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The scenario here is you ask your employer if you can carry a concealed firearm on their property and maintain concealment while on premises. Your employer responds that you are not allowed under any terms to bring a firearm on to their property. If you decide to ignore your employer's wishes and carry concealed anyways are you acting unethically? Additionally are you violating your employers property rights?

Dr. Peikoff addressed a related issue in his April 26th, 2010 podcast (00m:56s-02:31s) where he claims that you are ethically obligated to disclose that you are carrying a concealed firearm as a guest in someones home. His justification is that the property owner has a right to know what risks you are bringing onto his property and firearms have known risks. He also addresses the reverse, the property owner should disclose to guests known risks already present on his/her property. This ethical obligation seems to imply that you should disclose to your employer in the above question that you are carrying in violation of their request at which point they will take whatever action is necessary to protect their property.

If Dr. Peikoff's reasoning is sound it seems to follow that concealed carry becomes almost impossible, especially in a society with extensive private property. On any given day in a busy city you would be required to locate the property owner or steward and divulge your firearm every time you entered a different business, home or park and potentially be in near constant state of turning away from any such place that prohibits it.

asked Dec 16 '15 at 15:11

CarGuy's gravatar image


edited Dec 16 '15 at 20:45

Greg%20Perkins's gravatar image

Greg Perkins ♦♦

I think without a doubt it is unethical to ask your employer if you can carry a concealed weapon and then to secretly carry a concealed weapon anyway after your employer tells you no. It is dishonest. If you have a disagreement with your employer you should meet it head-on, not ask what to do and then secretly ignore your employer's wishes.

As far as whether or not it's a violation of property rights, and specifically Peikoff's answer, I don't know about that. Peikoff apparently says that "firearms have known risks" and frankly, I'm not sure what he's referring to. What is the known risk?

(Dec 16 '15 at 23:06) anthony anthony's gravatar image

Also, I don't think that concealed carry would become almost impossible, because most places like businesses and parks and the like would have clear rules which are easy to find. If you really think carrying a concealed weapon is so important, I'm sure you'll be able to find some parts of the country where a sufficient number of people agree with you that you can lead a somewhat normal life.

But with that said, even if concealed carry did become almost impossible, I don't see how that has any bearing on the question of property rights.

(Dec 16 '15 at 23:15) anthony anthony's gravatar image

One thing I think all Objectivists can agree on is that if a property owner catches you carrying concealed and tells you to leave the property, not doing so violates the property owners rights.

I think there's more nuance when it comes to the question of whether or not you have to volunteer the fact that you're carrying concealed or ask for special permission. But really, I want to know what these "known risks" are.

How often is someone innocent injured when a person carries a concealed weapon onto a property and does nothing wrong other than entering that property? Seems very rare at best.

(Dec 16 '15 at 23:28) anthony anthony's gravatar image
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The question starts out with a context of carrying a concealed firearm onto property where the property owner has expressed a clear request not to do so. The first paragraph of the question begins even more narrowly, referring to a business enterprise and an employee. The title form of the question generalizes this to any property, but preserves the element of the property owner's request prohibiting concealed firearms on his property.

So far, so good. The gun toter is acting unethically by showing blatant disregard for the rights of the property owner. Respect for other people's property is something that little children normally learn (or ought to learn) at a very young age, even before they are fully walking with their arms and hands freed up from the task of locomotion to be able to grab and hold all sorts of things that don't necessarily belong to them. Explicitly principled understanding of property rights comes a little later, of course, as the child's conceptual faculty and verbal capacity develop further.

The second and third paragraphs of the question describe a 4/26/2010 podcast discussion by Leonard Peikoff that pertains to a "related issue." The "relation" is that Dr. Peikoff's discussion pertains to concealed firearms. The question then infers some generalizations that seem applicable to the original context of the question. This approach uses what I would call "association by non-essentials" to justify context-dropping. For example:

This ethical obligation [to refrain from carrying a concealed firearm on an employer's property] seems to imply that you should disclose to your employer in the above question that you are carrying in violation of their request at which point they will take whatever action is necessary to protect their property [starting with requesting you to leave forthwith].

This formulation ignores the context of Dr. Peikoff's discussion, which pertains to a case where the property owner may not have expressed a specific request for guests to refrain from carrying firearms, but where the reasonable expectation would be that it is not appropriate under the circumstances, unless the property owner knows about it and agrees to it. In other words, there is an explicit denial of consent in the first context, but only reasonable customs and expectations in the second context. In the American Wild West 200 or more years ago, the reasonable customs and expectations may well have been quite different. One needs to hold the full context and take it into consideration. (Appreciation of context tends to be downplayed in importance in today's D1 cultural state in America, for the same reasons that fundamentals like reason, objectivity, cognitive integration, and even the idea of reality itself, especially objective reality, have come to be so frequently sneered at by professors and other intellectuals in the Platonic-Kantian tradition.)

...it seems to follow that concealed carry becomes almost impossible, especially in a society with extensive private property.

This actually follows far more directly and fundamentally from the need to place the retaliatory use of physical force under objective control. In a free society, most retaliatory use of physical force is delegated to the government; individuals do not take retaliatory physical force into their own hands, except under the most extreme, urgent emergency situations, highly delimited in scope and closely monitored by the free society's police forces. The "right to keep and bear arms" does not include any sort of absolute, unconditional right to carry concealed firearms, nor does it include (in a free society with a proper government) an unconditional right to carry non-concealed firearms. Where firearms are concerned, man's proper rights in regard to them is always governed by the context of why rational, productive members of a free society would need them.

Some observers describe a context of an oppressive government which the people have a right to overthrow. Indeed, the very Declaration of Independence of America describes exactly such situations. From an ethical standpoint, there certainly can be a moral right to take up arms in self-defense against an improper government. But that is not the context of a free society having a proper government, and it is not a context that represents the main focus of Objectivist ethical-political philosophy. (For further indication of the Objectivist view of an emergency context, refer to "Emergencies" in The Ayn Rand Lexicon.)

answered Dec 18 '15 at 00:34

Ideas%20for%20Life's gravatar image

Ideas for Life ♦

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Asked: Dec 16 '15 at 15:11

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Last updated: Dec 18 '15 at 00:34