Skip to comments.Denver court of appeals upholds gun ruling
Posted on 02/20/2006 11:38:25 AM PST by neverdem
A federal appeals court in Denver ruled it was legal for an Oklahoma company to fire workers who violated company policy by having guns in their vehicle on the plant parking lot.
Eight former Weyerhaeuser workers sued the company after they were fired in 2002 from the companys paper mill in Valliant in southeastern Oklahoma.
Their firings prompted legislators in 2004 to enact a law that would make it much harder for property owners and employers to ban guns from their property.
State law in effect at the time of the firings permitted property owners and employers to control the possession of weapons on their property.
Mondays ruling upheld a decision last March by U.S. Magistrate Kimberly West in Muskogee.
The company did not unlawfully infringe upon any right of plaintiffs in enforcing its no-firearms policy, the judges of the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals wrote in Mondays 20-page decision.
The workers contended, among other things, plant security officers violated their federal constitutional right against unreasonable searches and seizures by telling them they would be fired if they did not permit a search of their vehicles. The former employees also contended the law violated their right under the Oklahoma Constitution to keep guns.
The appellate judges disagreed, quoting the state Constitution: Nothing herein contained shall prevent the Legislature from regulating the carrying of weapons.
The law was an example of the kind of reasonable regulation of firearms that was permitted by the state Constitution, the Legislature and the Oklahoma courts, the judges wrote.
Employers have an interest in controlling their property as well as in the safety of the workplace and citizens have the right to bear arms subject to lawful regulation of that right, Garfield County District Attorney Cathy Stocker said.
She said those two interests can sometimes conflict.
They did in 2002 when the workers ... were fired for violating what was found to be a lawful policy of their employer under the law at the time that allowed property owners and employers to control possession of weapons on their property, Stocker said.
Now the law has been changed and those conflicting interests have prompted a challenge to the new statute, this time by employers asserting their interests.
Brian Hayden, vice president of Advance Food Co., said his company has a gun policy similar to Weyerhaeusers.
We do have a policy that prevents that, Hayden said of employees having guns on company property. Weve had that policy at least 10 years, and we have not had any problems with it.
Hayden said weve all heard stories about violence in the workplace and thats why we have policies about guns.
Enid News & Eagle reporter Cass Rains contributed to this story.
I guess he's never heard of people hurt or killed because they couldn't defend themselves.
Yes very interesting since the "car" is not the property of the company but of the worker.
So its safe to say that a company will have no problem being sued by the family of an employee killed by someone on the company's property who could have defended him/her self from such attack?
How many such policies have actually prevented violence?
This is all about creating a stigma.
The issue should be whether one can remove it from the car while on another's property.
The Second Amendment...
America's Only Homeland Security!
Be Ever Vigilant!
How is a hunter to go hunting after work?
That happens already. People have been assaulted in store parking lots and have sued the store for inadequate security.
Are you saying that if the person was carrying a weapon and was assaulted before they could use it, they couldn't sue because the store/employer gave them the opportunity to defend themselves? Interesting.
SC case law has previously said an RV can be considered an abode. maybe they should all drive RV's full of guns to the company lot.
Why should the owners care when they just fear the cost of insurance and potential liabilty?
When are people going to learn that the Constitution controls the actions of the government with respect to the citizens, not the actions of an employer with respect to its employees?
The federal government does not let much on their facilities either.
"The federal government does not let much on their facilities either."
I have worked at numerous Federal facilities. At none of those was I allowed to bring fire-arms on the premisis. As a matter of fact, I am betting that employers who DO allow firearms on the premisis are in the significant minority.
He who own the land, calls the shots.
Yes, the land is *owned* by the company owner just the same as the land around my house is *owned* by my wife and I. I want my property rights protected to the point where I have control over who shall come onto my property and I want control over what that person may or may not be permitted to bring onto my property.
I do believe all property owners should have the authority to control their private property.
