Thursday, December 8, 2016

Ohio set to elevate gun ownership to a protected employment class #TerribleIdea

How do you get conservative lawmakers to agree to add a protected class to an employment discrimination law? Focus on protecting on gun ownership, apparently.

Believe it or not, the right to conceal carry is about to join race, sex, age, religion, national origin, and disability as a class against which employers cannot discriminate against their employees. Really. I’m not making this up. Senate Bill 199 and Sub. House Bill 48 would make it illegal for an employer to fire, refuse to hire or discriminate against someone who has a concealed-carry permit and keeps a gun within a vehicle that may be parked on the employer’s property.

The Columbus Dispatch has the details:
Gun-rights advocates are backing the proposal, added Tuesday to a military concealed-carry bill, that would essentially elevate concealed-carry permit holders who keep guns locked in their vehicles to the same level as race, gender, age or religious protections under the Ohio Civil Rights Act. 
But business groups including the Ohio Chamber of Commerce and the Ohio Council of Retail Merchants are strongly opposing the bill, arguing it creates new liabilities and increased uncertainty for business owners who should be able to regulate their private property as they see fit.
Specifically, the bill would redefine R.C. 4112.02 to include as an “unlawful discriminatory practice”
For any employer, to discharge without just cause, to refuse to hire, or otherwise to discriminate against a person who holds a valid concealed handgun license with respect to hire, tenure, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, or any matter directly or indirectly related to employment, because the licensee possessed a firearm within the person’s private real property or within a motor vehicle not owned or controlled by the employer, regardless of whether the motor vehicle is located on the employer’s real property and, if the motor vehicle is located on the employer’s real property, regardless of the location of the motor vehicle on the employer’s real property.
Besides business groups, do you know who else is livid about this legislation? The LGBT community. The Dispatch quotes State Rep. Nickie Antonio, an openly gay lawmaker, who correctly questions, “So someone with a license to carry a gun would have more protections in employment than anybody in the LGBT community? Does that just mean we need to arm the LGBT community? How pathetic is that?”

Who is not upset about this legislation? The NRA. (Were you expecting a different answer?)
Without the use of a firearms to protect oneself, an individual is left at the mercy of law enforcement who often arrive after a violent crime has occurred. Law enforcement response times vary depending on location and circumstances, but response times do not matter when individuals become victims of violent crime. Courts have even ruled that law enforcement officers are there to enforce the law and are under no obligation to defend individuals. 
The ultimate goal of Sub. HB 48 is to close current loopholes in the concealed carry regulations and ensure that law-abiding citizens are able to exercise their Second Amendment rights.
We do not need our workforces serving as armed militias at work. And we certainly do not need them to receive the same legal protections and remedies as someone discriminated against based on race, sex, et al. It just doesn’t make sense, especially in today’s era of gun violence and mass shootings.

Do you want your employees armed? Do you want them to have easy access to guns right outside your company’s front (or worse, back) door? If you are upset about the elevation of concealed carry as a protected class, and want to maintain your ability to protect your rights and ban firearms on your business’s property, call your state legislators today (Senate / House), and urge them to vote against Senate Bill 199 and Sub. House Bill 48.