Jottings By An Employer's Lawyer

Monday, November 29, 2004

Who's Packing in the Car?

May become a relevant question for employers in Oklahoma depending on a challenge to HB 2212, enacted last session by the Oklahoma legislature and supposed to become effective on November 1, 2004. The statute added the following provision to Oklahoma's concealed gun law:
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.
Employers with policies prohibiting possession of guns on their premises have sued in federal court and the enforcement of the act has been temporarily restrained by U.S. District Judge Sven Erik Holmes, the Chief Judge of the Northern District of Oklahoma in Tulsa.

Whirlpool initiated the litigation, but other major Oklahoma employers such as Williams Co. and Phillips 66 have now joined according to this AP story in the Bartletsville Examiner.

Although as a loyal Texas Longhorn who hates to given any cover for Sooners of almost any variety, this legislation did not just arise out of thin air. Instead as discussed in a Wall Street Journal article it came after 12 Weyerhauser employees were terminated following a 'raid' by the company a little over a year ago.

One blogger, Joe Kelley, who sees some the competing issues, offers his own temporary solution:
I’m a firm believer in the individual right to bear arms. I’m also a firm believer in the employers rights to set policy as it pertains to their employees. While I support their right to do so, I believe that Whirlpool is setting a ridiculous policy against guns in locked cars. Anyone intent on killing fellow employees will certainly not care about breaking insignificant company gun policy. A “No Guns” sign will not deter someone intent on murder.The only real short term solution to this problem is for gun-toting Whirlpool employees to park off-site and walk a little further to work.
It will be interesting to see how this "red state" resolves this issue.

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