Monday, November 24, 2008

Appeals court hears challenge to Oklamhoma gun ruling

From Denver, on Oklahoma's appeal of the ruling striking down the law allowing employees to keep guns in their vehicles in employer-owned parking lots:
DENVER — A lawyer who represents the National Rifle Association represented Oklahoma's governor and attorney general Wednesday in support of a controversial state gun-rights law.

The law requires employers to allow workers to have guns in locked vehicles where they work. It was struck down 13 months ago by U.S. District Judge Terence Kern in Tulsa.

In arguments Wednesday at the federal appeals court in Denver, lawyer Charles Cooper argued on behalf of Gov. Brad Henry and Attorney General Drew Edmondson that Kern was wrong.
Cooper contended that Kern wrongly concluded the federal Occupational Safety and Health Act pre-empts the state law.

He said OSHA is meant to require employers to maintain safe workplaces involving conditions over which employers have control.

"Employers have no control over random acts of violence that could occur anywhere," Cooper told a three-judge panel of the court.

Several employers, seeking to have the law struck down, sued the governor and attorney general after legislators passed the law in two stages in 2004 and 2005.

The law was passed in response to Weyerhauser Corp. firing eight workers at a timber mill in southeastern Oklahoma.

The workers had guns in their vehicles at the mill in violation of Weyerhauser policy.

Rep. Jerry Ellis, D-Valliant, a principal author of the gun-rights law, has said disgruntled workers who shoot people in the workplace are going to do so no matter what laws are enacted.

The appeals court, under its typical schedule, is likely to decide next year whether Kern was right to have issued a court order barring the state officials from enforcing the law.

The judges did not tip their hands Wednesday, but one of them, Bobby Baldock, said, "I've got a problem" with Kern's ruling that OSHA pre-empts the law.

Article here.

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