Proposals advance to widen gun rights
Legislature considering lifetime permits, deadly force
By Niki Kelly
The Journal Gazette
Feb 26, 2006
INDIANAPOLIS – Hoosiers could obtain lifetime gun permits and new protections when using deadly force under legislation being considered by the General Assembly.
A third, and more controversial, firearms measure prohibiting employers from banning guns from their parking lots was taken out of a bill last week and appears dead.
Several of the proposals are being pushed by the National Rifle Association in other states as well, including Kentucky, Michigan and Florida.
The language is contained in a number of bills that could receive key votes this week in the legislature.
The first is House Bill 1028, which was stripped of the employer-employee gun section that has resulted in several legal fights around the nation.
Sen. Johnny Nugent, R-Lawrenceburg, took the provision out, saying “it is a controversial issue with people on both sides. We’re just not going to address it this session.”
Companies in recent years have banned guns from the workplace as part of a violence-prevention strategy. But the language under consideration would have permitted employees to keep loaded guns in their cars on company property.
During testimony on the bill in the House, some people argued the right of hunters to leave directly from work on a trip or to hunt before coming to work in the morning.
The biggest test of such laws has been in Oklahoma, where in 2002 an employer launched a sweep of its facility and parking lot and fired several employees who violated its policy barring firearms by having guns in their cars.
A legal battle ensued, during which the state legislature got involved in 2004 by passing a law saying no property owner can establish a policy denying someone the right to have firearms in a locked vehicle.
The law has never been enforced, though, as it has been embroiled in a court contest.
Similar laws were passed in Alaska and Minnesota last year, and several national media reports indicate the NRA plans to have similar legislation introduced in all 50 states.
Indiana and Florida are among those in which the legislation has been introduced.
The NRA didn’t return three messages left by The Journal Gazette last week for comment.
2nd Amendment vs. safety
But Zach Ragbourn – spokesman for the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence – denounced the effort.
“It’s a stupid, stupid bill. It’s bad from a gun violence perspective and worse from a property rights perspective,” he said. “It tells businesses you cannot set policies on your property. It is a workplace safety issue for them, and they are very worried about where it is going to stop.”
Advocates of the bill argue the employees’ cars are their personal property, and they should be allowed to carry a legal firearm within one.
NAI Harding Dahm, a commercial real estate firm in Fort Wayne, enforces a policy against employees bringing guns onto company property, according to Terry Hudson, the chief financial officer.
Hudson, who wasn’t aware of the legislation, thinks it’s a bad idea. He worries about what could happen at companies across the state if unstable employees could merely walk out to the parking lot to gain immediate access to loaded weapons.
“It would take away some of that cool-down period that may be there for somebody to think about their actions,” he said.
Hudson also acknowledged that even if the proposed law isn’t enacted, workplaces are always vulnerable to premeditated assaults by disgruntled employees.
While Nugent removed the language, it did pass the House by a vote of 82-18, which means it is eligible to be inserted elsewhere if lawmakers choose.
Guarding the castle
Nugent is still supportive of the remaining part of the bill – what he calls the right of Hoosiers to “stand your ground.”
Essentially the language says that people being robbed in their homes or carjacked do not have a responsibility to retreat.
“Shoot first and ask questions later,” one Detroit Free Press story said about a similar bill being heard in the Michigan Senate.
Nugent said that sometimes attorneys in court make it seem that victims should have run away or called police, rather than defended themselves from harm with a gun. This law will clear up that inference in cases of justifiable homicide, he said.
“This says you can use deadly force if you deem it appropriate,” Nugent said. “It puts in statute what courts have been doing already.”
The Kentucky House is also preparing to vote on this measure, according to a Louisville Courier-Journal report last week. The NRA is lobbying lawmakers in 13 states on the no-retreat issue.
This language is also contained in Senate Bill 54, in which a third homegrown idea appears – allowing Hoosiers to have lifetime gun permits instead of reapplying every four years.
Currently a person applies at a local police department or sheriff’s office, paying a $25 fee, $15 of which goes to the Indiana State Police and $10 stays with local authorities.
A local investigation is completed, which includes fingerprints, and the officer sends the information along with a recommendation to the state police. A second background check is done at that level and then the state police issue a four-year permit or license.
But under Senate Bill 54 – as well as House Bill 1176 – that would all change.
Rep. Troy Woodruff, R-Vincennes, is sponsoring the bills because of complaints from his constituents.
