By PAUL DAVENPORT , 05.04.09, 04:57 PM EDT
A bill being considered by Arizona legislators is seen as pitting gun owners' Second Amendment rights against the private property rights of businesses and others.
Backed by the National Rifle Association, the bill would permit gun owners to keep legally owned weapons in their locked, privately owned vehicles while they're parked in parking lots, garages or other parking areas of private property where the owner has a policy against allowing guns on the property.
Republican lawmaker sponsoring the bill (HB2474) said it is intended to overturn bans that deprive employees and others of their Second Amendment rights.
"I was not aware that the Bill of Rights ends at private property," said Rep. John Kavanagh of Fountain Hills.
The bans mean employees "can't bring their legally possessed weapons with them to work, so that on the way to work and after work, they would not have access to their weapons for legal self-defense or recreational shooting if they want to go to a range," Kavanagh said. "Having a firearm hidden and locked in a car is not a safety threat."
Democratic leaders announced their opposition to the bill, which is expected to be considered by the House soon.
Overturning employers' weapons bans could set the stage for deadly workplace violence, said House Minority Leader David Lujan of Phoenix. "This bill allows incredibly easy access to a firearm."
Other Democratic leaders said the bill could compromise security at key facilities and that gun owners could and should find another place to park if a property chooses to ban guns.
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