A Tulsa federal judge’s ruling that held Oklahoma’s law restricting employers’ right to ban guns in the workplace should be upheld, challengers to the law have told the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, according to theJournal Record.
ConocoPhillips and several other businesses that filed suit against the law have been joined by the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence and two safety groups â€” the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) and ASIS International, a corporate and government security group.
“Employers, and the professionals who assist them, take seriously their responsibility to keep workplaces safe, which is why nearly 90 percent of them have policies against weapons in the workplace,” said Brady Center President Paul Helmke. “To turn business owners into criminals, as the Oklahoma law tried to do, for protecting their employees and customers from workplace violence, was just wrong in addition to being unconstitutional.”
In October, U.S. District Judge Terence Kern handed down a permanent injunction, saying that the Oklahoma statute conflicts with federal worker safety laws.
The law was scheduled to go into effect in 2004, with additional amendments enacted in 2005.
In their brief, the employer-plaintiffs said that Kern was right to hold that the state statute conflicts with the OSHA law.
“The district court correctly held that under the doctrine of obstacle conflict preemption, the OSH Act preempts the amendments and dictates they should be enjoined as to appellees,” the companies told the appellate court.
They also said that law enforcement evidence at trial demonstrated that workplaces where no firearms are present are safer than establishments where guns are present, “particularly given the increased potential for workplace violence when firearms are present.”
The Oklahoma law would adversely affect worker safety, they told the court.
ASSE joins fight over workplace gun-banning (2/29)
February 29, 2008