“The Second Amendment gives law-abiding citizens the right to own and possess a gun, and the current process is an undue burden,” he said. “This way you would get your license once, and as long as you are in good standing you keep it.”
Some Hoosiers argue it’s hard to get past the local police department – sometimes because of a personal conflict and sometimes because the department is overworked and can give only limited hours to the task of processing handgun permits.
Under the new system, those interested would log onto a Web-based system and apply directly to the Indiana State Police, who will forward the application to the local authorities for the same inquiry they do now.
The fees would be higher – $125 for a first-time, lifetime application, with $75 going to the state police and $50 to the locals.
For gun owners switching their current four-year permit to a lifetime permit, the cost would be $100, with $60 going to the state police and $40 staying local.
During debate in the House on House Bill 1176, which passed 78-21, there was some concern that without a thorough vetting every four years people who should not own a gun because of criminal activity or other factors will slip through the cracks.
Steve Hillman, spokesman for the state police, said the agency continually runs new convictions against the gun licensing database to make sure permits are revoked when necessary.
But he does concede that some “character information” that is more readily available on a local level might be jeopardized. This could include arrests – but not convictions – as well as local court orders in divorce proceedings that prohibit someone from possessing a gun.
Hillman hopes, though, that if the new system makes it easier, local police will send that information on a more consistent basis to the state police.
“Hoosiers want to make sure that if someone commits a crime we are not waiting until four years later to check,” Woodruff said.
But Allen County Sheriff Jim Herman isn’t a big fan of the proposed change.
The gun aficionado concedes that some city police chiefs in the past just refused to process or approve any permits, which he sees as an infringement on the person’s right to bear arms. And he also said it is a rare occasion when someone who has a gun permit is involved in a crime because permit holders are generally law-abiding.
“But honestly I think it’s a good idea to do it every four years,” said Herman, who believes the lifetime permit would be popular. “It affords us the opportunity to review things every once in a while. I think it is prudent.”
Gov. Mitch Daniels said Thursday he is “fine” with the bill and would sign it into law.
I consistently fail to understand why employers are skittish about a gun in my car?
Has there ever been an instance of an employee having a weapon in the car and going to get it and shooting the place up? Not that I am aware of.
Plenty of instances of people violating company policies and simply coming through the front door with all sorts of guns and killing as many people as possible. Since everyone inside is unarmed they get to die like fish in a barrel.
The instances you cite are why these sorts of policies are created. The leadership believes it will help prevent workplace violence.
A lot of companies treat their employees VERY badly, they don't want any payback
I hope this increasing attitude of the right to defend yourself with guns,
continues to grow throughout the states.
At one time, I thought there wouldn't be a chance in hell that MN. would get CCW
I am really starting to get optimistic about the nations attitude towards the second amendment.
Seems lately we are making progress.
We are doing are best.
You have no right to employment, if don't like the companies policies then don't work there. This bill is very anti property rights and any liberty minded person should be against it. This is like saying that you have freedom of speech at work, lets say that you work at Bushmaster and all of a sudden you start handing out anti-gun propaganda, should they be able to fire you or not? These anti-liberty views are precisely why people shouldn't support the NRA.
I hope Ohio gets on board with this type of legislature. In Ohio the Duty to Retreat plain ass sucks. Someone breaks in my home I am supposed to leave my house if I can to get help? Fuck that, the turd is getting flushed at my back door. Ill worry about the other issues later.
The kind of employee that would go in and shoot the boss is not the kind that would worry about being fired. He has already decided that.
So, such workplace rules have no effect in preventing workplace shooting. NONE.
As far as lifetime CCW permit... let's do it Vermont/Alaska style... full restoration of Second Amendment rights. No permit required. If you are legally able to own a gun, you can carry it any way you want.
Vermont has the lowest crime rate in the nation.
You're a real smart guy. I'm glad you shared that with us.
KY already has a 'stand your ground' law. There is no duty to retreat here. I would like to see a lifetime CCW permit in KY though. That's coolio! Actually, I'd like to see national reciprocity! Or just a return to our RTKBA.
I will toss this in as I do every time it is within the context of a thread. I know I am whistling in the wind with it but, one day someone actaully may comprehend.
When people say it is within the property rights of an employer to prohibit guns because "it's private property" they are following an hypocritical trap. Just as an aside, my car is MY private property! Of course, they can argue you may have signed your rights away. Bull. That's point one, you can't make me sign my rights away. You can't assume more rights to invade my property (car) than a police officer with PC (at the level where he/she needs a warant). But that's not even the main point about private property.
