by Max Brantley
The House today passed, 69-16,.Rep. John Catlett's bill to allow people to take a gun onto their employers' parking lots if left in a locked car. Rep. Butch Wilkins asked if Catlett believed a private property owner's right to keep guns off his or her property should be overridden. In the case of the parking lot, said Catlett, yes.
Rep. Stephen Meeks of Greenbrier spoke against the bill because it trumped private property rights. Rep. Charlie Collins of Fayetteville argued that the property rights of the car owner should be superior to the person owning the property beneath the car. Otherwise, he said, by way of example, a property owner could make someone take a pair of fuzzy dice out of a car. Rep. John Burris said legislators could keep guns in cars on the Capitol grounds and all people should have equal rights on the job.
Rep. Keith Ingram told a story of the driver of a truck for his concrete business who retrieved a gun from his car and caused a 10-hour standoff with police. "I cannnot tell you harrowing that was," Ingram said.
Catlett said he'd amend the bill in the Senate to hold property owners harmless from lawsuit should guns in a parking lot be used to cause damage.