Monday, May 5, 2008

Florida Parking Lot Carry

There is a brouhaha about a law passed in Florida that has everyone up in arms. It allows lawfully possessed firearms, used for lawful purposes, to be kept in that individual’s locked car when parked in an employer’s parking lot.

Arguments for the proponents, the lawful gun-owners: Their car is THEIR private property and it is none of the employer’s business, the employer can’t protect me and I don’t give up my self-defense rights and responsibilities just because I am at work on their property, and while they’d like to carry their concealed pistol at work, they concede that the office IS the empoyer’s property and can forbid it. Still, access to the vehicle’s firearm in the event of a crazed murderer loose, near work, is better than nothing. The employer hasn’t assumed responsibility for each employess protection on site, and they CERTAINLY haven’t assumed responsibility for the unarmed commute an employee will then be forced to endure.

Arguments for the employer: Potentially armed employees are an excessive insurance liability risk, and they can’t afford the increase in premiums. Their lot IS their property, and you wouldn’t want someone bringing their firearms on YOUR property without permission, either. The lot may be semi-public, but so is an employees front stoop, you’d want to shoo away religious evangelists shouting through your front door (semi public area) if you didn’t want to listen to their spiel, despite their free speech rights. There is some grays area in the law on how secure you are in your private possessions when they are inside a vehicle, anyway. Your private residence is a much more clear area when it comes to 4th amendment rights compared to your jacket pocket or car. And the standards on what constitutes a legal search in any of those areas, home, car, person, changes slightly over time. Like what constitutes “probable cause” and how restricted the police are. And it often comes down to your word against theirs. “Subject illegally brandished holstered firearm that is required to remain concealed, so we had probable cause to search him” “I did not!” “Did, too, and three officers will testify as such” “They are not telling the truth!” “The jury will trust their 3 sets of testimony more than they’ll trust just yours because they are officers of the law.” “Well, darn!”

The other problem is there is a lot of heat being generated in the argument back in forth and that heat is being reported in the media. And the media likes the sound bites of hysterics and can come down ‘for’ property rights (employers), not mentioning that the pro-civil rights side has a property rights argument, too. Many people on the pro-civil rights side also think that our NRA resources can be better used elsewhere, like streamlining carry rules on federal lands, etc.

I’m not sure where I come down on this. I’d prefer it get hashed out with level heads and not histrionics. But I’d also prefer a billion dollar bank account and my own private island. Wishing isn’t gonna get me either situation. I recommend our side keep applying rational arguments and refuting erroneous ones, and not to get crazy and shoutty. Offer a waiver here to one side or another might help.

The other line of thinking is our side should be pushing the frontiers back, WAY into enemy territory. Making them defend their anti-rights, anti-self-defense predelictions. The farther we push, the less chance they will have to get back to where they were in 1990s when they reached their peak and before the curtain was drawn back on their manufactured, ginned-up position. A totally understandable strategy, that.

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