The State of Maine recently enacted legislation that assures employees with a state issued concealed weapons permit to carry weapons on their employer’s private property. Previously, the owner of a private property could set restrictions on firearms carry.
Was this bill a victory and model for advocates of 2nd Amendment rights or a slap in the face to the rights of private property owners? Did the state, intending to assure the rights of one group of individuals actually deprive another group of individuals of their rights?
Here is my comment from a discussion thread debating this issue:
Note the items we’re debating right now as reasonable people. Now imagine what’s going to happen the first time this law is challenged. The legislature has set us up for a court battle that will likely go on for years.
(Name omitted), I absolutely consider you a reasonable man and a friend, and I respect you without question. On this point we are at absolute opposite ends of the spectrum.
I won’t cite the numerous cases where firearms restrictions and outright prohibition have led to higher levels of crime; I’ve got to keep this short today. Neither will I cite the several instances where national governments have used weapons restrictions to abuse their people and deprive them of liberty.
I will say this: It is my opinion, one which is shared by many, that the 2nd Amendment assures my right to protect myself and others in any manner I see fit as long as my actions are lawful and righteous. I do agree with (name omitted) that an employer, or any owner of private property should have the right to set the rules regarding firearms on personal property at their discretion. My right to carry a firearm does not trump your right to have a firearm-free policy on your own property. In this we are in total agreement; if an employer has a firearm restriction on private property I am free to choose employment at an organization that allows me to carry.
Until and unless the Constitution is amended, I have the right to keep and bear arms; for my own protection and for the protection of others. If the American people want this right restricted or eliminated, they are free to do so through the process of the Constitutional amendment. This is exactly the type of check the founders designed to keep a motivated or powerful minority from restricting the rights of the majority. Our government was designed to protect the right of the individual, not the minority; a point too often confused and abused today.
The right to bear arms, however contentious, is still but one example of where people are fighting to protect individual rights. I don’t want to stray, but there are other even more egregious attempts to strip us of our rights. The worst abuses today exist in the expansion of eminent domain and in my opinion, the recent attempt to compel us as individuals to make a purchase against our will; that being the Affordable Care Act.
I fear we are rapidly losing individual freedoms and liberty. Worse, we’re abdicating our freedoms just as we abdicate personal responsibility whether it be for our personal protection, our health or our ability to move about and trade without government restriction and interference. The intention of creating law for the “general welfare” have so far exceeded the original meaning and intent of that phrase that a reasonable argument could be made that the vision of a restricted federal authority envisioned by the founders is all but lost already.
Rather than restriction, the solution is to restore the values of respect and personal responsibility. These are not values that can be legislated; these must be upheld, shared and protected by us as individuals and as a community. When these values are lost, the vacuum created assures the desire, if not the need, by concerned and well intended minorities to legislate restrictions on the majority; even when the problem intended to be addressed is not created by or perpetrated on a majority scale.
As to what happens in Maine, this legislation solves nothing. It will simply create a baseline for future disputes. I wish I could remember who said this:
“The main function of any legislation is to create unintended consequences.”
What are your thoughts on this issue? Will other states follow Maine’s example? In the attempt to protect one right did the state restrict another?