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DADDY WARBUCKS
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Loaded with stupid comments. Have gun, no raise, start shooting.

Where does a company's right to prohibit guns stop?
By Repps Hudson
Of the Post-Dispatch
12/06/2004
Post-Dispatch columnist Repps Hudson.

The fight over whether employees should have access to firearms at work seems destined for a tortuous journey through the courts.

Meanwhile, many companies have banned, even in parking lots, weapons owned by employees who have concealed weapons permits.

As one might expect, tempers can get hot over this issue.

As Dan Consalvo, security chief for State Farm Insurance's corporate office in Bloomington, Ill., put it, "People get intimidated even when other people talk about weapons at work."

Given the history of disgruntled employees shooting their bosses and co-workers, the position of Consalvo, incoming president of ASIS International, formerly the American Society for Industrial Security, is understandable:

"The potential for workplace violence is the big issue. People are stressed and pressured to the limit - work and family issues, including financial."

In short, what worries Consalvo, who's responsible for the safety of 16,000 workers at State Farm's headquarters and up to 6,000 visitors a day, is that an angry employee will turn to the weapon in his or her vehicle on a company parking lot.

The solution, as he sees it, is for companies to ban all firearms on their premises, including parking lots.

In Missouri, which has allowed gun owners to carry concealed weapons for a year, the situation regarding employees' vehicles in parking lots hasn't become a hot-button issue.

That situation could change, however, if a case in the federal courts is resolved in a way that blunts companies' authority to ban weapons on property they control.

So far, though, a check of several local companies shows they have banned firearms in parking lots and met virtually no complaints from their workers.

The situation also could change if the Missouri Legislature in its next session, starting in January, wanted to make an issue of requiring employers to allow employees to keep weapons in their parked vehicles while at work.

After all, the Legislature voted to allow concealed weapons four years after voters statewide turned down a similar proposal known as Proposition B.

Missouri law allows companies and all kinds of organizations to ban concealed weapons on their premises, including parking lots.

If the guns-in-vehicles issue were to arise, Greg Jeffery of north St. Louis County, legislative chairman of the Gateway Civil Liberties Alliance, believes companies and employees could find a middle ground: The companies allow guns in vehicles while employees are honor bound to tell the security chiefs.

But Henry Nocella, a security consultant in Howell, N.J., calls this apparent conflict of rights - to bear arms and to be safe in the workplace - one that should be settled in favor of safety for employees, including from other workers with firearms on company property.

"If I were an employer and looked at civil case law, I'd be very concerned about employees bringing weapons to work ... Unfortunately, there's a long history of violence in the workplace, and it's pretty scary. ... The civil courts have clearly determined that the employer has an obligation to provide a safe and secure workplace."

Jeffery asserted that a company that prohibits a gun owner with a concealed weapons permit from keeping a weapon in his or her car could be liable if that employee were attacked going to or from work.

The employee would be unable to use self-defense with a firearm because it is banned on the parking lot, he said.

Tim Oliver, a leading conceal-carry advocate from Boone County, said owners of parking lots have property rights that gun owners must respect. So far, he sees no reason to tinker with Missouri's law.

"It took us 13 years to pass the law we have now," he said. "We need to show that it's up and running. It's been in effect for a year, and there have been no shoot-outs and no bar fights" involving weapons carriers with permits.

Consider the situation in neighboring Oklahoma, where the Legislature passed a law to force companies to allow employees to have weapons in their vehicles on company parking lots.

That action, by the way, was triggered in 2002 when Weyerhaeuser Co. used trained dogs to find guns in employees' vehicles on company parking lots in violation of company policy. In rural Oklahoma, guns in vehicles are not unusual.

Large firms like Whirlpool Corp., ConocoPhillips and Williams Cos. filed suit in U.S. District Court to stop the state law from going into effect. The principle at issue could reverberate far beyond Oklahoma's borders. The companies' argument was the same as they applied to banning weapons in the workplace: Allowing employees to keep loaded weapons in their vehicles would increase the likelihood that someone, sometime, would turn trigger happy and wreak havoc.

Two weeks ago, U.S. District Judge Sven Erik Holmes extended his temporary restraining order banning the Oklahoma law from going into effect. The issue seems destined for appeal to higher federal courts.

Even the Oklahoma State Chamber of Commerce, which normally sides with the National Rifle Association, opposes the new state law.

"Things happen at work that make people mad. They don't get a raise," David Strecker, who represents the chamber, was quoted as saying in The Wall Street Journal. "If a gun is handy, someone might use it, and that's just something employers don't want to risk."

Since the Missouri Legislature a year ago approved a conceal-carry weapons law by one vote over Gov. Bob Holden's veto, signs prohibiting weapons on company premises and in public places have blossomed all over the state.

So where's a gun owner to stash his or her piece while working or conducting business where guns aren't allowed? Don't company rules banning firearms effectively nullify laws allowing certified owners to carry them?

These are some of the issues the courts eventually will resolve.

Oliver called the estimated 14,000 state residents who've gone through the background checks needed to be granted a permit to carry a concealed weapon "government-approved, background-checked good guys" who're unlikely to lose their cool in the workplace.

In contrast, Nocella, the New Jersey security consultant, said he'd counsel his clients to err well on the side of caution.

"The best course is for any employer to prohibit firearms on its property and wait for the courts to decide," he said.
 

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Mystic Knight of the Sea
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I'm as much of a supporter of the 2nd Amendment as anyone, but I think an owner of a business should have the right to controll what is and isn't allowed on his property.
 

