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An Ethical Analysis of the Second Amendment: The Right to Pack Heat at Work

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Abstract

We examine the issues concerning the legality and ethicality of the Second Amendment right to bear arms balanced by the employer's duty to provide a safe workplace for its employees. Two court rulings highlight this balancing act: McDonald et al. v. City of Chicago et al. and District of Columbia v. Heller. “Stand Your Ground” and “Castle Doctrine” laws in the recent Trayvon Martin shooting on February 26, 2012 are also applicable. Various ethical frameworks examine the firearms debate by viewing the Second Amendment from three perspectives. These include a pro-gun perspective drawing upon libertarianism and fundamental rights; a moderate gun perspective drawing upon consequentialism and stakeholder theory; and finally, an anti-gun perspective drawing upon a Public Health Ethics and peace ethics approach. We explore the issue of gun control from a business perspective as employers face ethical decisions in responding to legislation that allows guns in the workplace and/or in employer parking lots while still being responsible to provide a safe workplace for their employees. We make recommendations regarding how companies should manage by proactively avoiding legal challenges to employees' rights to own and carry guns into the workplace. This includes emphasis on enhanced security, Human Resource policies and monitoring rapidly changing laws.

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