The reason why I placed *'s before and after the word "owned" is that I don't want anyone to think I am ignorant about non payment of taxes and foreclosure laws which can result in the sale of private property. That is another issue entirely.
If your employer doesn't want to permit you to bring your personal weapons onto their private property then quit and find another job somewhere else. That is what I would do. The other option is to carry concealed and deal with the results of being discovered later.
"If your employer doesn't want to permit you to bring your personal weapons onto their private property then quit and find another job somewhere else. That is what I would do. The other option is to carry concealed and deal with the results of being discovered later."
In a nutshell.
Is there any reason those same employees shouldn't have presumed that their contract to work for that company included what had become precedent? If they had come to work every day for the last year or more, and if they had had firearms in their vehicles before, why would they be in the wrong for presuming they couldn't continue to follow that policy?
And then there's the privacy issue. More or less related to the above, and to the presumption that we have a natural right to privacy, why should their jobs be subject to loss simply because a company decided that morning to change what had been the norm?
Idiots. The fired employees were not CARRYING weapons. The weapons were stored in their vehicles.
If a judge can't figure this out, he's a lying liar and needs to be removed now.
This is a property rights issue according to the courts. And property rights seem to trump personal liberty in this case.
Interesting how that works. The property rights of the property owner are sacrosanct when the issue is banning guns. Now I wonder if those property rights would be quite as sacrosanct were the local government trying to condemn the real estate in question?
I think we all know the answer.
Many companies will hire security personnel, who are charged with protecting company property and employees' and still refuse to allow security to carry a weapon.
Did some security work after retiring and anyone who would take the job under those rules have to be nuts.
Try hiring only white Christians at your company. Or try paying 50¢ an hour for sewing socks. See how fast the government swoops down on you to enforce the favored government policy.
Government picks and chooses which rights it decides to enforce on private property. It's all quite arbitrary, depending on the PC flavor of the month.
I would have told my attorney to pursue the angle that armed employees contribute to public safety.
Knew a bank security guard once, company made him wear a fake revolver. First robbery, thugs shot him five times as they came through the door, took his "gun", robbed bank, threw the gun back through the front window when they found it was fake. He lived about ten minutes.
Yep, this is a political agenda decision and has nothing to do with the Constitution. If it did, employers would be firing young women who would not submit to strip searches to find any small handguns. (Except in San Fransicko, where it would be young men)
That wouldn't be against the Constitution either. Against various statutes, maybe, but not against the Constitution.
but not against the Constitution
Didn't say "against".
Beautifully said, B4R!
Its strangely providential that you would ping this to me today.
One of my dearest friends here in town is an older fellow who used to serve as our townships zoning officer. When he worked in the municipal building with me, we would often drop into each others office and discuss the (generally sorry) state of the world. Bob is a genuine conservative, extremely well informed, and loves his country. He walks with a decided limp, having been badly injured in the Battle of the Bulge. And, at eighty years old, he is still an avid hunter, physically active, and continues to have a magnificent mind.
Since he retired a few years ago, he will call me maybe once a month and well go out to lunch, or hell just stop in at my office to compare notes. This afternoon he stopped by my office to discuss just this case.
Long story short, Bob does not agree with me (or you) on this issue. That fact became apparent shortly after we began discussing the Oklahoma case.
When I found myself (for the very first time in our long friendship) becoming frustrated with his inability to see my point of view, I called up a couple of posts (1 and 2) that I wrote here on FR a week or so ago. He read them both, expressed appreciation for my point of view, but could not bring himself to agree with it. His allegiance to his Second Amendment RKBA appears to trump his belief in the sanctity of personal property rights.
After respectfully but strenuously arguing our points, we almost simultaneously realized that we were not going to enjoy a meeting of the minds for the very first time and we sat there in complete silence for what must have been a good thirty seconds. After which he sort of hung his head and said (precisely what I said to someone on the FR thread last week), Joanie, it looks like were going to have to agree to disagree.
