Proposed Bill Allows Employees to Keep Guns in Cars at Work | VideoAmanda Tetlak | 3/22/2011
The bill got a do not pass recommendation from the House committee that first looked at the bill, but passed overwhelmingly on the floor.
Basically the bill sets up a battle over property rights.
It`s no secret that many North Dakotans like to hunt, and the state constitution holds Second Amendment rights in high regard. But some gun owners say their rights are being violated when employers set rules not allowing employees to keep their guns locked in their vehicles at work.
"Somebody might want to go hunting before or after work. I have a friend in Aberdeen, S.D., who used to go over his lunch hour," explained Darin Goens of the National Rifle Association.
It`s not just hunting rifles, but also concealed weapons. Supporters of the legislation to block employers from prohibiting employees from keeping guns in their vehicles say gun owners should be allowed to protect themselves to and from work.
"The only thing that happens is we disarm the people who are using their guns for self defense against these guys. The bottom line is, the bad guys are going to ignore the signs," said Goens.
But businesses say this bill in turn violates their property rights.
"It should be the right of the company to enforce the firearm policy they deem appropriate," said Andy Peterson of the North Dakota Chamber of Commerce.
And at least one gun owner agrees.
Gun owner Mike Donahue said: "I think if somebody says, `I don`t want you bringing guns on my property,` he has the right to say that or do that. If a business owner says, `I don`t want any guns in my parking lot,` no guns in the parking lot."
Donahue says if gun owners want to have their guns locked in their vehicles at work. They should find somewhere else to park, like on the street.
Supporters of the legislation say, the owner of the vehicle also has property rights.
Similar legislation has passed in 13 other states, but failed in Montana and Wyoming. The bill does exempt certain workplaces like schools, correctional facilities and places with hazardous materials.