Private Property v. 2nd Amendment Rights

March 17, 2009 by  

Your right to bear arms has a good chance of obtaining further protection in Arizona this year. The House Judiciary Committee recently approved by a 6-2 vote, HB 2474, a measure preventing property owners, tenants, employers and businesses from prohibiting the storage or transport of lawfully possessed firearms in locked and privately-owned vehicles parked in a parking lot, parking garage, or other designated parking area. I voted in favor of the bill.

Why is this protection needed?

Employees speaking in favor of the bill cited their lack of protection going to and from their place of employment. While employers do not mandate they park on their employer’s property (they could park on the street, for instance), some circumstances would certainly not provide a reasonable alternative to doing otherwise. Others work nights and feel ill-equipped to defend themselves without a firearm outside of their place of employment.

Current law does not provide such protections but allows employers, among others, to dictate whether employees can have their firearm within their vehicles while they are parked on their property. Their main argument is that private property rights trump individual 2nd amendment rights. It’s an understandable argument and one lobbyist contended some employers deal with sensitive materials and/or security issues to bolster his case. I inquired whether these employers routinely searched their employees’ vehicles for firearms parked on their properties since not doing so would only allow non-law-abiding citizens to tote their weapons indiscriminately while those abiding by employer regulations would remain unprotected. To which there really was no definitive answer. Besides, the legislation exempts high-security businesses constricted by federally-mandated firearms prohibitions.

Private property rights are absolutely worth protecting in context. But HB 2474 strikes a balance between those and an individual’s right to store a lawful firearm while he is at work or some other private place.

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