Jottings By An Employer's Lawyer

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Texas Parking Lot Gun Bill Moves a Step Closer

S.B. 730, has been reported out of Committee favorably and placed on the intent calendar for today, which means it can now be considered by the full Texas Senate.

The Committee vote? Guns 7 - Sanity 0.

Update (3/26/09): The bill has now passed the Senate 31 - 0 and been sent to the House. A veteran lobbyist predicts passage at 99%. Hard to be against guns in Texas.

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I am a gun nut. Full fledged right wing AK wielding gun nut. But I DO NOT agree with this bill. I have never seen such a blatant disregard for private property rights before. Business's are owned by people and they have the right to decide what they want on their property and if the people working for them don't like it they have the right to decide to work elsewhere.
Your car is your personal property!
I look at this much like how an easement can be taken by the state for the "greater good".

What we have are law abiding citizens, that:
- have been trained in gun use and safety
- have had background checks
- have had fingerprints registered

The state has approved them to be legal to carry a firearm for self-defense. In this case, they are being effectively disarmed during their travel to/from work. They can't take it into the building, they can't lock it in their car.

The argument that someone will retrieve a gun from the parking lot and blast up the workplace is a strawman. I could not find ONE instance of a concealed carry permit holder shooting ANY innocent person. I really tried though.

Interestingly enough I found several stories where people with valid concealed carry licenses were killed when they and coworkers were attacked. Of course, they had left their lawfully approved self defense firearm at home to comply with company policy.

Randy, you are right that businesses are owned by people and business real estate is private property, but property rights do not extend to the denial of rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. Just imagine if they did.
Not picking on the last commenter, and it probably does not change the sentiment expressed by the author, but it is reflective of a common misperception that constitutional rights are applicable to private sector employers. Constitution is a restraint on the powers of government, including government as an employer, but does not apply to private sector employers. Thus there is no first amendment right to say what you wish on your private sector employer's property, nor no 2nd Amendment rights, regardless of what they may be with respect to actions by the government.
The RTKABA is NOT just a Constitutional right. It is a FUNDAMENTAL right that precedes the Constitution. Property rights are important, but when 2 rights butt together and conflict, the most fundamental right must prevail. Preventing safe gun storage in a car violates the right to defend LIFE, and that cannot stand. Property rights do not come before life itself. I think the parking lot bill is a very good balance of 2 important rights.
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