An employer, whether store (especially), restaurant (especially), or factory is operating a PUBLIC ACCOMMODATION. The argument would be very different if it were not about guns. It is VERY different from one's private home, for example. Let's talk about something other than guns, to keep it objective. How about renting, or not renting, a room or apartment to a black/green/purple or orange person (including Orange persons - subjects of the Crown in the Netherlands - sorry, I couldn't resist). I can, under housing laws, refuse to rent a single room in my own home to a person based on race, national origin or any other reason which would otherwise be covered under Federal anti-discrimination laws. However, I cannot make such a refusal in a larger (the threshold used to be 3 units, it could be changed now) dwelling, or in a restaurant or a store because of the Public Accommodation nature of the business.
Likewise, an assertion of property rights in a facility which is accessible by the public as opposed to an individual family against a legal activity is abhorrant. One may say, "but certain employers do not make themselves open to the public, only employees with badges." Of course, but it still is not a private family dwelling. What would the newspaper in question say if the employer said no black or green or ROP people here? A gun is a piece of metal that sits on a table minding its own business until someone messes with it. A member of any other group, if that person is so inclined, may initiate harmful action. Some of the worst murders have been committed by WASPs, some with golf clubs. So, we're not picking on one ethnic group but the gun is the least of any to blame.
Even allowing that an employer may not want a gun on the premesis, it is ridiculous to say it can't be in a person's own private vehicle. Indeed that is a fundamental issue right there! How can a person assert rights for him/herself (you can't bring this on my PRIVATE property) and yet presume to freely violate your property rights. Yes, I know, agreements of employment. Look up contract law and review inequality of power (or position) to contract.
Libaility & gun haters, nothing more.
Hello????? Post Office ring a bell, sir????????????
Impossible, as that's against company policy, sir!!!!!
While your car is your property and I would agree that an employer has zero right to violate that property and unlawfully search it without consent. If you sign a contract that gives consent to search when you get employed then that was the choice you made. If employers are searching cars without consent then that is one thing and I would support reinforcing existing law to make it clearer that trespassing on private property by employers will not be tolerated. However, if people are actually being asked to sign away consent to search than they need to consider if that is the most appropriate place for them to work.
An employer can (or at least should be able to in a free nation) hire and fire an employee for ANY reason. If the employer doesn’t like clowns and you have a clown painting in your home, and for some reason your insane employer considers that grounds for termination, regardless of how ridicules it is in a free nation he should be able to terminate you, and as a result the business will either prosper or suffer greatly from the choices that the employer makes. If an employer doesn’t like guns then he not only should be able to ban guns from being on his property but he should be able to ban guns from employee homes. And if that employer finds out that you have a gun then he should be able to fire you, and if he does ban all 80 million gun owners from being employed, most of which are extremely skilled at what they do, then his business will either suffer, or prosper… probably the former.
In a free nation anti-discrimination laws don’t exist. Do you want the same government that gave us the racial problems of the past by passing MANDATORY segregation laws put in charge of fixing social and racial issues in this country? Regardless of size, a business should be able sell or not sell, rent or not rent, or serve or not serve anyone for any reason that business pleases. It is no business of the governments how any business chooses to conduct it self, period.
If a business owns a large rental complex with 100 apartments and it only rents to white people the there are free market implications for doing that. It is all supply and demand, if 10% (or whatever) of the population is a minority then you would be reducing demand by 10%, thus reducing the value of your apartments. Further more, people like myself would refuse to rent and give money to a bigot thus, reducing the value of your apartments even more. In a free society people are free to do whatever they wish with their own property, however that doesn’t mean there aren’t free market consequences for acting a certain way.
The whole concept that business have certain rights and people have another set of rights is crazy, individuals and business (regardless of size) have or should have, in a free society, equal and the same rights. Bussiness should have have more or different rights than individuals, and individuals should not have more or different rights than business.
It is simple if an employer wants to fire you he should be able to, the whole matter really has little to do with your property rights. Unless you sign away consent to search then I agree he has no business searching your car, however he does have the right (unless otherwise stated in the contract) to terminate you for any reason, in a free society that is. In a free society an employer has the right to make a rule that says “no green cars are allowed in the company parking lot.” If you have a problem with that rule then you get can a different color car or you can find an employer who won’t be bankrupt and out of business in a year or two.
