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.
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.
Often a knife only gets sharpened on one side.
Because most people cut themselves with swords.
Yes, I agree. This has troubled me since it happened, as the guard was an acquaintance of mine at the bank (not personally). Had I known in advance, I would have advised him not to carry that fake even if it cost him his retirement job.
Perhaps. But so long as that agreement is voluntary, that is, so long as you are free to reject that requirement and seek employment elsewhere, then your rights have not been violated.
Look at another example: You have the God-given right of liberty; to go where you will. However, during your working hours, your employer can certainly require you to stay at the work place. Nobody cries "foul" because an employer won't let you go hiking in the woods for a few hours every day and keep your job. This is not a violation of an employee's rights, but rather a reasonable requirement of employment.
A door-to-door salesman has the right to sell his product. But I have the right, as a property owner, to deny that salesman access to my home. I haven't violated his rights, but restricted him from exercising those rights on my property. Similarly, a company has the right, as property owner, to limit who and what may come onto that property.
Citizens have the right to protest and demonstrate to express their opinion. But I don't have to allow a picketer onto my front lawn so he can exercise that right. Neither must a business owner allow picketers to march in the lobby of their building. Is this a violation of those protesters' freedom of speech?
Many employers effectively do. Policies requiring that both combatants be terminated are out there. You have the option of finding another employer.
Can I require that you sign a lifelong contract of servitude in order to keep a job?
You can try. I have the choice to sign it or not.
An inalienable right is not something that can be given or taken ... just exercised or oppressed.
Not true. By the due process of law, rights are taken from convicted felons every day. They regularly lose their 2nd Amendments rights as well as the right to vote.
By your logic, the government could outlaw firearms by passing a law or amending the constitution.
Indeed they could. "They" are, of course, us. The people have the option of changing the Constitution in any way the majority of them see fit. It doesn't make those changes correct, but they would be constitutional.
Our founders recognized the difference between rights and privileges.
True. One of those rights is the right of a private property owner to control access to that property. He may use any standard he pleases in exercising that right. A private citizen has the right to be a racist, a Nazi, a Satanist, a Muslim, a Christian, an Atheist or a Jew, and to apply his particular beliefs in control of his own property. He may be painfully, horrendously, obviously wrong, but he still has that right.
As morally wrong as it might be for an employer to deny access to those who would lawfully exercise their Second Amendment rights, he may do so, since the gun owner has the choice to simply not go on that property. In other words, you are in control of whether you are disarmed or not. Knowing that you will be disarmed by accepting employment with that business, the choice is yours to make. That employer hasn't forcefully denied you anything.
Those who would seek to deprive men of their rights are no friend to freedom.
Does that include man's right to the control of his private property?
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