Legislature Shooting in the Dark on This One


Do you want the factual or the emotional arguments against what has become an unfortunate Indiana General Assembly tradition in recent years — consideration of legislation to allow guns to be brought into the workplace? The Senate actually passed such a bill in 2009 (by a 42-8 vote) and it returns this morning in the Senate Corrections, Criminal and Civil Matters Committee (in the form of SB 25).

Yes, individuals have a right to bear arms. But property owners certainly have the right — and obligation — to provide a safe workplace for their employees. The consequences are bad, often deadly, when guns and the workplace mix. Some of the facts that Chamber issue expert George Raymond will share in testimony:

  • October 2009 study by University of Pennsylvania researchers that shows people in possession of a firearm are almost 4.5 times more likely to be shot in an assault than people who are not in possession of a firearm. It cites a number of reasons why possessors of guns are in more, not less, danger.
  • A previous case study in North Carolina found that the "risk of a worker being killed at work was substantially higher in workplaces where employer policy allowed workers to keep guns … relative to those where all weapons were prohibited."
  • Texas, known for its straight and not-so-straight shooters, became one of the most recent states to "just say no" in 2009, rejecting bills that would have allowed guns in college classrooms and in cars in company parking lots.

If emotion is more your flavor, how about:

  • Last week’s St. Louis manufacturing company shooting that resulted in four deaths and five people being wounded.
  • The 2008 Henderson, Kentucky tragedy in which a disciplined worker retrieved a pistol from his car and proceeded to kill five people before shooting himself.
  • Two Northern Indiana incidents within four months of each other (in Goshen and South Bend in 2001 and 2002, which resulted in seven deaths and others being wounded).

Really, guns in the workplace? The goal should be to help Indiana companies and their employees prosper, not unnecessarily put them in the line of fire.

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