Friday, March 09, 2018

West Virginia Moves to Extend Second Amendment Rights to Parking Lots

In the trend to restore Second Amendment rights across the United States, 22 states have created statutes to protect the right to have arms inside personal means of transportation.  On 27 February, a bill in West Virginia passed the House by an overwhelming majority of 85-14. Here is the Summary From HB 4187:
The purpose of this bill is to create the “Business Liability Protection Act”. The bill includes the right to limit possession of firearms on certain premises and definitions. It also provides for misdemeanor criminal offense and penalty. It prohibits employers from certain specific actions against a person when that person possesses a firearm legally, including a condition of employment. The bill provides a duty of care of public and private employers and provides for immunity from liability. The bill authorizes the Attorney General to enforce this statute, including the right to sue or seek injunctive relief; and seek civil fines.
The purpose of this legislation is to find a trade off between the property rights of employers and the Second Amendment rights of employees. There are numerous restrictions on the property rights of employers already in place. The minor restrictions on employer rights seem small compared to the major restoration of Second Amendment rights. From
"We have many people in this state who decide to carry because they want to protect themselves, and many times that involves carrying to work," said Delegate Geoff Foster, a Winfield Republican and lead sponsor. "Many of the people in this state have been prevented from carrying to work, essentially being disarmed throughout the course of the day, because they can't have the gun locked in their vehicle."

Critics said it would make workplaces more dangerous and West Virginia less attractive to companies that want to control their premises.

"We will be less competitive if we don't allow those people to provide for a safe workplace and protect the public around them," said Delegate John Shott, a Bluefield Republican. He said 22 other states have some version of this law, but with some limits on where it applies, such as at chemical factories and oil and gas refineries in Texas.
Courts have found that state legislators have the power to make these tradeoffs. Others have said that the tradeoff is between the rights of the car owner to control what is in their car, and the right of the parking lot owner to control who parks in the lot.

This bill is popular. The West Virginia Senate has 22 Republicans and 12 Democrats. However, the West Virginia legislature has a short session by design. It is expected to adjourn on March 10th. That is little time to pass a bill in the West Virginia Senate and send it to the Governor.

It could happen, and Governor Jim Justice could sign it. Some legislatures are shying away from any bills that involve firearms law reform during the current media onslaught against gun ownership. Maybe the West Virginia Senate is made of stronger stuff. The House passed the bill by a large margin.

©2018 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.

Gun Watch

No comments: