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Old 08-11-2005, 07:00 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Do you have the right to have a gun at work?

Looks like this is going to be the latest fight over the 2nd amendment. The NRA is contending that private companies do not have the right to prohibit workers from keeping guns in their cars on company property. They've gotten into a fight with ConocoPhillips corporation over it and if it goes to court it looks like we would be faced with an interesting question. Where do property rights end and gun rights begin? If you own a piece of property do you have the right to tell people they can't bring guns onto your property or does the 2nd amendment protect their right to have it there against your will?


Quote:
Jason Smith is in a tough spot. He works for a company he has been asked to boycott. In an effort to keep weapons out of the workplace, his employer, ConocoPhillips, is challenging state law and has forbidden workers to leave guns in their cars in company parking lots. Now, the National Rifle Association (NRA) is encouraging gun owners to stop buying ConocoPhillips gasoline.

The boycott is the latest skirmish in an expanding battle over gun control. Now that many states allow citizens to carry concealed weapons, the NRA is pushing to eliminate remaining restrictions on where those guns can be taken. Gun-control groups - and some employers - are fighting back. The outcome could decide whether more states expand the rights of licensed owners to carry their guns where they want, despite recent evidence that workplace gun bans do lower risk.

This issue is simmering in states across the country, says Stephen Halbrook, a Virginia lawyer who handles many Second Amendment cases. "But it is in brightest relief in Oklahoma."

That's because Oklahoma is one of only two states with statutes that specifically prohibit employers from banning weapons on their own property. (Kentucky is the other state.) ConocoPhillips and several other employers are challenging the 2003 Oklahoma law in federal court.

"ConocoPhillips supports the Second Amendment and respects the rights of law abiding citizens to own guns," the Houston-based oil company says in a written statement. "Our primary concern is the safety of all our employees. We are simply trying to provide a safe and secure working environment for our employees by keeping guns out of our facilities, including our company parking lots."

But gun-control opponents see the issue in constitutional terms.

"This case clearly goes to the very core of the freedom of Americans to own and travel with firearms in this country," says Wayne LaPierre, executive vice president of the NRA. If companies successfully block the Oklahoma law, "it could be a blueprint for thousands of corporations across this country to declare their parking lots anti-Second Amendment zones, which could in effect gut 'carry' laws in 38 states and restrict hunters on every hunting trip." Conceivably, gun owners would have nowhere to get a sandwich or fill up with gas, he adds.


http://csmonitor.com/2005/0812/p01s02-ussc.htm
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Old 08-11-2005, 07:17 PM   #2 (permalink)
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This is an interesting question, but I'd side with the company on this one provided it was a condition of employment.
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Old 08-11-2005, 07:23 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I think this issue is similar to a situation where the driver of a car is unaware of the fact that one of his passenger has drugs and he will be held accountable for everything that is in his car including the things that he is not aware of.

If a employee decides to bring a gun to the company and decides to start shooting everybody, who will be held accountable? The employee that brought the gun there? Or the company that allowed him to do so?
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Old 08-11-2005, 07:24 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ustwo
This is an interesting question, but I'd side with the company on this one provided it was a condition of employment.

Me too (holy shit, I'm agreeing with Ustwo. Must be getting cold in Hades). In fact I'll go one farther than that. It's their property. What they say goes. If you don't like it, leave their property.

And if you really think you need a gun at work and you're not a cop or a soldier, you need to find a safer place of employment.

Now that said, if the gun's in his car, under a seat, then the company can forbid it all they want but unless they search his car (and if they don't have his permission to do so then that would be breaking into the car) they won't find it.
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Old 08-11-2005, 07:30 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shakran
Now that said, if the gun's in his car, under a seat, then the company can forbid it all they want but unless they search his car (and if they don't have his permission to do so then that would be breaking into the car) they won't find it.
What if it's not hidden? Under the Oklahoma law in question, you could have a shotgun fully visible in a gun rack and the company would have no power to tell you to remove it from the property.
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Old 08-11-2005, 07:44 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CShine
What if it's not hidden? Under the Oklahoma law in question, you could have a shotgun fully visible in a gun rack and the company would have no power to tell you to remove it from the property.

