When Gun Rights and Property Rights Collideby Stephen Littau
THE ATLANTA JOUNAL-CONSTITIUTION - Calling it “a core fundamental issue” for his group this year, the head of the National Rifle Association lobbied hard Monday for a bill that would allow employees to keep handguns in their cars at work.
NRA Executive President Wayne LaPierre made a rare appearance under the Gold Dome Monday, a week before the Legislature convenes, to push the bill with key lawmakers.
My first instinct was to be on the side of the NRA. “What right does an employer have to prohibit me from having a firearm in my vehicle?” and “What right does my employer have in even asking and/or searching the contents of my car?” were my first thoughts. But then it occurred to me that we are dealing with a voluntary relationship between private citizens (an employer and an employee) that can be ended at any time for any reason by either party (assuming we are operating on the principle of life, liberty, and property). An employee of a company has a choice to either honor his employer’s wishes or find another job because the employer has obligation to allow employees to park on his or her property at all.
As Ayn Rand once said:
Contradictions do not exist. Whenever you think you are facing a contradiction, check your premises. You will find that one of them is wrong.
My false initial premise was that the right to bear arms was otherwise being infringed by the government but in fact this is not the case. In fact, this proposed legislation would be a violation of private property rights. McQ at QandO blog made a couple of very good points on this issue:
If you come to the door of my house wearing a pistol on your belt, I have every right to bar your entry and tell you that isn’t allowed in my home. It’s my property and I have the right to control who enters it and what goes on within its boundaries. Why wouldn’t that extend, as well, to the driveway?
And for the same reason I object to legislation which bans smoking on private property such as bars or restaurants. It is none of the state’s business. They’re welcome to ban smoking in every public venue they control, but stay away from private property. Camel’s nose, slippery slope and all that. Why do you suppose they feel empowered to go from banning smoking on private property to now dictating that private property owners must allow guns on their property?
Because we let them get away with the smoking ban, that’s why. While I don’t smoke and prefer a smoke free environment, I don’t agree that government has a role in deciding that for owners of private property, any more than I’d agree they could dictate whether anyone could smoke in my house.
There are plenty of causes the NRA is and should be leading when it comes to the Second Amendment. This is not one of them.