Indiana Senate Bill 11 would prohibit most public and private employers from adopting or enforcing rules barring firearms from company property. The Journal Gazette is, naturally, appalled:
Advocates for gun rights argue that law-abiding citizens should be allowed to keep weapons locked in their cars, but they ignore the tragic examples of employees who have taken the lives of co-workers when overcome by rage.
The editorial's sole argument is to list several examples of people going nuts and shooting up the office and then chide the bill's sponsor for "supporting workplace violence." No mention is made of the possibility that many, if not most, of those shootings occurred at businesses that prohibited firearms, that people in a rage don't care much about rules or that some of those armed, law-abiding citizens might have stopped the rage-induced shooters with fewer innocent people killed.
But there is a better argument against the bill that does not involve going around in the same old gun-debate circles, one which the JG briefly quotes the Indiana Chamber of Commerce head as offering but which it does not pick up on itself:
"We believe that the property rights of the employers should trump the Second Amendment rights of the person owning and wanting to bring the gun on the employer's premises," Brinegar said.
That's the same argument expressed by many against government-ordered smoke-free workplaces. Such laws co-opt the private-property rights of business owners. And there is no conflict between property rights and Second Amendment rights, Mr. Brinegar's remarks notwithstanding. The Second Amendment prohibits the government -- and, specifically, the Congress of the United States -- from interfering with the right to bear arms. It does not prohibit property owners from saying what may or may not be brought onto their property.