What I'm saying is that it seems to me there's a REAL easy way to avoid this issue. If they can't see the gun, they can't enforce their policy. If you just HAVE to have the gun in your car for whatever reason, then you'll avoid dealing with your company if they can't see it.
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Old 08-11-2005, 10:09 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Agreed that this is an interesting question.

Some years ago, my sister worked the late shift at a hospital which wasn't in the best part of town. The parking lot was also fairly isolated, and quite dark. Her husband wanted her to keep one in her car, and she agreed. Somehow, a co-worker found out, and she was instructed not to do it. Which she ignored.

While I would normally support the right of an employer to dictate this condition, I have two questions:

1. Does ANYONE think a nutjob would decide not to bring a gun to work because of this rule?

2. Can this be expanded to other constitutional rights? For example, the reason picketing of businesses is allowed is that a business isn't really considered private property.

I'll come down on the side of the employer, with the proviso that the employer should also be able to kick demonstrators and picketers off the property.

They'll just have to do their thing from across the street.
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Old 08-11-2005, 10:35 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvelous Marv
2. Can this be expanded to other constitutional rights? For example, the reason picketing of businesses is allowed is that a business isn't really considered private property.

Except that generally you have to picket on the sidewalk OUTSIDE of the business- - you can't actually go on the business property. That's because businesses ARE considered private property, with very few exceptions (such as the California law that says malls are public property (but the stores in the mall are still private))

I run into the private/public property thing all the time in my job. I can take all the pictures I want of your business as long as I'm on the public sidewalk, and you can't tell me to leave or to stop rolling. But if I walk on to your parking lot and you tell me to leave, I have to do so.
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Old 08-12-2005, 12:27 AM   #9 (permalink)
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right to property... at what point do state restrictionss end and property freedoms begin? If conoco does not want a gun on their property, they should have the right to ban them there. Public schools ban guns and other firearms, and Im sure that more than a few teachers have had to walk across dark parking lots..
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Old 08-12-2005, 12:31 AM   #10 (permalink)
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I'd side with the company on this one. As previous posters pointed out, it's on their property and they should be the ones making the rules.
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Old 08-12-2005, 03:33 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Itīs company property and so, as stated above, they make the rules. First, I donīt see why you would want to live in a country where you have to carry a gun at every time to protect yourself. But I can understand if you have a late night job in East LA and feel the need to feel safe. How is the crime situation in Oklahoma? Iīd say donīt bring a gun to work but you should be able to keep a gun in your car when you stop at a supermarket or gas station on your way to a hunting trip.
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Old 08-12-2005, 03:46 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Our company has this policy....the policy also states they have the right to search your vehicle at their discretion and if you are found to be in violation of the policy you can be terminated immediately.

There are places you can have a gun, there are places you cant. If you have a problem with that policy, dont work for the company that has it.
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Old 08-12-2005, 05:14 AM   #13 (permalink)
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How is this even an issue? You have right to freedom of speech, too, but you can't stand up at your desk and say whatever you want on the company property and time (like saying your boss is a dweeb, or trying to convert people to your religion).

It's private property, dunderheads.
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Old 08-12-2005, 05:23 AM   #14 (permalink)
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I have a question, how safely can a gun be stored in a car? By that I mean shouldn't all guns be stored locked safely away in sturdy boxes?

Leaving your gun in the glove-compartment, or under the seat is just asking for it to be stolen and to fall into criminal hands.

Exactly what use does a gun have to a person while it is left out in the parking lot?

It is irresponsible to leave a deadly weapon unattended, within such easy reach of criminals, in my mind, it should be illegal to be found doing so.
 
