Friday, April 25, 2008

It's About The Second Amendment And Nothing Else

by Marion Hammer

"While clowning around with my grandchildren one day, I suddenly shouted, "Look at the sky, it has turned from blue to green."

Try as I might, I could never convince them that it was true, because they could see and couldn't be fooled. So it is with Robert Levy's column ("Employers Must Pull The Trigger," Our Opinion, April 22).

Levy claims that our right to have firearms locked in our cars in a parking lot is not about the Second Amendment but about the mythical right of corporations to usurp the Constitution and ban guns. But Levy didn't pull it off because we can see the truth. And the price he's asking us to pay for permission to do business with an anti-gun corporation could mean losing our lives - and that price is as clear as the sky is blue.

The Legislature passed, and Gov. Charlie Crist signed, a law to preserve the self-defense rights of law-abiding men and women in public parking lots. It reaffirms existing rights that have been jeopardized by politically motivated corporate policies.

Big business fought this measure, feigning corporate "private property rights" - a baseless argument considering that business consents to laws that limit property rights. Corporations must abide by civil rights laws, zoning laws, safety inspections and fire codes among others. Laws even dictate the number, size and placement of parking places and mandate space for shopping cart storage in publicly accessible parking lots.

Even Barry Richard, the attorney hired by the Florida Chamber to pitch its side, has acknowledged the truth. In a March 24, 2006, opinion paid for by the chamber, Richard honestly admitted, "The right to control one's property is not absolute. The state can regulate use of and access to property for the purpose of protecting the public health, safety and welfare. State statutes, for example, prohibit the possession of certain materials on private property that constitute a public nuisance or safety hazard ... or the exclusion from public accommodations based upon race, gender, handicap, religion or national origin."

Clearly, the state can - and did - act to protect the right of law-abiding citizens to protect themselves when traveling and in publicly accessible parking lots. It is definitely a safety issue, as a living person is clearly more important than an asphalt parking lot.

NRA believes in private property rights, but unlike citizens, corporations are discretionary creations of government. They come into existence through charters created by legislatures. Corporate interests don't override the constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens.

Shrill arguments for property rights or profits must not take precedence over the lives of hardworking men and women. An employer's political philosophy or contempt for firearms rights does not trump a law-abiding person's fundamental, right to self-protection.

My motivation in teasing my grandchildren was simply to teach them to stand up for what they can see with their own eyes and what they know is true. Although Levy may continue to claim it's not about the Second Amendment, that clearly doesn't make it true."

Marion P. Hammer is past president of the National Rifle Association and executive director of Unified Sportsmen of Florida.

And let the whining continue as businesses run frightened while awaiting the infamous blood in the streets.

Gainesville recently passed a law making it mandatory for all businesses employing more than two people and open to the public to install uni-sex toilet facilities so that trans-gender folks can have a bathroom of their own.

Hardly a peep out of the Chamber of Commerce because it wouldn't be politically correct to fight so costly an endeavor, and indeed some stores said they'd be forced to close up shop and move, but there wasn't much of an attempt to defeat the proposal before it became law.

Don't DARE fight the gays-lesbians-or stuck in the middle's.

But spit on the 2nd Amendment with impunity.

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