Life, Liberty and Disarmament
By Gerard Valentino
(This commentary has also been published at CNSNews.com)
Recently, a large well known company fired five workers for having a crucifix in their cars while parked on company property. Although the workers appealed their dismissal through the courts, the search was deemed to be legal and their dismissal was upheld on the grounds that a business can rightfully ban religious paraphernalia on company property.
Fewer than two weeks later a similar incident cost two more people their jobs. Both were fired for having a Kerry-Edwards sticker on their car while parked on their employer''s property. Once again the fired employees sued to get their job back, but the result was the same as the previous case, the courts ruled in favor of the company.
One final case occurred recently in California where a business chose to post a sign that stated people of a certain ethnicity were not welcome as customers. When a man of that ethnicity sued, the business's right to control what happens on their private property was upheld in court.
All three cases mentioned above never really happened. They didn't happen because courts have ruled that a company cannot fire someone for their religious beliefs or keep people from having religious items in their car while on company property. A business also can not deny a person service because of their ethnicity.
Yet, even though there is no threat to public safety, a business can disarm their employees and even go so far as to ban guns in privately owned cars on company property.
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Businesses claim their private property rights trump the right to carry a gun and that banning guns on company property is a viable way to reduce workplace violence. Yet, nearly every workplace shooting happened at a company that banned possession of weapons. When a disgruntled worker brought a gun to work, the so-called ban on carrying weapons only proved to leave workers at the mercy of an armed killer.
Parking lot bans also serve to disarm employees while they travel to and from work which means employers are putting workers at risk while not on the clock. Workers wouldn''t let their employers dictate their before and after work activities when it comes to any other issue and shouldn''t when it comes to self-defense.
Many places of employment are also in high crime areas and often employees are forced to walk to their car after hours in deserted parking lots without protection.
If an employer subjected workers to such a high level of risk while on the job OSHA would step in and force the company to act more responsibly. For some reason the government doesn''t see it as a problem if workers are left at risk of attack while in the company parking lot.
The reality is that Americans, and particularly legislators, don''t want to see individuals take personal responsibility for their own personal safety.
Liberal legislators in particular want to see Americans rely on the weapons bans for safety, regardless of how they failed to protect workers during the massacre at the Toledo, OH Jeep factory, the victims of 9/11, and citizens of New Orleans during the Katrina disaster.
Those tragedies should remind all Americans that their own personal safety is their own personal responsibility. It should also make legislators realize that a given American''s right to self-protection is fundamental to our way of life, just like the right to freedom of religion and the freedom of speech. By refusing to allow law-abiding citizens the right to carry a gun, the government is infringing on their fundamental right to bear arms.
The 2nd Amendment, however, is about more than just the individual right to carry a gun. It is fundamental to the life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness granted by the Creator and affirmed by the Founding Fathers.
Note that our Founding Fathers put life first on the list. They did that because they knew that without the right to life, whether for the born or unborn, there can''t be liberty or a pursuit of happiness.
Without the ability to defend your person, and your family, the American experiment in equality and freedom is meaningless.
Workplace and parking lot bans are distinct from those mandated by the government which should be a key distinction. The federal government has seen fit to bridge private property rights when it comes to smoking bans and discrimination based on race, color, creed and religion.
All of which are seen by the American public as acceptable.
Claiming those rights are of more value than the right to life is an illogical argument based on fear of guns as opposed to a basis in law or the Constitution.
To say the government can intrude in whether people can smoke, pray, or discriminate, but not live is absurd. When government officials stand in support of discriminating against gun owners and refusing to defend the right to life they are advancing just such absurdity.
(A special thanks to Attorney Ken Hanson who proposed some of the analogies in this article.)
Gerard Valentino chairs the Central Ohio Buckeye Firearms Association.