Parking Lot Thing in Arizona

Dustin looks at all the successes this year.  Many of these are great victories, but among those are the Parking Lot bill.  From the “not sure why NRA makes this a priority” department, the Goldwater Institute, normally a friend of gun rights, is planning on challenging the legitimacy of the law.

“The Goldwater Institute strongly supports the right to keep and bear arms,” Bolick stated, adding that the Institute filed a brief in Heller v. District of Columbia, the U.S. Supreme Court case that strengthened Second Amendment rights. “But it is a right against government, not against private individuals. This bill does violence to private property rights.”

As I’ve said, I don’t think the issue is really about property rights, but is really about employment law.  Whatever is in your car is your property, and your employer has no legal power to search your vehicle.  But your employer doesn’t have to continue a relationship with you if you do something that’s a violation of the employee agreement.  That employers bar guns in their workplaces and on their property is no more a violation of my right to bear arms than if a friend has the same rule for his house.  My response to a friend who wanted to search my vehicle would be the same as it would be to an employer, namely a to very nicely and politely tell them to go to hell.

As a society, we do accept government intrusion into the employer/employee relationship for a number of things, chief among those to prevent discrimination.  But that is a special case.  As a rule, I’m not comfortable with the government interfering in private relationships.  It is a restriction on freedom of association that should not occur in a free society.  There are better ways to make companies reconsider anti-gun policies than by government meddling in private relationships.

23 thoughts on “Parking Lot Thing in Arizona”

  1. Here in Georgia, as I understand it, the bigger determiner is the parking lot access. If the employer owns the lot and has controlled access to it (say, a gate controlled parking deck), then protections do not apply. But, if it’s a public/shared lot, then automotive storage is generally ok. Mostly. From

    Q: Can I have a gun in my car while I am at work?
    A: Maybe. HB89 includes language to allow this for some situations, but also includes a number of exceptions. It also asserts that Georgia is still an Employment at Will state meaning employers retain the right to fire you with little or no cause. In summary, you may keep a firearm locked out of sight in your car while at work if your parking lot is open to the general public and you possess a firearms license. Your employer generally may not maintain a policy requiring you to submit to a search of your vehicle or barring you from keeping a firearm in your locked vehicle, out of sight. If your parking lot is controlled-access, then these legal protections do not apply. In addition, there are numerous businesses that are exempt from this law.

  2. I think I said it in one of the earlier posts here on the topic, but:

    I would agree with you, Sebastian, if the employer/employee relationship were truly voluntary. But when someone is desperate for any job, they take what is offered regardless of the conditions, and whether they want that particular job or not. Someone in that situation is entering the employee “agreement” under duress.

    Because it is not necessarily a voluntary relationship, restrictions on what an employer is allowed to require are appropriate. The particular requirement addressed by this law is one that places restrictions on one of the employee’s fundamental rights far beyond anything the employer could justify, and should not be allowed.

  3. The last sentence above should have read:

    “The particular requirement addressed by this law is one that places restrictions on one of the employee’s fundamental rights far outside the workplace, and far beyond anything the employer could justify, and should not be allowed.”

  4. “But it is a right against government, not against private individuals. This bill does violence to private property rights.”

    See that is the crux of the matter to me. How many “private individuals” are employers? We’re really not talking about private individuals, were talking about corporations, corporations who receive charters from the state and are given certain privileges by the state. What one person owns Georgia Pacific’s paper mill, and is having his private property rights violated?

    Here’s a thought experiment: say you own stock in Disney. Does that mean Disney World is now your private property and you can go there whenever you want, without buying a ticket, and you can carry your gun there? You are a stock holder after all. Or will you get arrested for trespassing? Whose private property is Disney World?

    1. What one person owns Georgia Pacific’s paper mill, and is having his private property rights violated?
      That’s an easy one! Charles & David Koch. They take property rights very seriously, even integrating them into their management structure. Pick up the book on it by Charles if you’re up for a new perspective on management. Ready for the next question. (BTW, it works better if you choose a company that isn’t privately held.)

      I would agree with you, Sebastian, if the employer/employee relationship were truly voluntary.
      Wow, where do you work? If it’s not voluntary, that’s called slavery. You always have the option to resign or leave a company if you disagree with their policies. Employment is always voluntary. You might be in need of income, but that doesn’t mean you have to work for someone else. You can become self-employed or continue searching for work with a company run by folks who respect your right to bear arms on their property.

  5. So GP is entirely personal property, just like their houses and cars? It’s not a privately held corporation, with a corporate charter issued by a state? So the Kochs personally pay yearly property taxes on the GP real estate in states that have a property tax? Yeah, right.

    It is an LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Koch Industries, which is itself a corporation, making them doubly insulated. They may have something like sole control over it, but they do not have personal liability for it.

