My car is my property, continued and revised

Please let me clarify some points about this earlier post.

I do not support a law that explicitly establishes a right to have a firearm in one's car while on an employer's property.

I do support a law that establishes an automobile as a person's property, protected with the same Fourth Amendment rights as one's papers, effects, and home.

I'm still wrestling with the idea that one can enter a contract that requires one to surrender a civil right. I've been wrestling with that idea for decades and probably will continue to do so in my grave. It's for greater minds than mine. Maybe Jed is right, interfering here is an impairment of the right of contract.

Some of my concerns arise from how one can be held to "enter a contract" by buying a house or entering a business, or taking a job. To me, it's not a contract unless it is for a fixed beginning and end dates, among person or persons identifiable, with consequences for failure to meet the stipulations of the contract on all parties, and a means to terminate the contract. There is only one entity with whom I have actually entered an employment contract, and it did indeed demand the circumscription of some of my civil rights, but that's because it's the frigging US military. They are a different animal entirely from being a grocery bagger, newspaper carrier, or cable geek, and ought to be. None of those other entities ran a contract past me. In the case of cable geekery, they tried: headhunters told me those attempts weren't contracts and are unenforceable.

Taking a job with a papermill is not necessarily entering a contract. Agreeing to take that job does not equate to implicit consent for the papermill's ownership to search my car while it is parked on their property in the course of my working there. Union work may differ.

What would make a "gun-free workplace" more palatable would be law or jursiprudence like that proposed for a "gun-free supermarket". Business A is welcome to assert its right to property over the building and grounds of its business, such that employees or patrons are forbidden from being armed while on that property. Business A knowingly surrenders indemnity for violence that occurs there, and maybe their insurer will note that fact and charge premiums accordingly.

Business A must also bear some costs---not directly financial, as in fines, but operating costs, signage, storage---to make sure its employees and customers know their choice and can comply with it at the place where they cross that boundary between public property and Business A's private property.

Business B chooses not to establish such a policy, and Business B is protected by law from any suit holding it responsible for violence that occurs there, provided Business B is not the perpetrator. Please read the comments to the post I linked immediately above, they illuminate.

Absent this kind of law, we have recourse only to public pressure. PR has discouraged businesses who were weighing "gun-free" policies for their customers: Burt auto dealerships in the Denver area, for example, responded positively to a call-and-write'em campaign; I've heard that Applebee's did also.

But if workplace violence is as prevalent as some say (well, is it?), and workplace violence succeeds in spite of "gun-free" workplace policies (leave the "because of" argument for another day), then employees are at greater risk than patrons. What about them? Failing to protect employees' RKBA is, in my view, implicit acceptance of the principle that the presence of a gun causes crime regardless of the character of the people involved: 'It doesn't matter who you are, or who your co-workers are, doesn't matter how well I checked you out before I hired you. If the gun is there somebody might get hurt.'

Distinctions regarding what really constitutes private property take on new meaning here, and I stress them.


Jed and I, and all five of my other regular readers, should be so lucky that someday the individual RKBA receives the respect and juridicial deference that are implied in this discussion. We are still trying to secure an uncertain and tragically disrespected RKBA in our own homes and on public streets; the right answers for RKBA within places of employment, worship, and commerce, at some presumed distance from the purely public sphere, depend on agreement that an individual RKBA exists. Such agreement cannot exist in a nation and at a time where mere possession of the instrument in private without State permission can be a crime, or in a city whose civic leaders or sworn peace officers can unilaterally call for the instruments' wholsale seizure.

Perhaps it is a sign of progress that our legislators and courts are now weighing the RKBA against other rights, without obvious intent to use that balancing act to short-sheet RKBA. Perhaps the RKBA can be defined, in part, from the outside in---where must it recede in importance versus other rights?

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