

    It doesn’t cover activities on company property, of course, and we don’t yet have a parking lot law.

  5. Chas says:

    “No, Sir, I don’t own any guns.”

    As a soldier in the war for our rights you have a duty to deceive the enemy. Defeat their liberal bigotry against those who exercise constitutional rights with a simple deception. It’s good to have enemies who are such dim-witted commie libs that they mistakenly imagine that they can discriminate in hiring to promote their political agenda with a single question on an employment application. You can inherit a gun collection from your uncle after you’ve been hired.

  6. SDN says:

    Chas, the problem with that is that you are already in the database. “Don’t own any guns? Then why do you have a CHL? Oh, and we just pulled a credit report. Why do you show charges at Bob’s gun shop for purchases and repairs and ammo.”

  7. greg-o says:

    I have to say that on one hand, the hard L libertarian in me dislikes the infringement on private contracts, but the small l in me says that I care first and foremost about an individual’s personal freedom to do as they please by themselves. When it comes to companies trying to regulate what employees do in their own time I think they are crossing the line from being a private enterprise into being some kind of private governmental structure (similar to HOA’s, if less far in the regulatory scheme), with the limits that go with it.

  8. divemedic says:

    I have a hard time bestowing individual rights on an entity that is not a person. How can a corporation have rights? Corporations are created by government. How can their creator endow them with rights and powers that the creator itself does not have?

    A corporation is a vehicle whereby legally, an artificial person is created by the government to the benefit of the owner, so the owner of that artificial person can avoid personal liability for whatever that corporation does.

    For example, Paul wants to own a factory that makes widgets. Paul could get loans in his own name, and open the factory, but he is afraid that he may someday get sued for the actions of his factory, so he forms an artificial person (a company) and sells that company piece by piece to the people who would have otherwise loaned him money.

    Then, if the company gets sued, he and his lenders are only out their investment and Paul dodges a large amount of personal responsibility.

    We spend a lot of time worrying about the rights of these artificial people.

  9. Sage Thrasher says:

    Employment bias against people exercising their 2nd Amendment rights is another reason CHL records should not be made public either.

  10. Ian Argent says:

    Corporations consist of people. All they do is limit the civil liability of the owners to the amount of money that is in the corporation. This allows necessary risk taking. I can’t see how forming a corporation should limit the rights of the corporate owners

  11. divemedic says:

    It shouldn’t expand those rights, either. Corporations can act in irresponsible manner because they are insulated from all ramifications of what they do under the guise of the corporation.

    Corporation passes “no guns” rule. Massacre happens, disarmed gunowners, unable to defend themselves, are shot. Corp gets sued, the corporation folds, and the owner of the corporation loses a small investment and is free to open shop the next day with a clean slate and the same old policies. Gunowner stuck with the aftermath.

  12. mikeb302000 says:

    Chas has the right idea, look at everyone as the enemy and lie if the subject comes up.

    Wouldn’t it be funny of the owner asking the question was one of you guys and felt that anyone who doesn’t own guns is unfit to work for him?

  13. Ian Argent says:

    Oh, for goodness sake, Divemedic. Unless the property owner is the government AND the property is a governmental-funtion building, they have the right to ban firearms from their property; and you have the right to not enter their property, whether the property owner is a corporation or a person. That’s basic property rights.

    Likewise, bankruptcy is available to everyone, not just corporations. And for a corporation, they can’t “just fold” – like anyone else, they can only go bankrupt after proving to a judge that they can’t afford to pay their debts – which a civil judgement is. IIRC, a civil judgement is considered “secured debt”; if so, the holder of the judgement is near the front of the line to get what money remains (behind payroll and bond-holders). Otherwise, no bankruptcy for them. Franklin Mills isn’t going to “go bankrupt” because Sebastian was prohibited by their policy from carrying, got shot on their property, and sued. Right now, the reason would be that the judge would toss the suit. It’s not like Ford went bankrupt because of the Firestone debacle, after all.

    The problem isn’t corporations, the same problem exists with any property holder. The default attitude of law and society right now is that a “no guns” sign is an effective means of keeping guns out of a property, and that as such, the lack of such a sign is civilly actionable if a shooting occurs on private property. That’s what needs to change, and it has nothing to do with the limited liability of a corporate entity.

    The results of lawsuits will not change public attitudes, rather, the results of lawsuits will be changed by changes in public attitudes. Once it is socially acceptable to defend one’s person and property again, the “no self-defense” signs will come down. Adam Smith will see to it.