Old 08-12-2005, 05:57 AM   #15 (permalink)
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I had my car broken into last night. If I kept a gun in the glove box it would be gone and in the hands of some twerp criminal.
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Old 08-12-2005, 06:07 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zen_tom
I have a question, how safely can a gun be stored in a car? By that I mean shouldn't all guns be stored locked safely away in sturdy boxes?

It is irresponsible to leave a deadly weapon unattended, within such easy reach of criminals, in my mind, it should be illegal to be found doing so.
I agree, which is why I'm all for the right to carry a weapon
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Old 08-12-2005, 06:36 AM   #17 (permalink)
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At least we agree on something Ustwo - however I do think it's much easier to not leave a gun unattended if you simply don't have a gun in the first place.
 
Old 08-12-2005, 06:45 AM   #18 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zen_tom
At least we agree on something Ustwo - however I do think it's much easier to not leave a gun unattended if you simply don't have a gun in the first place.
Such would be your right, but never take a knife to a gun fight
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Old 08-12-2005, 07:10 AM   #19 (permalink)
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A company or other property owner has the right to take whatever action they desire on hteir property such that it does not harm others. The owner does have a responsibility to reasonably provide for the safety of those it invites onto its property, and if it deems the presence of weapons to be a hazardous condition for others on the property, then it is not only allowed, but probably obligated to take measures to mitigate this risk.

As for enforcement, its not unlike internet porn. No, not all employees will obey company restrictions, but by having it as policy, all employess are aware that it is not acceptable, and should an incident occur, the employee can not claim push responsibility to the company.

The fact that the NRA wants to attack a company for exercising their property rights in a way that harms noone, and possibly enhances their employees' safety, just further shows how far off the charts this group is as they steadfastly oppose any rational compromises to allow weapon ownership, but mitigate the dangers presented by such ownership.

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Old 08-12-2005, 08:27 AM   #20 (permalink)
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Old 08-12-2005, 08:41 PM   #21 (permalink)
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I own guns, I have a concealed weapons permit, as a matter of fact I typically carry a gun most places I go. When I am at work, the gun is locked in the trunk of my vehicle. If my employer were to decide that this was unacceptable, and created a policy preventing me from bringing a firearm onto the premises, I simply would not park on company property. If that meant i had to find alternate parking and said parking was too far away to walk to my job, then I guess I'd have top buy a bicycle and a bicycle carrier for my car. I agree with the NRA on most issues, but like every other political group, there are times they support stuff that is just moronic.
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Old 08-12-2005, 09:26 PM   #22 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shakran
Except that generally you have to picket on the sidewalk OUTSIDE of the business- - you can't actually go on the business property. That's because businesses ARE considered private property, with very few exceptions (such as the California law that says malls are public property (but the stores in the mall are still private))

I run into the private/public property thing all the time in my job. I can take all the pictures I want of your business as long as I'm on the public sidewalk, and you can't tell me to leave or to stop rolling. But if I walk on to your parking lot and you tell me to leave, I have to do so.
Yeah, I was thinking of the situation in California where "free speech" prevents protesters, picketers, and proselytizers from being removed.

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Old 08-12-2005, 09:31 PM   #23 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by connyosis
I'd side with the company on this one. As previous posters pointed out, it's on their property and they should be the ones making the rules.
That's the question I'm asking. Can I make a rule that I don't allow gays on my business property? Unmarried couples in my rental property?

Once you start screwing with the Bill of Rights, it doesn't always wind up where you intend.
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Old 08-12-2005, 09:35 PM   #24 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ShaniFaye
Our company has this policy....the policy also states they have the right to search your vehicle at their discretion and if you are found to be in violation of the policy you can be terminated immediately.

There are places you can have a gun, there are places you cant. If you have a problem with that policy, dont work for the company that has it.
Your company policy is just aching to be tested in court.

Can they search your purse too?
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Old 08-13-2005, 12:22 AM   #25 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvelous Marv
That's the question I'm asking. Can I make a rule that I don't allow gays on my business property? Unmarried couples in my rental property?

