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Parking Lot Bill Passes in Florida

The Parking Lot bill that allows people to keep their firearms at work on company property has passed in Florida.  NRA has their position on the matter, which I know many of you here agree with, and I respect that.  Unfortunately, I agree with Robb Allen.

Parking Lot Bill in Georgia Fast Tracked

NRA has apparently gotten the Parking Lot bill fast tracked in the Georgia Legislature, but Governor Perdue is apparently chickening out and siding with the Chamber of Commerce on this one.

UPDATE: Yeah, yeah, I had to make the chicken joke.

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.

Florida “Parking Lot” Bill Passed out of Committee

I still maintain my opposition to this course of action, and I say that as someone who is prohibited from having firearms on company property myself, but my opposition is mostly due to property rights concerns. Looks like they are trying to same tact that worked in Georgia, where the bill will be limited to concealed weapons licensees.

Employers are nonetheless hysterical on the issue of guns, and I think there’s things we can do to encourage the change.  There was an approach, I think it was in Arizona, to create a civil action against employers who forbade firearms, essentially making them liable for the safety of their employees.  To me this is a far better way to deal with the problem, but I suspect, politics being politics, it’s a more difficult political course for many legislatures.

Flurry of Bills in Other States

I have to hand it to Ashley, who is NRA’s State Liaison for Missouri, Indiana and Oklahoma, because there’s been quite a lot of positive activity as of late. In Indiana, she’s working to legalize suppressors in hunting, as well as a bill that would allow for charity gaming (important for Friends of the NRA’s fundraising). Meanwhile in Missouri, there are four bills ready to be considered. Lowering the carry age from 21 to 18, a bill to legalize open carry, another to prevent discrimination in hiring and firing of concealed carry permitees (the fourth is just technical changes to the license system).

I’m not sure what I think about the last bill, but it doesn’t create quite the instinct to shake the bowcaster like the parking lot bills do. I guess I feel like if the state is going to make me get a permit to carry, well, protecting me from discrimination as a result of it is kind of the least they can do. But it still strikes me as the less-than-ideal solution to this problem.

I don’t know how many of these bills will make it to final passage, but this is an ambitious agenda, and I thought it was worth offering some kudos to Ashley.

Perry Signs Parking Lot Law in Texas

With my usual caveat that I do not agree with NRA on these parking lot laws, It’s worth noting that while our opponents were busy fighting hysterically to prevent the campus carry bill, our side managed to slip this in.

The message to our opponents is that you can’t win. Even when you think you do, you really don’t. At best, their greatly touted victory in Texas was a delaying action. How many other states can this be done in? How many other states can we distract them with Campus Carry bill, then slip in substantive reforms under the radar while our opponents are pouring resources into defeated the diversionary action?

They will not win. Their only fate is the dustbin of history, along with ideas like monarchy, slavery, segregation, and temperance.

Text of McCarthy Gun Show Bill

John Richardson has the text. It’s every bit as unacceptable as the last bill, and basically offers multiple ways for a hostile administration to close down gun shows, and to implement a back door registration scheme. Transferring a gun to someone else in the parking lot of a gun show, or at a gun show, without going through an FFL, registering with the government, etc, would be a felony leading to two years in prison and loss of gun rights.

Indiana Gun Bills Under Attack

I think there are plenty of good libertarian arguments for why the “Parking Lot” bills pushed by the National Rifle Association elevate one freedom over the expense of others, but I’m not sure these arguments here are among them. The author also seems to make a bizarre case against the Katrina language in the bill:

The National Rifle Association claims that the new law will ” … prevent state or local government authorities from confiscating lawfully owned firearms during declared states of emergency, such as occurred in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina.”

Really? By what authority did government ever confiscate guns? Do new laws protect constitutions? From who?

They had no lawful authority, but don’t you think it makes sense to have a legal recourse available for addressing such illegal action that doesn’t involve expensive and lengthy federal civil rights lawsuits? It’s a nice idea that the constitution is self-enforcing, but sorry, I don’t want to live in a world where all I have is a promise from public officials.

Read our state and federal constitutions and you’ll find that not even courts were given any power over constitutions. Both are clear and regarding an individual’s right to bear arms.

Ah, now we’re told to read the constitution, which the author has read and clearly understood, unlike the rest of us rubes. One wonders what he thinks “judicial Power of the United States” over “all Cases, in Law and Equity, arising under this Constitution, the Laws of the United States,” means if Marbury v. Madison was wrong? I’m completely open to libertarian arguments against the “parking lot” language in the bill, but simplistic arguments that the constitution is somehow self-enforcing is weak, at best.

Andrew Horning, an adjunct scholar of the Indiana Policy Review Foundation, was the Libertarian candidate for governor in 2008.

I guess I should have skipped ahead to the end. This explains everything.

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.

Parking Lot Law Upheld in Oklahoma

I do not agree with NRA on the parking lot issue.  I will just state that categorically.  But this is a welcome victory.  Why?

The challenge to Oklahoma’s bill presented some serious risks to gun owners, in that it was argued that the Occupational Safety and Health Act, through the Supremacy Clause of the constitution, really mandated a federal ban on firearms in the workplace, which state law could not contravene.  If this outlook had prevailed, it employers would presumably be obligated under federal law to ban firearms in the workplace.

So I am very glad this line of reasoning was shot down by the courts.  But there’s still a problem:

“We disagree,” the appellate judges wrote in a 23-page decision. “OSHA is aware of the controversy surrounding firearms in the workplace and has consciously decided not to adopt a standard” banning firearms from the workplace.

What if OSHA did adopt a standard because a certain President directed them to?  In addition to disagreeing with the NRA on principle on this issue, I also just don’t like the politics of this issue, and this is one of the reasons why.

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