  14. Roberta X says:

    Corporations, as creations of the government, ought to be bound by the same restrictions as the government: they shouldn’t be able to tell me how to vote, what to say or read , or if I can or can’t have a gun. Nor should they be able to search my car or person without a warrant.

    Funny how quickly guys like Mike switch from sneering at BP and McDonald’s over “globalization” to bein’ biggo boosters of their sovereign power to limit our right to self-defense.

  15. Ian Argent says:

    @RobertaX: correct, to the extent that any other property owner cannot do so to people who have consensually entered their property; or to employees who have consensually entered into a mutually-beneficial financial arrangement. Neither my employer nor the local BigBox store, nor owner of the italian joint on the corner may or does tell me how to vote, what to say or read when I am not on their property, nor prohibit my possession of a firearm off their property.

    But my employer does limit my ability to speak freely both on and off the job (via HR guidelines and NDA’s), and by entering their property I am put on notice (by conspicuous signage) that by doing so I have consented to my bags and person being subject to search. My terms of employment require me to not carry weapons while on their property or on their business (among other limitations – a strict reading of the rules suggests that I may not leave a six-pack in the trunk of my car while parked in their parking lot, and we are periodically reminded that discussion of wagering on sporting events is not permitted for various reasons, all reasonable). I am not permitted to bring certain otherwise legal reading material onto the premises, &c. Violation of most of these terms will result in the ejection of a visitor or the termination of an employee. The recourse against these “violations” of rights is to not associate with the individual, business, or corporation that violates them.

    Personally, I’d rather that the government force places of public accomodation to make accomodations to people who carry weapons for self-defense (it’s one of the reasons I don’t self-identify libertarian). If a place of public accomodation wishes to post a sign that prohibits carriage of weapons on their property, it is morally right for the government to force them to be responsible for the safety of the individual disarmed by such a policy (beyond the inffectual signage – IE they must take positive action to prevent entry of weapons into such an area), and provide safe, secure, and convenient storage for weapons thus removed. (IE – if you want to post, you have to treat the general public as a courthouse does police). This law would of course apply to both corporate and private owners of property. I would expect that this legal requirement would prevent most places from posting.

    As I said, the reason that most “no self-defense” zones exist is because posting is, right now, the legal equivalent of securing the perimeter, and not posting is the legal equivalent of permitting violence. That needs to change. A sign should not absolve the property owner of the obligation to either ensure the safety of the visitors of the premises or allow them to see to their own defense.

    I look at the sign over the coat-rack at my local diner, it says “Management is not responsible for lost or stolen items.” So I don’t rack my coat. The same thing should apply to self-defense and weapons – “Management is not responsible for goblins, mutants, or thugs” should be the law of the land. I’m in favor of parking lot laws, myself.

  16. Roberta X says:

    Sorry; an “artifical person” is not a real person; and I do NOT accept that even other real people can make my disarming myself a condition of entering their property, any more than they would have a right to strip-search me or require I profess certain religious or political beliefs.

    It’s not reasonably enforceable and therefore no such requirement can be made. –They are are not obliged to permit me to enter but the only conditions they may make are that I refrain from harming their person or property.

    An employer might require that guns/weapons not be visible, or that certain things might not be spoken on their property, but they can no more keep you from having a gun than they can keep you from thinking unapproved thoughts.

    “Inalienable rights” are, by definition, rights that may not be taken or bartered away, even by mutual agreement.

  17. Ian Argent says:

    @RobertaX: Fair enough – but that’s not the world in which we live today. I have no objection to moving towards that world; nor is that a point of distinction between the corporation-as-property-owner vs the natural-person-as-property-owner – which was my original point.

    You may want to bop on over to my blog where I followed up the chain of thought – I believe that (at least for a place of public accomodation) a property owner must comply with onerous conditions before requiring I disarm to visit, including being individually and actively responsible for the personal and property safety of the visitor, and take measures to ensure that prohibiting carry does not restrict the ability to carry to/from there. By accepting that the property owner is and must be responsible for my safety, I have not alienated my right to self-defense, since I have demanded that the property owner be responsible.

    And, yes, a property owner may force me to profess certain religious beliefs before entering their property, and while on their property, as any Mormon Tabernacle does, or, possibly, a Freemason lodge does. Restaurants and employers may set dress codes – including that I wear a field-expedient garrote on their property or while I am in their employ. That’s a lot more restrictive than requiring me to disarm. Private property rights plus right of free association equals “get offa my lawn!” for whatever reason the owner would like (subject to anti-discrimination, apparently).. Opening up to the public (place of public accomodation) reduces those rights, but does not eliminate them.

