Your Job Or Your Life
By Chris Chumita
The State of Ohio took a giant step in restoring its citizens’ Second Amendment rights on January 7th, 2004. On that date, the Ohio General Assembly passed a law that allows citizens to obtain a CHL (concealed handgun license). Safety-minded people were finally able to legally carry a handgun to protect themselves and their loved ones.
However, many law-abiding CHL holders are forced to make a hard decision; their job or their life. Throughout the state, a large number of employers are threatening their employees with termination if they keep a firearm in their vehicle on company property. If the employee complies with the policy, they are left vulnerable to an attack while commuting to and from work.
An employee cannot always quit their job, because their family relies on them for financial security. They often end up playing the odds that they will not be attacked while commuting to and from work. Unfortunately, that decision can leave their family without a mother or father.
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Some people state that an employer has the right to make policies concerning what is kept on or in their property. Using that logic, an employer can ban employees from keeping rap CDs in their car if it is parked in a company-owned parking lot. Can you imagine the uproar if an employer banned cars with rainbow bumper stickers from its parking lots?
Granted, the employee has the option of parking somewhere else. However, it may pose a problem depending on where you work. Sometimes there are several close and safe options. Often there are no other safe choices. The only non-company owned parking lot maybe several blocks away and the employee may be forced to walk that distance in a dangerous neighborhood without protection.
A firearm ban from company property raises the question of liability. Would your employer accept the liability if you are attacked while going to and from work? Will they accept the liability if you are attacked during your several block walk from the non-company owned parking lot? I don’t think so. In fact, the current law provides the employer with immunity if they decide to ban firearms.
Sometimes the employees who are banned from keeping firearms in their vehicles are trusted to provide medical care or do other sensitive work. For example, the Cleveland Clinic bans firearms from its entire property, including its parking lots and garages. What they are basically saying is that the cardiac surgeon who works at the Cleveland Clinic is trusted to do lifesaving surgeries, but cannot be trusted to have a firearm on their property. The doctor who is rushing to the hospital in the middle of the night cannot carry a firearm protect himself despite the fact that the area surrounding much of the Cleveland Clinic’s main campus is crime and drug infested.
Employers often state that they ban firearms from their property for “safety” reasons. They fail to recognize a very obvious fact. A criminal who intends to commit a violent act will not obey a company’s firearm ban. However, an employee who legally possesses a firearm is actually an added layer of security and can stop a violent attacker before the police arrive. If the employer is truly worried about safety they would allow an
employee to carry their firearm at work, secure it in their vehicle, or provide lock boxes.
Good jobs are hard to find, but an employee should not have to make the choice between their job and their life. The employer’s property rights stop when it starts to interfere with your rights to protect yourself. You have the right to defend yourself while driving to and from work.