Wednesday, September 8, 2010

National Rifle Association: More Harm Than Good

From the time of his departure from the NRA brass, until his death in 2005, Neal Knox was the leading voice publicizing the waste, corruption, and poor decision-making at NRA headquarters. His son has since taken up the banner. This letter describes yet another example of the same ongoing mismanagement:

House Bill 571, which was introduced by Joe Uecker, 66th District Representative, and is co sponsored by 30 other representatives, would amend section 2923.126 of the Ohio Revised Code. The law would not allow private employers to prohibit a concealed carry permit holder from storing the employee's handgun in a locked motor vehicle on the employer's premises. Any current employer policy prohibiting such would have to be amended.
This is the latest in a series of such attempts by the NRA to amend state laws to allow the practice of storing weapons in vehicles at workplaces, the first arising in Oklahoma 5 years ago.

Let me be very clear: I am strongly in favor of concealed carry. However, this is an example of a conflict between two rights: The Second Amendment rights of the employee, and the property rights of the employer. Benjamin Franklin already gave us a rule of thumb for resolving such conflicts- "Your right to swing your fist ends at the tip of my nose".

This is, however, typical of the NRA: while the NRA is busy trying to erode the Ninth Amendment right of employers to determine who may or may not possess a firearm on their private property, they are completely ignoring major gun-rights issues. For example, several cities in Texas are passing, or have passed, ordinances which forbid storing a firearm in an unattended vehicle. This is especially a problem in Texas, where the state penal code contains a several-pages-long list of places and times where a person may not lawfully exercise their right to carry a handgun, and so handguns are frequently left in a vehicle. An ordinance which bans the storage of a firearm in an unattended vehicle effectively converts a "license to carry a handgun" into a "license to store a handgun at home".

What's the difference between this ordinance and the Ohio example? Simple: A public parking space isn't private property!

I could go into the major missteps at NRA headquarters, and the corruption, and the wasted money, but I would get writer's cramp. Suffice it to say, I support two other organizations: Gun Owners of America and Jews For The Preservation Of Firearms Ownership. Both are cleanly-run, fiscally-responsible, ardent Second Amendment organizations.

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