    “Self-defense free” zones without positive security and liability are morally bankrupt answers to morally dubious questions of legal liability. My employers should not, by policy, forbid me to arm myself for self-defense when at their property, and certainly may not promulgate policy that requires I be disarmed in transit – and I’m in favor of legally preventing them from setting such a policy, overriding their property and free-association rights in favor of my right to self-defense, whether they be an individual, partnership, or corporation. But, they might legitimately wish to forbid me from carrying in a hydrogenation room…

  18. divemedic says:

    So I can make it a condition of employment that all females must have sexual intercourse with me? You agree, or you are fired. Hey, the government has no business getting involved in my property rights!

    Hey, I can chain my fire exits shut, too. That will keep those lazy employees from taking unauthorized breaks. While I am at it, I can chain my assembly line workers to their work stations during working hours. If they don’t like it, they can just go work elsewhere.

    The “property rights trump other rights while you are on my property” statements are indefensible, unless you are willing to state that some rights are truly rights, and other rights are subject to the whims of others.

  19. divemedic says:

    I also note that many of the “property rights” crown also balks at my proposed compromise: You may prevent me from protecting myself when I am on your property, as long as you assume legal liability for my defense whilst I am unarmed.

    This means that if I am attacked while in your defenseless victim zone, and you have not provided armed security to protect me, I can sue you to recover damages. After all, you are responsible for what happens on your property.

  20. Ian Argent says:

    @Divemedic: One of the reasons that I self-identify as conservative rather than as libertarian is that I do believe that the government can override certain property rights in the name of societal good. In this case, the right of self-defense is stronger than the right of the property owner. See http://ianargent.blogspot.com/2011/01/corporate-punishment.html for more from me, in particular some examples of why a property owner ought to bar firearms from specific portions of their property, and what their responsibilities are when they must do so. It tracks very closely with your proposal.

    To your two specific examples – government has (rightfully) criminalized both of those actions and should and will criminally prosecute the individuals engaging in such practices and the victims may civilly sue the organizations that allow such things to happen. These may be the same natural person or the criminal may be a natural person and the organization a structure (corporation, partnership, &c)

    I objected to your characterization of corporations having rights that natural persons don’t, that was all. Property owners have the same rights and responsibilities if they are natural persons or corporations.

  21. Tam says:

    Ian Argent,

    Can Wal-Mart dictate what color underwear you wear while you shop there?

  22. Ian Argent says:

    In light of restaurants being able to specify dress codes beyond the requirements of the health code, you tell me.

    In this case, since they can’t confirm without violating my privacy and probably can’t check without sexually harassing me (since I wear clothes that fit), no. Just as my employer can infringe on my right of free expression at home via NDA (I can’t talk publicly about several things regarding my employer without being in violation of either NDA or other policies) but can’t direct my vote.

    Just because I support certain aspects of rights doesn’t mean I support the reductio ad absurdium version of it. Further, “can”does not mean “should”.

    There is a hierarchy of rights, and the right to self defense is at the top, but just below it is the right to control your property, and co-equal with that is the right to privacy. The thing is, every one has these rights. I don’t know what the right to self-defense for a corporation looks like, so I will have to pass there, but they have property and privacy rights, as do the shareholders separately. Walmart has the same rights and responsibilities to their visitors as Marty The Merchant running his pawnshop does. Both of them ought to be responsible for either allowing me the methods of self-defense or providing a truly safe environment. Both can set a dress code that covers outwardly-visible raiment, but not the invisible. If they wish to ban a display of thug style boxers, go ahead. But if I keep my bloomers decently hidden, they can whistle for them.

  23. mikeb302000 says:

    Roberta X (not Breda) says, “Funny how quickly guys like Mike switch from sneering at BP and McDonald’s over “globalization” to bein’ biggo boosters of their sovereign power to limit our right to self-defense.”

    May I ask what in the hell you’re babbling about? Becuase I might consider prospective employers asking the big question about guns acceptable, I’m a “biggo booster[s] of their (BP and McDonald’s) sovereign power?”

    It’s no wonder I mixed you up on the other thread with Breda. I’ll bet you handle a gun just like here too.

  24. Ian Argent says:

    BTW – I apologize for the tone of the first sentence of my last. It sounds flippant on rereading; and I didn’t mean it to be. It’s not something I had thought of particularly – hence my noodling it out in the second paragraph.

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