Our Opinion: Property rights, safety compromised by gun billby Tucson Citizen on May. 16, 2009, under Opinion
As the National Rifle Association was en route to Phoenix, the state House showed its support by passing a bill to let Arizonans stash concealed guns in their parked cars.
But while HB 2474 may please some gun owners, it’s an outrage for property owners, employers and businesses, which no longer could prohibit gun storage in vehicles parked in their lots and garages.
In addition to infringing on private property rights, this legislation raises serious safety concerns.
Supporters say the bill, sponsored by Rep. John Kavanagh, R-Fountain Hills, would provide convenience for people who may be planning to hunt or shoot before or after work.
Alas, it also would make workplace shootings far more convenient by allowing workers to keep loaded guns stashed just outside in the parking lot – whether the employer likes it or not.
Workplace violence already affects more than 2 million workers in the U.S. each year, accounting for about 20 percent of violent crime, according to a 2008 study commissioned by the ASIS Foundation.
About 500 workplace homicides occur each year, the report found.
The legislation, which has yet to be heard by the Senate, also could imperil homeland security because power plants and military contractors no longer could ban guns in their parking lots.
The bill does provide exemptions for nuclear-generating stations, businesses that run a gated and controlled parking lot, and facilities that search vehicles and passengers as they enter a secure parking facility.
But legislators cannot possibly predetermine what institutions have a legitimate need to bar guns from their parking areas.
We also find little solace in another argument by the bill supporters, that security would be enhanced for people who drive through dangerous neighborhoods.
Those who cannot avoid such dangerous areas and tote guns as a result still shouldn’t have the right to store their loaded gun in a private parking lot if the owner doesn’t want it there.
We agree with Rep. Chad Campbell, a Phoenix Democrat, that property owners should have the right to determine whether to allow guns in their parking lots.
Six other Democrats joined with House Republicans to pass this bill Thursday, just days before the NRA’s 50,000 members descend on Phoenix.
We would like to remind those Democrats, and the Republicans they joined, that in today’s world, national security and personal safety are paramount.
While HB 2474 purports to enhance personal safety, it in fact does just the opposite.
These are factors the Senate would be well-advised to consider before voting on this ill-conceived gun bill.