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Custer said:
In short, what worries Consalvo, who's responsible for the safety of 16,000 workers at State Farm's headquarters and up to 6,000 visitors a day, is that an angry employee will turn to the weapon in his or her vehicle on a company parking lot.
If I worked in a real "fun" factory like this, I probably wouldn't want to have a gun handy either. I'd probably have to shoot myself. Damn, that is more fun than one person should be allowed to have.
 

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The only thing I'm wondering about, is where does it stop? I also respect the property owners right to control what takes place on their property. But who's property is the car? I also feel that it is a constitutional right to protect one's self going to and from work.

As I posted in another thread, one night I was picking my wife up from work when 3 guys surrounded my car when I stopped at a secluded intersection. The only way to leave was to run over one of them. One of them approached my window and I asked him what he wanted(through the glass of course). He didn't answer and just started laughing at me. I asked him to tell his friends to move and he laughed even harder. I then asked him to move again pointing my 9mm at him. It was then that they decided to run as fast as they could down over the hill.

Had my wife's place of work had such a policy, I might not be here to tell you this story.
 

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Gunco Irregular
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Most likely the person that goes nuts and shoots people at work will not be the law abiding CCW permit holder but someone that has an unreasonable problem with authority and blames his problems on everyone else. He will not be stopped by a rule about where he can or can't keep his gun but he may be stopped if the CCW holder has access to his gun.
 

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DADDY WARBUCKS
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I agree with you Pogo but I also struggle with the attitude that a law abiding citizen with a gun is the problem.

We all know the criminal or nut case will not abide by the rule.

I imagine there are exceptions, but it seems like every work place shooting I read about the employee (usually ex-employee) comes back with the gun.

I was in a tough business for a long time and only had two guns pulled on me at work. Both were over 20 years ago. I can only imagine how many times someone had a gun but I did not see it.

The only time I have had to draw and rack the slide was in a hotel room during a labor dispute when they were trying to come in the door. Happened in Indiana, by the way.
 

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aviator said:
Irresponsible people shouldn't have guns.
Agreed, but you'd be surprised how many folks who voted for Bush have them anyway.
 

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Agree with Pogo that it's the employer's call.

Agree with Custer that the attitude represented by such prohibitions is troubling. But still the employer's call.

And want to add that I cannot imagine in my wildest dream someone who is on his way to work with a small arsenal to engage in a little worplace carnage would be deterred much by a "no firearms" policy. What are they going to do, fire him after the bloodbath? Kinda silly; yet still the employers' call.
 

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I can agree with not allowing guns in the building, but the car is still your property.
 

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Mystic Knight of the Sea
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Custer said:
I agree with you Pogo but I also struggle with the attitude that a law abiding citizen with a gun is the problem.
I agree with that. It is BS. If you want to have a gun in your car, that's fine. But I should have the right to tell you not to park your car on my property if you have a gun in it. Keep in mind that wouldn't be my policy as an employer, but I don't like the government getting into the situation where it can tell employers how they must conduct their business or use their facilities. We have way too much government involvement in our lives now. Personally, if I had an employer with an anti gun attitude, I'd tell him to shove it. But, the government getting involved and forcing an employer to allow guns on his property is just the camel pushing his nose further under the edge of the tent.
 

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Code name: Felix
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Dzerzhinsky said:
Agreed, but you'd be surprised how many folks who voted for Bush have them anyway.
Do you truly believe that voting for Bush was the wrong thing to do?

Come on Smegovinsky, we had no real choice, did we?
 

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Preacher said:
I can agree with not allowing guns in the building, but the car is still your property.
And the parking lot is still your employer's property.

But I wonder how long it will be before it gets extended into off-the-premises. There is nothing to prevent an employer from requiring as a condition of employment that no employees own firearms. The Constitution protects us from the government, it does not protect us from private corporations, and it does not protect us from ourselves.
 

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aviator said:
...Come on Smegovinsky, we had no real choice, did we?
Aviator, I agree with you, but you may want to stop and consider just how sad those words of yours are. When do we get to have a meaningful election?

(At a less dismal level... Yeah, not much. A Republican I loathe versus a Democrat I distrust. Frankly I didn't care so much who won so much as I just wanted it to be an uncontested election.)
 

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Dzerzhinsky said:
And the parking lot is still your employer's property.

But I wonder how long it will be before it gets extended into off-the-premises. There is nothing to prevent an employer from requiring as a condition of employment that no employees own firearms. The Constitution protects us from the government, it does not protect us from private corporations, and it does not protect us from ourselves.
What if the employer tells you that he don't like the color of carpeting you have in your car and tells you that you have to replace with a color he likes?

Same difference as far as I'm concerned.
 

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Mystic Knight of the Sea
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Dzerzhinsky said:
And the parking lot is still your employer's property.

But I wonder how long it will be before it gets extended into off-the-premises.
But, there is where I would draw the line. He may be the king of his property, but in my opinion he would be infringing on a person's constitutional right if he told an employee he couldn't own firearms the same as if he would tell people to stay away from polling places or how to vote or to not attend a church. I be no lawyer, but I passed a Holiday Inn on the way home today.
 

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Dzerzhinsky said:
And the parking lot is still your employer's property.

But I wonder how long it will be before it gets extended into off-the-premises.
The best offense is a good defense.

I think this is another step of taking our guns all together and it needs to be shot down now. Like others have said earlier, if an employee wants to get his boss, there is no rule that is going to stop him/her. Especially if he/she knows that they are only going to recieve a watered down punishment for their crime.
 

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Code name: Felix
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Dzerzhinsky said:
Aviator, I agree with you, but you may want to stop and consider just how sad those words of yours are. When do we get to have a meaningful election?
Define "meaningful". It's a relative term related to "value". Your values are not necessarily my values.
 
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