Apparently, The NRA Only Cares About One Part Of The Bill Of Rights
Based on this from Cato’s Roger Pilon, apparently, the National Rifle Association only cares about some parts of the Bill of Rights:
NPR ran a story this morning, “NRA Targets One Of Its Own In Tenn. Race,” that nicely illustrates the perils of single-issue politics, although you’d never learn the principle of the matter from the NPR account. It seems that the NRA has launched a $75,000 ad campaign against state Rep. Debra Maggart, a long-time NRA member and avid gun-owner who a year ago had an “A+” rating from the NRA. Her sin? She and several other Tennessee Republican officials opposed a bill that would have allowed employees to keep guns in their cars while parked in their private employers’ parking lots.
The NRA’s Chris Cox, who’s spearheading this political vendetta and, in the process, is supporting Maggart’s tea-party backed opponent, invokes both “our First Amendment right to assemble to petition our government” and, of course, the Second Amendment, seemingly oblivious to the fact that neither is relevant here. In fact, the issue could not be simpler: individuals, including employers, have a right to determine the conditions on which others may enter their property.
As Pilon goes on to correctly point out, the Second Amendment only applies to the United States Government and, thanks to the holding in McDonald v. Chicago, the individual states and their political subdivision. If a private employer wishes to establish a policy banning guns on the premises, including in a parking lot that is part of the employer’s property, then they have every right to do so and the state has no right to tell employers what policies they can establish on their property. There are exceptions to this rule, of course. Property owners can’t use their property in a manner that causes harm to the property of others, and they can’t establish policies that are discriminatory under the Constitution and the law and call it “property rights,” but beyond that there is no legitimate legal justification for a state law that would, say, require employers to allow guns on their premises, allow people who have concealed carry permits to carry guns on their premises, or allow employees to keep guns in their cars on company property.
There are numerous reasons why business owners might want to adopt these rules. The most obvious one would be concerns about employee and customer safety and the potential liability issues that might arise from allowing firearms on the premises. Whatever the reasons are, though, the fact of the matter is that employers has the right to make these decisions for themselves, and the Second Amendment has absolutely no say in the matter. To take just one example, my physician has a sign that is plainly visible as soon as you enter the office that says that his office is a “no gun” zone. That’s his right and anyone who was discovered to have violated it should be justly ejected from the property. You have a right to keep and bear arms and, depending on the requirements of the law of your state, to concealed carry if you can comply with the applicable law. You do not, however have the right to violate the property rights of another person and claim that you are exercising your Second Amendment rights.
Pilon goes on to note, correctly, that the position the NRA is taking here is just another reflection of the dangers of single issue politics. Yes, the Second Amendment is important, and I happen to be a strong supporter of the right to keep and bear arms. However, it’s only one part of the Constitution and it does not empower the government to force employers to adopt gun policies that they don’t think are in their interests. The NRA, and all people who support the Second Amendment, should object to any effort to force employers to allow guns on their property.