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Guns in Parking Lots, Revisited

“An armed society is a polite society.”
–Robert Heinlein

“Good fences make good neighbors.”
–Robert Frost

Yet again we see an example of inventing, arguing over, and legislating about every conceivable “right” except property rights:

The National Rifle Association began a boycott of ConocoPhillips Co. Monday over the energy giant’s attempt to block a state law preventing employers from firing workers who keep guns in their cars on company lots.

“Across the country, we’re going to make ConocoPhillips the example of what happens when a corporation takes away your Second Amendment rights,” NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre said.

Okay, try to follow the bouncing bullet here:

1. Private business says “no guns on our property.”

[In a sane society, one that recognized the supremacy of property rights, that would be the end of the blogpost. But, alas, our society is not sane.]

2. Those who think the Second Amendment can somehow trump property rights propose a law to that effect. Of course, the question of how exactly one can have a right to own a gun, but not the right to own property generally, remains unanswered by such people.

3. Private business says, correctly, “How dare you! This law stinks, and we’re going to oppose it and stand up for our property rights, so there!”

4. Lobbying group says “How dare you say ‘How dare you!’!” and calls for an infantile boycott.

All because people couldn’t stop at #1 like they should have.

Remember the old saying “Your right to swing your fist ends where my nose begins”? It’s remarkably robust, and as good a summation of the difference between positive rights and negative rights as anyone could compose.

And it sums up this non-issue quite succinctly: your right to carry a gun ends where my property line begins. If you don’t like it, then don’t come on my property. And if that means not working for my private business, then too bad so sad — find another job.

More commentary, still fresh apparently, at my previous post.

See also today’s New York Times and Reason.

Hat tip to Right Side of the Rainbow for the link.

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One Response to “Guns in Parking Lots, Revisited”

  1. There is no necessary contradiction between acknowledging the proprietary right to choose to exclude guns, and protesting the actual choice.

    ConocoPhilips has every right to forbid guns on the property they own. The NRA and their supporters have every right to say that this choice is wrong, contrary to the public interest, and should be opposed by boycotting ConocoPhilips.

    It's only when the partisans try to drag the law into the fight that contradictions become inevitable.

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