Once you start screwing with the Bill of Rights, it doesn't always wind up where you intend.
If having gays or unmarried couples could be a potential danger to your other employees, then yes in my opinion you'd have that right. That's not the case though.
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Old 08-13-2005, 02:54 AM   #26 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvelous Marv
Your company policy is just aching to be tested in court.

Can they search your purse too?

The company policy we sign when we agree to be an employee only states they may search your vehicle, when it is on their property.


I guess if my company is aching to be tested in court so are a LOT of them. Its my impression the person that owns the property has full rights to declare no firearms.
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Old 08-13-2005, 03:29 AM   #27 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ShaniFaye
The company policy we sign when we agree to be an employee only states they may search your vehicle, when it is on their property.


I guess if my company is aching to be tested in court so are a LOT of them. Its my impression the person that owns the property has full rights to declare no firearms.
In spite of how it appears, I'm not trying to be argumentative here. I just have problems with that particular policy. Like the following:

Even the feds, when they have a search warrant, have to specify what they're searching FOR. That's why some of their findings get tossed out of court. If the warrant says "drugs," they can't mention in court that they found, for example, child pornography.

So when your company searches a car, what are they searching for? What if you're a union organizer, and they find a list of people at your company who've agreed to join? What if they find one of the magazines you posed for in your "wild youth"-- can they fire you for "conduct unbecoming to the company?" What about that half-empty bottle of wine from last night's party? Or that letter with the job offer from a competitor?

What if they find a prescription for an anti-cancer medicine in your car? Can they find an excuse to let you go, or not promote you, since you might not be around?

Of course they can--they just won't admit that they're doing it.

Also, a judge has to sign a search warrant. What if your boss doesn't like you, and wants to promote his friend into your job? What's to prevent him from searching your car? What's to prevent him from planting something?

What has also not been mentioned yet is that an employee can not sign away their rights. As an example, even if I get an employee to agree in writing that I don't have to pay him or her overtime, it won't hold up in court. And I'll be in a lot of financial trouble.

I think I would do one of two things at a company such as yours (provided I was either a lawyer or had the financial wherewithal to proceed). I'd either not sign the agreement, and tell a labor attorney about it when I wasn't hired, or plant something in my car resembling one of the concerns I listed above. A medical history, or whatever. That would be a strong basis for an invasion of privacy claim.

I say that as an employer, too. While I despise the basis for most lawsuits brought against employers, I feel strongly that an employer has no business searching your car, unless he has damn good reason to believe there's unauthorized company property in it.

I can understand someone feeling differently, but there would be hell to pay if someone searched my car without that basis.

Last edited by Marvelous Marv; 08-13-2005 at 03:46 AM..
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Old 08-13-2005, 03:40 AM   #28 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by connyosis
If having gays or unmarried couples could be a potential danger to your other employees, then yes in my opinion you'd have that right. That's not the case though.
Although I disagree with your premise about potential danger (a CAR is a potential danger, and crime goes down when carry laws are liberalized), that's a discussion for another time. But let's change things a little. Suppose a landlord's religion is very much against unmarried couples living together.

By forcing the landlord to rent to them anyway (which seems to have been established as precedent) you are forcing someone to violate their religion. Just like requiring a Hindu (I think) to cut his hair, or not wear a turban. Or telling a Jew he can't wear a Yamulke. Or telling a Mormon he must serve alcohol in his restaurant. (Oh yeah, serving alcohol to patrons who must drive home is a potential danger, too.)

I know I sound like I'm contradicting myself in regard to the gun argument, but (in my mind at least ) I'm playing devil's advocate.

And establishing my position as being "Don't contradict the Bill of Rights."
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Old 08-13-2005, 09:31 AM   #29 (permalink)
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I dont have the specific wording here, when I get to work I will look it up, the searching the vehicle pertains only to firearms.

This policy was put in place when the group of hunters we have at work decided to show off their guns during lunch hours during hunting season and one was accidentally discharged.
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Old 08-13-2005, 09:39 AM   #30 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvelous Marv
...Suppose a landlord's religion is very much against unmarried couples living together.

