Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Sister Newspapers' News

December 13, 2012

Guns-to-work laws spread as U.S. businesses fight firearms group

Republican-dominated legislatures in at least four states are planning to consider allowing employees to bring guns to work, turning two of the party's traditional constituencies against each other: gun-rights supporters and businesses.

The measures, backed by the National Rifle Association, would allow workers in Alabama, Tennessee, South Carolina and Pennsylvania to keep the weapons locked and hidden in their cars in employee parking areas. Seventeen states have approved similar measures since 2003, according to a tally by the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence in San Francisco.

The laws extend gun rights onto property controlled by private employers, prompting opposition from companies such as FedEx and Volkswagen. The proposals are creating a dilemma for Republicans, said Robert Spitzer, chairman of the political science department at the State University of New York at Cortland.

"The gun rights movement is now colliding against traditional business interests," Spitzer said. "It's a direct clash between a values issue and an economic one and both of these competing forces are particularly strong within the Republican Party."

The conflict has torn allegiances even among legislators who consider themselves strong backers of the Constitution's Second Amendment right to bear arms, as happened this year in Tennessee when the NRA, the Fairfax, Va.-based pro-gun organization, helped defeat Republican House caucus leader Debra Maggart in a primary. Maggart, who says she is a gun-rights supporter, had opposed a workplace firearms law because of concerns that it violated business and property rights.

"I am the most pro-Second Amendment person you can meet," Maggart said in an interview. "I had a perfect voting record with the NRA."

The law's proponents say the measures are needed to protect employees during their commutes. They say that employers who ban guns on their property are preventing workers from possessing their weapons when they commute, leaving them vulnerable to attack.

Text Only
Sister Newspapers' News
Sister Newspaper Columns
AP Editor's Picks Video
Disbanding Muslim Surveillance Draws Praise Hundreds Missing After South Korean Ferry Sinks Passengers Abuzz After Plane Hits Swarm of Bees Boston Bomb Scare Defendant Appears in Court Pistorius Trial: Adjourned Until May 5 Diaz Gets Physical for New Comedy Raw: Ferry Sinks Off South Korean Coast Town, Victims Remember Texas Blast Freeze Leaves Florida Panhandle With Dead Trees At Boston Marathon, a Chance to Finally Finish Are School Dress Codes Too Strict? Raw: Fatal Ferry Boat Accident Suspicious Bags Found Near Marathon Finish Line Boston Marks the 1st Anniversary of Bombing NYPD Ends Muslim Surveillance Program 8-year-old Boy Gets His Wish: Fly Like Iron Man Sex Offenders Arrested in Slayings of CA Women India's Transgenders Celebrate Historic Ruling Tributes Mark Boston Bombing Anniversary Raw: Kan. Shooting Suspect Faces Judge
National and World