Oklahoma outlaws guns at work

Oct 15 2007 by Derek Torres Print This Article

Let it never be said that life in these United States is boring. Take, for example, that almost uniquely American phenomenon guns and the workplace.

Now, there are a number of professions that might require a gun at the office; for example, if you work in a jail or police station, or in a gun shop. In Oklahoma, however, a brave federal judge has blocked a law that would have forced employers to let any employee (except convicted felons) to store guns in locked cars in company parking lots.

Now, it's not often that I take the side of employers - especially large corporations but this is an exception. See, laws in Oklahoma required employers to allow any employee (with the notable exceptions of convicted felons) to carry a loaded gun in a locked car on the company premises (read: parking lot).

But given the number of instances of "colleagues gone bad" in the US in recent years, employers were rightfully concerned about a "wronged" employee going out for a rampage break instead of a smoke break.

Gun advocated will doubtless see this as yet another example of their rather large interpretation of the second amendment being eroded, but let's just think about the possible ramifications of allowing loaded weapons on company property.

What happens if a disgruntled employee goes to get the gun in an act of passion (or madness) and uses it on colleagues? Is the company responsible legally despite respecting the initial law? What happens if someone breaks in to a parked car, steals the gun, and then uses it to commit a crime? Who is ultimately legally responsible? Would employers have to worry about liability in such cases?

Finally, given the number of people who leave their money, mobile phones, or sunglasses out in the open in their locked car, how long do you think it is until someone leaves their gun under the seat with part of it visible?

So here's to the federal judge who made a wise decision in this case. Logically speaking, there's no real advantage of the Oklahoma law, nor is there any justification for carrying a loaded weapon at work. If you're that worried about safety, perhaps it's time to move to a country where you don't have to worry about the other guy having a gun.