My Washington Post Article on Why Gun Rights and Property Rights

My Washington Post Article on Why Gun Rights and Property Rights

Illustration: Lex Villena; Patryk Kosmider Earlier today, the Washington Post published my article on “‘Gun-at-Work Laws’ Violate the Property Rights of Business Owners.” Here is an excerpt: Iowa is the latest state to consider prohibiting private property owners from banning guns on land they own. Sometimes called “parking-lot laws” or “gun-at-work laws,” many such statutes tell property owners they can’t prevent people from storing their guns in a locked car while they work their shift (or attend church or seek help at a nonprofit counseling center). In some cases, the laws allow them to bring the guns inside. Iowa would become the 25th state with such a law…. These laws do not defend constitutional rights. I support strong Second Amendment rights to keep and bear arms, but the amendment constrains only the government. It does not require private individuals to own guns or allow them on their land — just as the First Amendment does not require private owners to allow speech they disapprove of on their property. To mandate that Americans accept guns on their property represents an unacceptable infringement of their property rights, and also violates the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution…. Scholars and courts have long recognized that the right to exclude people and objects of which they disapprove is a central element of property owners’ rights. Indeed, the Supreme Court recently reaffirmed, in a decision that forbade California from giving union organizers a “right to take access” to an agricultural employer’s property — three hours […]

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