Ive been glum ever since. I enjoy (sometimes even relish) locking horns with friends and neighbors of the liberal bent. But it is actually painful to disagree with someone who understands, and reveres, every bit as much as I the seeds from which our republic emerged.
What I managed to re-learn today is something that we conservatives need to keep close to our hearts: There are some (even vital) issues about which we may disagree, but our big picture mutual allegiance must remain uncompromised. Reagans eleventh commandment becomes more relevant with the passage of time and the coincidental increase in self-serving treason and pathological duplicity of our ideological enemies.
Because society changes as do business conditions. A private business has the right to change its business practices, does it not? Union contracts do not go on forever without changes.
I would be interested to know what parts of your FR posts he took issue with. That's not to say that he doesn't probably have strong opinions of his own, but I read yours and Jeff Heads posts on that thread and even though I wasn't sure where I stood before then, both of your arguments brought me over to the employer's side.
Good post, Joanie.
As I've posted before, the key to changing policies would be to make it so that anti-gun policies increase liability exposure.
That is really tragic. In that particular case it probably wouldn't have saved him even if he had a real weapon instead of the fake he was made to wear.
My observation during the time I spent doing security work is that most guards don't take their job serious enough or are improperly trained. Being a security guard anywhere is or can become deadly in a moment. It is a mentally exhausting job because one must never let themselves be distracted or unaware of everything that is going on around them. To do so can get you killed.
I worked as a private contractor when doing security work. Would not take a job where I was not permitted to carry a weapon. Most of the time I was hired because some disgruntled employee had threatened to blow place up or kill a bunch of people. Would never work for any company who had complete control over how I did my job. One manager tried that on me and I told him to fire me and I would recommend where he could purchase a weapon and provide his own security.
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.
So, state constitutions now out weight the US Constitution?
Not trying to change the subject here, but that right was done away with as states imposed smoking bans. Once they can regulate what you may allow others, or yourself to do on your property, you no longer have any "private property rights."
And the privacy issue hasn't been addressed much in this thread. Are the employees' vehicles used for company business? Aren't they collectively parked in a lot for the day and then used to leave? Assuming we do have a right to keep and bear arms, and assuming we have a modicum of privacy, it is unbelievable to me that this company would pursue this policy. How many vehicles were searched? Do they owe it to their shareholders to engage in this kind of police activity--given that the vehicles aren't used for company business, that the vehicles are only held in a pen while the workers work, and given the location of this employer, do they really want the people who work for them, who have worked for them for years, faithfully and honestly, to they want to be perceived in this light?
I hope we haven't heard the last of it.
Actally that right was done away with as states imposed property taxes.
Was the search limited to guns? Does company policy forbid other articles in employee vehicles? Civil rights legislation doesn't recognize gun owners as a protected class, but I hazard that the 2nd A does protect them as a class. Were all vehicles searched? If not, then gun owners were singled out and they have legal standing as a protected class based on the SA and the company is guilty of intentional disparate-treatment discrimination. Assuming this was the first time a search was conducted, a search that violated employees' rights to due process by not giving them an opportunity to correct their offense was the search also conducted during a scheduled hunting season? If so, why?
There have been laws enacted regulating this behavior for employers. The Constitution doesn't do it.
Very true. But also irrelevant to this post. I never claimed that the Constitution grants rights.
This is completely off the point. None of those actions are covered by the Constitution either. They are governed by specific laws, enacted for that purpose.
Try suing an employer for paying below minimum wage based on a provision in the Constitution. See how far that gets you.
If we knew everything there is to know about this case, you could stop asking me the questions, huh? Just maybe they need to rewrite or eliminate all the other laws that protect job rights.
No argument there.
Go look at them again, closely. The 14th and 15th say "The States shall...", etc.. The Constitution is to control and limit the State and Federal governments.
The 13th resulted in the States enacting laws (to govern the citizens) against slavery.