Steve Chapman

Conceal-carry licensees complain that if they can't keep their guns in their cars, they will have no protection on their way to and from work. That's true. But what about employees who walk, bike or take the bus? Since the law doesn't give them the right to take their guns into the workplace, they have to leave them at home. Should the state force companies to let workers carry pistols into the factory, office or day-care center?

This is not a place where the government should substitute its judgment for that of the property owners. One lawyer told The Bradenton Herald, "I have clients that have to carry out terminations. Sometimes that termination is volatile. A lot of places have a policy where they walk the terminated employee to his car. What if you walk the guy to his car that has a gun? I wouldn't want to be that supervisor."

Given that crimes by permit holders are exceedingly rare, the employers who want to ban guns may be running from shadows. But decisions about their safety, and that of their customers and employees, should be theirs to make.

For some people, being temporarily deprived of a firearm creates great anxiety. But for those with a strong aversion to guns, working at a company that allows weapons in cars has the same effect. In a free society, both sets of employees can solve the problem with a simple expedient: exercising their liberty to find a company whose policies suit their preferences.

For the NRA to demand that guns be allowed in every company lot is just as oppressive as it would be for the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence to insist they be prohibited in every company lot. When gun-rights advocates oppose the use of government power to suppress firearms, they are advancing freedom. When they use government power to dictate to private companies, they are harming it.

Steve Chapman

Steve Chapman is a columnist and editorial writer for the Chicago Tribune.

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