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An offer for Louisville Metro area residents.

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October 12, 2007

Judge Nixes Oklahoma's Guns-in-Locked-Cars Law

(More judicial and regulatory interference with the Second Amendment.)

By Susan Jones Senior Editor
October 10, 2007
( - A federal judge in Tulsa has blocked an Oklahoma law allowing employees to keep guns in their locked cars on company property.
In a written order issued last Thursday, U.S. District Judge Terence Kern issued a permanent injunction against the law that was passed in 2004.
According to the Tulsa World, Kern said the law (a series of amendments to the Oklahoma Firearms Act and the Oklahoma Self-Defense Act) conflicted with the federal Occupational Health and Safety Act, which is intended to protect employees in the workplace.
Parties to the federal lawsuit included (at various times) Whirlpool, the Williams Cos., and Conoco Phillips, all of which objected to the Oklahoma law on the grounds that it violated their private property rights -- and interfered with corporate policies intended to protect workers.
According to the National Rifle Association, the issue arose in 2002 in Oklahoma, when the Weyerhaeuser company fired eight employees for having guns in their cars on company property.
In response, the Oklahoma Legislature passed a law -- unanimously in the House and by a 92-4 vote in the Senate -- prohibiting "any policy or rule" that barring law-abiding people from "transporting and storing firearms in a locked vehicle on any property set aside for any vehicle."
Safety vs. self-defense
"The judge made the right decision in this case," said Paul Helmke, president of the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence. "The safety of American workplaces should take precedence over allowing individuals to rapidly arm themselves with dangerous weapons."
The Brady Center said similar laws should be repealed in other states, "based on Judge Kern's clear findings in this case." (Similar laws have been passed in Alaska, Minnesota, Kentucky and Kansas; 13 other states have rejected such laws.)
The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence issued a report in November 2005 arguing against "the NRA's campaign to force businesses to accept guns at work," and that report was cited prominently in the judge's decision last Thursday, the Brady Center said Wednesday in a news release.
The National Rifle Association supported the Oklahoma law, arguing that most gun-related crimes in the workplace are committed by non-employees. It also noted that people bent on violence will not be prevented from opening fire by a company policy against having guns in cars.
The Tulsa World last week quoted the Oklahoma bill's sponsor, Democratic State Rep Jerry Ellis, as saying that Judge Kern's ruling will do nothing to protect workers, but will erode employees' self-defense capabilities.
Ellis said the judge's decision increases the chances that a disgruntled person will be able to kill a lot of people at their workplace before police can respond to a 911 call.
"I guess federal judges can do anything they want. They don't have to worry about the voters," the newspaper quoted Ellis as saying.

It seems Judge Kern could use a remedial course in Constitutional law. Which came first, the Constitution or OSHA?

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