Where Do Your Gun Rights End And Your Employer’s Property Rights Begin?
In North Dakota there’s a law, HB1438, which would allow workers to bring their lawfully-owned guns to work as long as they keep them in their trunks. Opponents of the law say that their property rights trump the gun rights of their employers. Proponents say that their cars aren’t anyone’s property but theirs.
Restrictions on bringing a gun to work have previously been challenged in court as taking away the private property rights of business owners. But in his testimony in support of the bill, Darin Goens of the NRA asked the committee “What private property interest does a business have in micromanaging the contents of an employees’ trunk?”
Presented by sponsor Scot Kelsh (D-Fargo), the bill was prompted by constituent concerns. Kelsh said he heard many complaints from people who were being told by employers they were not allowed to have their guns on company property, even if the guns stayed locked in car trunks and out of the building.
Hunters, competitive shooters and others with legal concealed carry licenses say that these employer restrictions keep them from being able to go hunting before or after work, to go to shooting ranges after work without first having to return home, or to protect themselves on their commutes. Those living further outside of more urban communities are particularly affected.
“This bill has two Supreme Court rulings on its side, and it ensures that employers can’t arbitrarily fire people for exercising their constitutional rights,” said Goen. …
Lobbyist Jon Olson, appearing on behalf of the Peace Officers Association, BNSF Railroad, MDU Resources and Ottertail Power Company testified against the bill, stating that the companies he represents have real and significant security concerns that have lead them to ban firearms from places of business.
“It’s not that they are against the right to bear arms,” says Olson. “We are not talking about your normal retail store or mall here.” Olson said that because of the types of business his clients conduct, they need to prohibit guns to ensure the safety and protection of both the business and the people involved.
Another major energy provider, Xcel Energy, also spoke against the bill, as did representatives from the Catholic Church.
Rep. Kim Koppelman is quoted in the article as suggesting that this is a common sense balance between property rights and gun rights. Employees can bring guns to work, but it’s not like they can walk around with them on shift. They have to keep the guns in their cars.
For a lot of guys who go hunting or shooting after work or before work this is a common sense solution.
Property rights are important, but so are gun rights. Sometimes our rights bump up against one another and we have to find common sense ways to balance them.Tags: Guns, North Dakota News, property rights