    And I would also say that for someone who ran for VP on the Libertarian ticket in 1980 (David Koch), you’d think he’d put his money where his mouth is and let his employees have guns in their cars at least. (

  6. The “but, but, eeevil corporations” digression is a complete non-starter.

    The concept of property rights doesn’t hinge on who or what owns the property except in regards to two questions.

    1) Do you own it?

    2) Does the government own it? (directly own, not charter, license or hand ponies and lollipops to the owners of it)

    If the answer to either or both of those questions is “no” then you do not have the right to carry a weapon onto that property absent permission (or at least lack of express denial) by the owner or their lawful agent.

    Don’t like it? Don’t go, patronize or work there, go somewhere else.

    Your desire to exercise a right at your convenience does not trump the right of the property owner to control or restrict access to their private property. Not when your right can be exercised on public property, your own private property or on the premises of folks who will allow you such exercise on theirs.

    In regard to the inevitable attempt at a “gotcha” follow-up question; yes, I actually believe that fundamental truth about inalienable private property rights should invalidate most EO claims against non-governmental owners.

  7. I agree with your analysis, Sebastian. It is not the place of the government to tell an employer why or why not to terminate an employee. In a free society, the employer/employee arrangement must be made with consent being provided by both parties. Forcing an employee to stay with a company is slavery, and forcing a company to keep their employees is state-sponsored parisitism.

    In fact, being the Libertarian nutjob I am, I believe that the government shouldn’t even be able to make determinations about what entails race/gender/age discrimination. The reasons an employer hires one person and not another should be left to the employer, not the state. If we want to eliminate discrimination, we should do it from a public opinion angle, not a legislative one. I doubt I stand alone in saying that if a company was found discriminating against, say, hiring Jews or gays, I would not buy anything from them or work for them. Capitalism is a much more potent motivator, and is much more in tune with public moral standards, than legislation ever can be.

  8. “Wow, where do you work? If it’s not voluntary, that’s called slavery. You always have the option to resign or leave a company if you disagree with their policies. Employment is always voluntary. You might be in need of income, but that doesn’t mean you have to work for someone else. You can become self-employed or continue searching for work with a company run by folks who respect your right to bear arms on their property.”

    Spoken like someone who’s never had to take/keep a job she hated or didn’t want.

    Self-employment? Not everyone has the capital (or the ability to get it) to start their own business and not work another job while building up their customer base to something that will sustain them. Not everyone has the skills or knowledge that would meet a demand in their area, and allow them to establish a successful business.

    Continue searching for work elsewhere? How do you pay the bills while you do that, unless you keep the job that doesn’t respect your rights? Not everyone can afford to leave the job they don’t want while they search for the one they do. In fact, I would say that most people probably can’t.

    I never said the company would keep someone from leaving – just that person’s circumstances. People need a place to live, and food, and heat. All of that requires money, and you get money by working. Sometimes you work where you can while you try to get a job where you want to work.

    When the choice is a job or homelessness and hunger, it’s not really a choice. Thus, you take the job under duress, even if you keep looking for something else.

  9. There are lots of edge cases that get interesting.

    What if a government entity requires as a matter of policy that some private organization may not rent/lease/use a facility/park/land/whatever unless the private organization enforces a no guns/Jews/blacks/gays policy? Seattle is doing that now.

    What if when you went to work for a company/organization they had no problem with guns/Jews/black/gays but you get a new supervisor and he fires you “at will” when he finds out you are a gun-owner/Jew/black/gay? It wasn’t company policy (or at least not publicly stated policy). He may even have trumped up some “charges” to make it look like it was something other than his bigotry. Without some sort of appeal to authority to get the data of the situation available for public scrutiny it becomes very difficult to impose free market solutions to the problem.

    I’m not sure what the solution is. I understand and largely agree with the Libertarian Utopian ideal here but I also am very aware of the realities of the implementation in the real world.

  10. There’s nothing utopian about libertarianism, just as there can never be a utopia in life. The realities are accounted for, though.

    If it is a condition of using government owned land that the employer must not discriminate, then the employer must either hold their end of the contract and not discriminate, or find somewhere private to do business. The employer must make their decisions about how to run their business, and contractual obligations are as much a part of business as the employer/employee relationship.

    As for the second example, it is unfortunate that such a thing might happen, but it might. Such is the nature of at-will employment. Having anti-discriminatory laws in place doesn’t keep employers from fabricating reasons for terminating their employees, it just makes them more careful in doing so. There’s nothing keeping this from remaining a civil matter, but discrimination should not be considered criminal in a free society.

  11. If you feel you have to take a job you dislike, that is unfortunate, but, again, in the end is your decision. There’s no “right to the perfect job” much less a right to any employment whatsoever.