We're talking apples and oranges. I agree with much of what you say, but the trouble is it is mostly what "should" be. The reality is, those anti-discrimination laws DO exist. An employer cannot do whatever he/she/it wants to a person, except if it's for guns. That is my whole point. These laws are there, and the fundamental principles behind them. Therefore, the employer, not having an absolute right of a private citizen, cannot assert them in a case such as this.
As far as the contract is concerned, you are correct. However, this is yet another situation in which it would be "different" were it not about guns. SOme lawyer would trot out, correctly, I might add, the inequality oif bargaining position, were it about anything else.
You speak repeatedly about a free society, and the way it would be. I agree, but that's not the way it is. We do not have a free society. In the case of the contract, you say, correctly, that a person makes a choice or decision as to what it the best place to work, and accepts the rules imposed. That isn't free. Yet, an employer wants to be free to make them. At best, there can be a compromise. To me, that compromise is found in consistency. Either an employer can make rules or he/she/it can't. Rules can be curbed, and have been. Again, an employer can't prohibit a black person. Though I will not cast aspersions on a race, I do want to use something that is real. An employer can point to statistics showing, whether from injustice or not, that in a particular jurisdiction such people commit a larger percentage of crimes. ONCE AGAIN THIS IS NOT ABOUT RACE, IT SIMPLY IS A REALISTIC EXAMPLE. This is the same story as a gun, and an employer saying that guns cause violence. OK, in what way is it different? One may point to statistics in both cases. Right or wrong. So, a prohibition on the basis of stistically based asumptions about a race would be struck down. Such assumptions are patently ridiculous. SO are assumptions about a gun. Your point about what should be doesn't really matter, because the employer clearly cannot employ at will. The will is limited.
Yes, I am saying also what "should" be. But, I am not stripping the societal rules, whether I agree with them or not is not important, but going along with them. What is important is consistency, relevance and common sense.
I'll put a further case to you. Suppose employers are able to prohibit guns. Then further suppose some madman does a smash entry with a truck and starts shooting. If I am injured, should I not be able to sue because I was a) Denied the means to protect myself and b) the employer did not provide the safety implicit in a "safe (hahaha) work place policy?" In a free society, this would not be possible, and I'm sure employers would want immunity from such suits. Now, thre's hypocrisy!
Liability. Plain and simple. Some lawyer thinks it might avoid a lawsuit in the future.
Your rights end where your employer's bottom line begins.
Indiana kicks ass.
1. Good for Indiana. I hate going in for the renewal paperwork.
2. I'm constantly amazed by the number of people who think they have a right to exercise their Constitutional rights on my property. YES, you have a right to self defense as evidenced by the Second Ammendment. As far as I'm concerned, you may exercise that right anywhere that does not intrude upon MY rights. That is, MY property. Not that I would, but if I declared that nobody could carry a weapon on my property, that's the end of the discussion.
Similarly, you may not protest or picket (First Ammendment) upon my property. Who here wants to start crying or handing out "clues"?
Don't like it? Leave.
I expect you to respect my property and I will respect yours.
I don’t see what isn’t free about that, if you like the terms of the contract then accept them, if you don’t like the terms either decline or renegotiate. An employer is just offering you a service just as you are offering them a service. You are offering them your time and in return they are offering you a salary, benefits, stock options, company car, sell phone, or whatever you can negotiate for yourself. You are in just as good of a bargaining position as they are, so make the best of it and if you can’t come to an agreement on the terms of your employment then you can offer your services somewhere else. There is no reason why you couldn’t request them to sign a contract that mandates that the CEO must remove all clown paintings from his home, but then again then they might require that you take a drug test :P.
The problem with your logic is that it isn’t principled. You can’t achieve liberty by going forward towards tyranny, you only achieve liberty by going backwards towards the freedoms that we once had.
No you shouldn’t be able to sue, you would have known the risks associated with accepting your contract when you signed it. As for “Safe Work Polices”, unless that polices is specifically worded to protect you against mad men with guns storming the building, which off the top of my head I don’t think the one I signed does ;), then no that wouldn’t give you reason to sue. Also keep in mind that I believe 90% or so of that “safe work policy” crap is just stupid OSHA regulations that don’t exist in a free society.
A company that hires out to the public is not the same as your "private property", sir. Otherwise, OSHA, IRS, Health Dept., etc. would never be able to darken the doorways.
Again, you are missing the point. We are not talking about a theoretical/fictional libertarian society. We are talking about a real one in which the same principle is not applied equally, solely because it is about guns. Whether you should or should not be permitted to control your property is not the issue. The government does control what you can and cannot do. This is, of course, less true in your truly private "own home," and that is not what we are talking about. Your freedom is restricted in a business, and I am saying the very same restriction should apply across the board. I am suggesting to people that they insist on consistency in their state regulations.
