Concerns about safety and liability undoubtedly prompt some property owners to ban storing guns in cars parked on their property. But that does not justify using the right to bear arms as a means to limit private property rights. Recently introduced legislation in Arizona threatens to do just that.
Arizona House Bill 2474 would protect the right to carry, transport and store weapons on private property--effectively trumping the owner's property rights. Advocates of limited government should avoid creating a conflict between property rights and gun rights. Bills like this lead down a slippery slope. Forcing private property owners to abide behavior that we like provides the basis to force them to abide behavior we abhor.
The Founders regarded property rights as the foundation of all individual rights--including gun rights. Rather than permitting gun owners to invade private property, the law should recognize that individual rights entail individual responsibility. The best solution would hold property owners accountable when their anti-gun policies contribute to criminal acts that could have been prevented by lawfully armed citizens.
Nick Dranias holds the Goldwater Institute Clarence J. and Katherine P. Duncan chair for constitutional government and is the director of the Institute's Dorothy D. and Joseph A. Moller Center for Constitutional Government.
Arizona Legislature: HB 2474