By forcing the landlord to rent to them anyway (which seems to have been established as precedent) you are forcing someone to violate their religion. Just like requiring a Hindu (I think) to cut his hair, or not wear a turban. Or telling a Jew he can't wear a Yamulke. Or telling a Mormon he must serve alcohol in his restaurant. (Oh yeah, serving alcohol to patrons who must drive home is a potential danger, too.)
Well, it's not _really_ the same thing. If I as a landlord are forced to give people whose actions or beliefs I do not agree with housing, it will have no direct negative effect on me in the same way.

We're not talking about a company discriminating against a certain religion or group of people here. It's not like they say "If you own a gun, you're not welcome here". If they did, I would have a problem with that. They simply ask people to leave them at home, and is that really too much to ask?
Forcing someone to violate his/hers religious beliefs is in my opinion very different from asking people to not bring weapons to work.
To me, not wanting guns at work is similar to schools not wanting cell phones in class rooms. No one is forbidding you to own one, just don't bring it there.
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Old 08-13-2005, 11:01 AM   #31 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by connyosis
Well, it's not _really_ the same thing. If I as a landlord are forced to give people whose actions or beliefs I do not agree with housing, it will have no direct negative effect on me in the same way.

We're not talking about a company discriminating against a certain religion or group of people here. It's not like they say "If you own a gun, you're not welcome here". If they did, I would have a problem with that. They simply ask people to leave them at home, and is that really too much to ask?
Forcing someone to violate his/hers religious beliefs is in my opinion very different from asking people to not bring weapons to work.
To me, not wanting guns at work is similar to schools not wanting cell phones in class rooms. No one is forbidding you to own one, just don't bring it there.
I don't think we have a huge disagreement, especially after reading Shani's info on the idiots discharging a hunting rifle, or whatever it was.

I can't resist saying that a gun sitting in a car has no direct negative effect on anyone. Being forced to violate your religious beliefs does.

I guess my emotional basis is that in my opinion, if an employer can ban guns, a landlord should be able to choose whom they'd like to rent to, without having to explain his reasons either.

The simplistic argument for both is "You don't like the gun rule? Find someplace else to work."

"You don't like the landlord's requirement? Find someplace else to live."

That works for me. But the car searching business most definitely does not.
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Old 08-13-2005, 11:30 AM   #32 (permalink)
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I don't understand why someone who is trained with firearms can't have one on them at all times, at work or not.
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Old 08-13-2005, 11:47 AM   #33 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvelous Marv
I can't resist saying that a gun sitting in a car has no direct negative effect on anyone. Being forced to violate your religious beliefs does.
You have a point. If the car is broken into though, the gun might wind up in the wrong hands. Not bringing a gun will eliminate that risk

Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvelous Marv
I guess my emotional basis is that in my opinion, if an employer can ban guns, a landlord should be able to choose whom they'd like to rent to, without having to explain his reasons either.
The company has a good reason for not allowing guns on their property: Keeping a safe work environment for their employees. (With that I'm not saying that if a gun would be brought there, all hell would break loose)
Again, I would have a problem if gun owners weren't allowed to work there at all, but I see no problem with not allowing them to bring their guns to work.
They're not being forced to get rid of their guns. They are simply asked to leave them behind for a few hours every day. Once the working day is over, they can cuddle their weapons for as long as they want.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvelous Marv
The simplistic argument for both is "You don't like the gun rule? Find someplace else to work."

"You don't like the landlord's requirement? Find someplace else to live."

