Saturday, December 18, 2004

Oklahoma Legislators Get It Right

In Oklahoma, HB2122 passed and was signed by the Governor.

This new law allows Permit/License holders to carry onto private parking lots their concealed firearm and store it in their locked vehicle. The Bill States, "No person, property owner, tenant, employer, or business entity shall be permitted to establish any policy or rule that has the effect of prohibiting any person, except a convicted felon, from transporting and storing firearms in a locked vehicle on any property set aside for any vehicle."

The law was enacted to prohibit the creation of a rule or policy that would not allow a person, except a convicted felon, from transporting and storing firearms in a locked vehicle on any property set aside for any vehicle. It makes complete sense and the law is both concise and well-written.

Full November 27th Story from NW Arkansasa News
Excerpts (emphasis mine):
VALLIANT, Okla. — In late summer of 2002, Steve Bastible put three bullets into a dying cow at his ranch, threw the emptied rifle behind the seat of his pickup and forgot about it.

A few weeks later, the rifle cost him his job of 23 years.

That Oct. 1, in a surprise search, Weyerhaeuser Co. sent gun-sniffing dogs into the parking lot of its Valliant paper mill. Bastible and 11 other workers were fired after guns were found in their vehicles. The timber company said the weapons violated a new company policy that extended a longtime workplace gun ban to the parking area. The fired workers said they knew nothing of the new rule.

Meanwhile, several of the paper-mill workers have filed wrongful discharge lawsuits against Weyerhaeuser and its subcontractors, which employed the workers. "This is a heck of an injustice that needs to be fixed," said their Tulsa lawyer, Larry Johnson.

The debate transcends partisan politics. Nearly 90 percent of voters in the county are registered Democrats, and yet 66 percent of county voters cast ballots for George Bush for president, in part because they viewed him as more pro-gun.

Ellis, a former mill worker, counters: "These are good, hardworking, tax-paying, law-abiding citizens. I just wish these big companies could understand that these people are not a threat to anybody."

Hearing of the case, the National Rifle Association referred the workers to Johnson, a longtime gun-rights advocate. Johnson contacted Ellis, and together they crafted what was to become the new law.

The law remains on hold as the legal dispute unfolds in court.

They sent gun-sniffing dogs in against their own employees. What complete jackasses.

Three points here....

(1) I'll do my best to never spend another dime on anything mfd. by Whirlpool or Weyerhaeuser (and I know Weyerhaeuser won't be easy) and I don't personally care that Whirlpool backed out.

(2) Despite the reasonable comments from pro-gun advocates that I have read recently, it simply doesn't change the facts. Employers don't own the cars. They need to understand staying the hell out of their employees personal lives. They have no business telling employees what they can or cannot have in their car as long as it's legal. If it's not legal and they have a reason to suspect its presence on company property then they can go ahead and report it to the police but making some intrusive workplace rule that extends far beyond what is really any of their business is simply not acceptable.

(3) This relates to #2 above. I've watched this issue for a short period of time and am just nauseated by the people who seem to have supported firearms rights in the past but now can't see beyond their own little declared fiefdoms to reognize that firearms rights do go beyond their limited speres of control - and damned well ought to.

Nobody has the right to tell me what I can or can't have in my car as long as it is legal. Nobody. Not my employer, not my spouse, not my kid, not anyone. Under the workplace rules even some so-called pro-gun business owners put forth, issuing me a paycheck allows:

Catholic employers can tell us no condoms in our purses.
Moslem employers can tell us no SlimJims hidden in our purses for a snack.
Christian employers can tell us no mezuzah or six-sided stars.
No bumper stickers supporting the opposing party during election cycles.
No anti/pro-gun bumper stickers.
No crosses worn as jewelry.
What else?
No employee may use birth control?
No employee may think impure thoughts?

Employers do not, by law, always have a choice what employees they hire, and I am not talking just about discriminatory practices (i.e. race, sex, etc.) in hiring. There are instances where an employer must meet certain other requirements.

Michigan State Law has some Criminal Enterprize Zones built into the Concealed Carry Law. However, they have also modified the law to make clear that parking lots are not part of the forbidden zone and firearms may be carried there. Any employer who cannot recognize that his or her employees are entitled to carry what they darned well please (within the confines of statute) in their motor vehicle are simply not thinking. Any employer who believes that he or she has the right to dictate to an employee on issues such as this has taken their God Complex to a new high. And anyone claiming to be Pro-Second Amendment that doesn't get "shall not be infringed" needs to go back and do some reading on the subject, starting with the Constitution and its authors' followup discussions and statements and moving right on to the recent Department of Justice's paper that declares "The Second Amendment secures a right of individuals generally, not a right of States or a right restricted to persons serving in militias."

Frankly, I don't buy the idea that an employer has absolute power over employees. This isn't just a private property issue. One doesn't lose one's rights to an employer just because that employer give one a job. In some cases, even as the God-Like power some of the selectively pro-gun business owners I know appear to be claiming the employer has the right to be, that kind of behavior could get your butts slapped in jail.I count some of these folks my friends but cannot grasp how they can believe that their rights override Constitutional Law. The claim is that it's their property and our State is an "At Will" employment state so they can make any rule they choose.

Rule #1 - Employee must not carry any firearms onto company property, even safely locked inside the employee's motor vehicle.
Rule #2 - Employee must endeavor to circumvent federal import-export laws as periodically required by the employer.
Rule #3 - Employees deemed to have full, ripe lips shall, as periodically required by employer, kneel and perform fellatio.

You can see how stupid this claim to total employer autonomy is.

I hope we do see this OK law resolved soon, and I also hope we can see it (or something like it) here in Michigan.

I also hope more pro-gun advocates will be able to one day see firearms rights as the Constitutional issue it is, rather than isolating this or that part of firearms rights according to their particular acceptance level.

"A well-regulated Militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed."

'Nuff said.