We are not debating whether restrictions should exist, that's a whole different issue. I may be more in agreement with you than you imagine. Then again, total "libertarianism" could come back to bite you in the ass. For example, and not to get a debate started on it, because I really don't have time and don't really care that much, suppose you say you should have total freedom to hire whom you want and fire whom you want when you want, for no real reason. The last point is key. Currently, you have to have a reason. You are talking pure "at will" employment. True "at will" really means "at whim." No, one cannot modify it, we are talking total freedom here. The minute you try to modify it, it becomes your own brand of totalitarianism - monarchy is great if I am king. See, if you just throw me out, say, and tell me to pound salt for my wages, and I am ugly and throw in an insult to my wife, too - all of which is total freedom, I believe in "code duello." There should not be any interference with my ability to deal with you or, we are talking about that personal totalitarianism, again. So, it's an issue that is sophomoric, at best.
I maintain, and, since we are talking about an existing set of laws, not a theoretical society, that they should be consistent. In the same way that an employer may not restrict a person from his employ for various grounds (whether one agrees or not, that is the way it is), he should not be able to restrict one's Constitutional right. We are not talking about the same privacy as in one's home. Further, there is an hypocrisy when property rights are inviolable on the one hand (employer premesis), and nonexistent on the other, your car, for example. The idea that the contract is inviolable, and I would have no rights, is laughably one-sided, and another example of <name of employer> totalitarianism.
The argument is principled to the extent of requiring consistency. If you want principle, as in the case of some theoretical form of government, it's a waste of time, as it does not exist.
I don't really know why I bother even pointing out the inconsistency (no, I am not looking for a "foolish consistency - where's that from?) of privacy being broken for a particular situation, as it is by government. The idea is so that people who might wish to write to lawmakers, or whatever input they may have, may make the law more honest. I think that's the best we can hope for in any kind of organized society. If people enjoy being jerked around, whether by a government self appointed master, or a corporate boss, why waste the time trying to enlighten them?
Perhaps I should just stick to my usual way of doing things (though more cranky as I get older). I carry in malls or wherever I feel it's potentially needed. I don't care about California law, or New York law or New Jersey (in particular) law. As long as the savages can attack my wife and myself, and the cops are nowhere around, I shall carry. Concealed is concealed. I do not commit crimes or bother anyone, and I refuse to be bothered. If someone just wants to shake me down, have at it. There is no reason for them to do that other than a desire to bully someone. When they have a size 13 buried deep in their crotch (that's just for starters) they may wonder about their choice of victim. If a criminal atacks me, and there is a cop around, I won't have to do anything, as the cop will take care of it. If there is no cop around, I will, and won't have to worry about a cop bothering me. If there is a cop, and he/she/it does not do anything and allows me to be attacked, and I do somethihng about, and then the cop jumps in for a technicality bust, the cop can join the criminal. Hows that for a free society? Doesn't sound pleasant if it's not one sided for the ruler does it?
Oh, by the way, you said one should not be able to sue. Again, apples and oranges. In a libertarian society, no. But, in the real world I'll bet the lawyers don't even like the "safe work place" wording as the words do carry an implicit warranty. Again, real world. I suppose a contract can cover it, but remember that "code duello?" A libertarian society is not a one sided society, and that can be a bitch.
A business already can do this. I can be fired tomorrow for no reason, as can any employee at my company & no reason given.
Aside from a union shop, that's the way it works in the real world, sir.
I am aware of that, with exceptions in many states. If the employer had no reason, he/she/it could be sued for wrongful discharge, depending on your particular state law. In the debate above, there is an attempt at libertarianism on one side, and restriction on the other. That is, do anything you wish as the business owner (personally, I have no disagreement with that, but the real world is different), but the employee has to leave himself open to anything. That's also why I went off on the hyperbole (though personally it is not) that total libertarianism is an odd beast, and it works for everyone, not just the particular rules of "Bobworld" or "Richardworld" (which would be the best, of course, because my rules are the best, etc., repeated by the total billions who all would have their own absolute kingdom).
If you fired a protected minority, I'm sure you know you had better have a good reason. We're talking reality here. And, that is the whole basis of my argument: what you could do in your private home, you cannot do in a business. Again, I'm not talking a small, out of the garage business, but something such as a store, shop, etc. So, the absolutism does not exist. Again, YMMV in certain states.