That works for me. But the car searching business most definitely does not.
I see where you are coming from. If a landlord says that there is no smoking allowed in the apartments because it disturbs neighbors/ruins the wallpaper/some other sane reason I see no problem with that either. If a landlord says he doesn't allow jews to rent his apartments on the basis that he doesn't like jews, that would be a different matter.
This company is similar to the first example. They are not banning guns because they don't like them, they are banning them for a good reason.
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Old 08-13-2005, 11:52 AM   #34 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by genuinegirly
I don't understand why someone who is trained with firearms can't have one on them at all times, at work or not.
I don't really understand why the strong need to bring a gun to work. Why? Pure principle?
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Old 08-13-2005, 12:21 PM   #35 (permalink)
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going back to the original post, this is a no-brainer: their house, their rules. to my mind the second amendment doesn't apply here, anyway...
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Old 08-13-2005, 01:35 PM   #36 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by connyosis
I don't really understand why the strong need to bring a gun to work. Why? Pure principle?
What I don't understand is why someone would want to stop them. Everyone has their reasons for doing what they want. Even level-headed individuals do things that make others confused at times.

The part about someone breaking into the car... I agree with that one actually. A car is no place for a weapon. If one cares enough about weapons to always want to be prepared, they should keep it on their person or not at all.
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Old 08-13-2005, 01:46 PM   #37 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by genuinegirly
What I don't understand is why someone would want to stop them. Everyone has their reasons for doing what they want. Even level-headed individuals do things that make others confused at times.
Well I can see a reason for stopping it. There is simply no need for guns at work. Can you give me one good reason as why you have to bring your gun to work? Like I said earlier, the company is not forcing people to give up their guns or not allowing gun owners to work there, they are just asking them to leave their weapons at home. It's really not that big of a deal IMHO. After a days work they come home to their gun again. (Ok, that just made it sound like the gun was a puppy, but whatever...)
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Old 08-14-2005, 08:26 AM   #38 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by feelgood

If a employee decides to bring a gun to the company and decides to start shooting everybody, who will be held accountable? The employee that brought the gun there? Or the company that allowed him to do so?
I'm pretty sure that most companies have rules in place saying it's a fireable offense to start slaughtering your co-workers. That policy, along with making it a fireable offense to have a gun in your locked, parked car are undoubtedly the reason why so few people stark massacreing their co-workers....it's simply because they don't want to get fired, right?
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Old 08-14-2005, 08:27 AM   #39 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by connyosis
Well I can see a reason for stopping it. There is simply no need for guns at work. Can you give me one good reason as why you have to bring your gun to work?
Sure. Because you have to DRIVE to work. You never need a gun until you need one really badly, and then it's too late to go home and get it.

Quote:
The company has a good reason for not allowing guns on their property: Keeping a safe work environment for their employees. (With that I'm not saying that if a gun would be brought there, all hell would break loose)
All that does is guarantee that if somebody decides to commit a crime there, the criminal is guaranteed to have an unarmed and helpless group of people to victimize. Ever wonder why "cop bars" so rarely get robbed? Hint: It may be because it's full of people with guns.

Quote:
We're not talking about a company discriminating against a certain religion or group of people here. It's not like they say "If you own a gun, you're not welcome here". If they did, I would have a problem with that.
Really? My religion says it's a sin for me to go anywhere without a gun (and yes, I'm observant). Why should I have to commit a sin to work for somebody or to live someplace?

Last edited by daswig; 08-14-2005 at 08:33 AM..
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Old 08-14-2005, 08:39 AM   #40 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by joshbaumgartner
A company or other property owner has the right to take whatever action they desire on hteir property such that it does not harm others. The owner does have a responsibility to reasonably provide for the safety of those it invites onto its property, and if it deems the presence of weapons to be a hazardous condition for others on the property, then it is not only allowed, but probably obligated to take measures to mitigate this risk.
Ah. so when I go to apply for a job with a company, since I want to work for them, they have a right to demand a DNA sample to make sure I don't have a high chance of getting sick later and costing them money?

You say "such that it does not harm others". OK, I can live with that. So let's say an employee is driving home from work (or walking out to their car in the dark parking deck) and they get attacked and killed. Now they were not allowed to have the most effective means of self-defense because of corporate policy, yes? So their estate should be able to sue the hell out of the company for disarming them without providing an equivalent level of physical security, yes?

If you disarm people so that they cannot effectively defend themselves, you are OBLIGATED to protect them. If you fail to do so, you can be held liable.
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