Monday, January 06, 2014

Oops. Unintended consequences...

Tennessee (still here!) is an "at will" state, meaning that employers have to offer no reasons for firing employees. Conservatives love this, since it plays into a lot of their core notions, like letting the market rule and firing people for being the wrong religion/sexuality/color/whatever. But it's biting them in the butt now.

You see, Tennessee is one of the states that has a new "gun in the trunk" law.
It was supposed to resolve a yearslong fight between gun-rights advocates, who said they need protection from employers' anti-gun prohibitions, and business groups, who argued such a law would violate their property rights.
But apparently, if your boss doesn't want guns on his property, his right to fire you for violating his no-guns rule still trumps your right to bring your arsenal to work (on the way to wherever you think you're gonna need it). The AG said last spring
that the new “guns in trunks” legislation amends only the Tennessee law governing criminal offenses. He explains that the legislation “does not address and thus has no impact on the employment relationship between an employer and an employee.” Op. Tenn. Att’y Gen. No. 13-41 (May 28, 2013). The opinion letter states that employers often are permitted to establish policies that restrict otherwise lawful activities and that the plain and unambiguous language of the new provision does not address the employment relationship.
In other words, it's not a crime to leave your guns in your car. But property owners can still say they don't want you to do it. Just like they can say they don't want you to do other things that aren't crimes.

So now, unhappy gun owners want to revisit the legislation, though the lawmakers are sick and tired of the whole thing:
A Tennessee gun-rights group is firing at top Republican leaders for displaying insufficient enthusiasm for major changes to the "guns in parking lots" law enacted earlier this year.

Tennessee Firearms Association Executive Director John Harris, in a recent letter to members, called it "shameful" that "the Republican establishment leadership plans to continue ignoring the constitutionally protected rights of law-abiding gun owners, including the right to defend themselves and their families against criminals."

House Speaker Beth Harwell, R-Nashville, and Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey, R-Blountville, said earlier this month they did not intend to take the lead in revisiting the Safe Commute Act, although they expect the issue to emerge.
What's funny to me is, the gun people are willing to throw property-owners' rights and "at-will" firings under the bus just to have the "constitutionally protected rights of law-abiding gun owners, including the right to defend themselves and their families against criminals" - though how a gun locked up in your trunk helps you defend yourself is more than I can see... Somebody steals your car, you just gave him weapons, too. Anyway. The point is, next thing you know, somebody else will want to be able to keep his job because of his constitutionally protected right to, I don't know, free speech or something.

I guess they're only "special rights" if somebody but you is getting them.

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At 3:03 PM, January 11, 2014 Blogger Kevin Wade Johnson had this to say...

I'm going to come up with an entry soon; working title: A Calm, Rational Discussion on Gun Control - Hah!

Whenever I get around to posting it (you can see I'm way, way behind), you'll have to let me know what you think.


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