On parking lot bills, and why they’re important

Hecate gives a good illustration of why the controversial “parking lot bills” – bills preventing employers from banning employees from keeping firearms secured in their vehicle – are something we need to pay attention to, and why they’re important. Unfortunately, she’s stuck as the object of the illustration.

Now that I’m gimping around on a bum knee, my defense toolbox is significantly smaller. Many options such as good old Nike-fu (running away) are off the table entirely, and a lot of my empty-hand skills are seriously compromised. That means I’m more dependent on tool use.

Unfortunately, my new employer is so politically correct it hurts. On my first day, during the HR orientation spiel, I was warned that even pocket multitools are considered dangerous weapons and will earn equivalent disciplinary action. All company property and anything on it is subject to search at any time. And their posted criminal-empowerment zones include the employee parking garage.

Under state law, leaving a gun locked in a car in a posted parking area is not a violation as long as the gun does not leave the vehicle. State law does not, however, prohibit an employer from taking disciplinary action against an employee for violating their so-called safety policy. That means my new employer is rendering me helpless not only at work but also on the drives to and from, and for any other stops I might make during those drives.

Now, the usual response to this situation by many is generally along the lines of “they own the property, they have the right to ban guns if they want” and “if you don’t like it, go work somewhere else, they’re not forcing you to work for them.” But as I’ve said before, you don’t always have a choice about who you work for – and that’s even more true in today’s economy. You have to eat, pay your rent/mortgage, pay your utility bills, etc. In Hecate’s case:

Having been unemployed twice in the last less-than-a-year, I have a whole new appreciation for having a job in an at-will world. This last time I was job-hunting was right after Obamacare passed, and prospective employers were asking me wholly inappropriate questions about my health in view of my age, whether I was on any prescription drugs, et cetera. If I lose this job, finding another will only get harder.

Most people can’t just quit their jobs because they disagree with an employer’s policy – even if that policy puts them in physical danger. The company doesn’t keep anyone from leaving, but a person’s circumstances can. The very nature of Hecate’s job, especially combined with her employer’s location, leave her in a bad position.

Being a professional geek involves working maintenance windows and callouts in the middle of the night. Where I work now is very near an area heavily frequented by the non-harmless variety of homeless people. It is the height of arrogant-liberal fingers-in-their-ears-la-la-la denial for this company to render me helpless from the moment I leave my house to the moment I return. Disarmed is not safe.
Yes, I’m looking into alternate parking arrangements. Other nearby garages are expensive and currently have waiting lists. Parking at a meter on the street is not an option.
Not looking like food is a big part of avoiding predators. That’s a lot harder now that I’m temporarily mobility-impaired. I can’t walk as fast or move with the same confidence and fluidity as before. That makes me look like prey, and I absolutely hate it. [emphasis mine]
That is another thing I’ve said, and what makes these parking-lot bills necessary in my mind. These parking lot bans don’t just affect the employee at work, they also leave the person disarmed from the moment they walk out their front door to the moment they walk back in. Poorly lit and unguarded parking lot? Tough. Have to drive through a bad neighborhood with lots of stoplights to get to work? Too bad. Want to stop at the grocery store after work? You’ll have to do it unarmed. Home invaders waiting to ambush you as you get home? Sorry, your gun is in the safe because you couldn’t take it with you.
Hecate does have a last resort solution in mind while she looks for a better one.
And if anything happens that I can’t handle with only a flashlight on a keychain, I will do my damnedest to sue them into bankruptcy for putting me in that position.
I hope it doesn’t come to that. I don’t want anything to happen to a good person like  her.
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