    There are three possible solutions to any problem.

    Change the situation.

    Escape the situation.

    Endure the situation.

    In the case of what is in the end your desire for the job of your choice versus an employer’s inalienable right to control their property, seeking “change” in the law to abrogate those rights is not an option. At least not one that shows personal integrity and respect for the principles of individual liberty.

    The only choices are, unfortunately, to put your belief in your right to be armed first and thus quit or reject the job and suffer the resulting personal poverty or to endure a non-ideal situation (perhaps, for example, for the sake of family responsibilities) until you can improve your situation and have more choices.

    Both of those actions demonstrate character, seeking to undermine the rights of others does not.

  12. MDerosier, I think you misunderstood my statement of the situation in Seattle (my fault, it wasn’t very clear).

    The city of Seattle is requiring private business who wish to rent city facilities (or have a parade) to discriminate against people with CPLs. This is despite the fact that Washington State has preemption on firearms laws. The city is not allowed to discriminate so they City requires private organizations to discriminate then tells the state AG, “We didn’t do it, it was the private organization that is doing it.”

  13. I guess I misunderstood about the concept’s application in this regard (I had interpreted the issue as the city being anti-discriminatory in the example, but the same concept holds true for the pro-discriminatory side). If the city makes a demand of an employer in order to use municipal property, the employer has to either comply or relocate. While the terms may be dodgy and reprehensible, they are the terms set by the city. If an employer felt strongly about the terms set forth by the city, they should relocate. If an employee feels strongly about the terms its employer accepts, they should seek alternate employment. The alternate course of action is to stay and accept the terms, but work towards their repeal. In a place like Seattle, this option would probably prove ineffective.

    Granted, in a Libertarian society, the city would not be anti OR pro discrimination.

  14. Here is where I’m going to disagree. I think private organizations should have stronger sanctions available to rectify the situation. The government should not more be able to force private organizations to discriminate against gun-owners/blacks/Jews/gays than they could require the private organization to search, torture, or restrict their speech on behalf of the state.

    When the issue is use of “public property” if the government is not allowed discriminate then they should not be able require others to do it on their behalf as a condition of use of that “public property”. Otherwise it’s not really “public property”. Otherwise the people in power at the time could say only Republicans/Democrats/Communists/whoever can use the parks and have parades on public streets. Only those in favor by the political elite enjoy the use of “public property”.

    Once you accept that then you are nearly forced to accept, by intellectual consistency, that the government may not discriminate against those that do discriminate–i.e. KKK parades on public streets and use of other public facilities.

  15. Hah! Excellent point! I hadn’t quite thought about it that far out. Of course you’re right. I forgot that the government has no right to force discrimination on public property, I was thinking of it in terms of the government owning private property. Obviously I was mistaken, as the government can’t own private property.

  16. Joe,

    I think that is consistent reasoning.

    If the government is forbidden to discriminate (say, ban CHL) on a given piece of public property or venue they should certainly not be able to require private organizations to act as an agent for them on that property in such a way as to discriminate on their behalf.

    If anything, they should be required to forbid private organizations wishing to use public property from discriminating in any way that government is forbidden to.

    If you want to hold a “gun free event”, and such carry and possession is expressly permitted at a particular public venue available for rent, you should either have to comply with the public use rules or find private property on which to not do so.

    If you wish to go “macro” and change what government is able to discriminate against, so as to allow you to rent public property and discriminate as you wish, you should act within the procedures provided by the appropriate governing document or constitution.

    If the right involved is fundamental, you should then see your discriminatory wishes dashed on the rocks of liberty and swept into the abyss of failed authoritarianism.

  17. The employment is a often a unilateral contract and the prospective employee has to agree as condition to all the corporate policies. He is not allowed to change those policies as the realate to himself.

    Tryanny can be imposed by anyone or business that has power. The fact they are not the government does not stop the ability to impose tyrannical conditions.

    Employers are already have certain constraints not to fire employeee based on other considerations . The requirement that employers have to respect the private property of the car and its contents is just another common constraint.

    If the item was a bible in the car I am certain that the leglistaure would have no probable forbidding private business from firing an employee that had one in his car.

  18. A contract that both parties can change any term is bilateral. A unilateral cointract is a premade and they just have the option to sign or reject.

    Does a prospective have the ability to chang the policies of the company? I don’t think so. So it is a unilateral contract.

  19. I see your point.

    The choice isn’t in the terms of the contract, as that presupposes you have a right to the job in the first place, rather the bilaterality is in their ability to offer you employment, or not, and your ability to accept or decline the offer of employment, per the offer terms.

    That’s bilateral, or at least mutual, as you are not being forced to accept the job in the first place, you can refuse and walk away if the terms displease you.

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