Our next fight?

I don’t like this:

Proponents of President Barack Obama’s executive orders in the area of gun control point to OSHA’s General Duty Clause as a possible basis for a national “no guns at work” policy.

The General Duty Clause requires employers to maintain a safe workplace, including the implementation of policies that may be necessary to further that goal. Proponents argue that this significant increase in workplace violence coupled with the expansion of concealed carry laws would be the basis for this regulatory change. Moreover, because a General Duty Clause already exists within the OSHA statute, there would not be a need for congressional approval.

This would be another chilling effect on our rights. I frequently go to the range at lunch time or after work. And I know a lot of other people go hunting before or after work. And OSHA creating a regulation such as this would have to make exceptions for a many of places of employment. Police stations, security firms, gun manufactures, gun ranges, gun stores, any place which hires armed guards, etc.

I can see it being a valid concern for guns to be prohibited in some places of business (I’m thinking of oil refineries and other places where “high energy events” could be triggered). But it should be up to the business to decide if they have an overriding set of circumstance where firearms are just too high of risk to allow.

This could be our next fight for our right to keep and bear arms.


23 thoughts on “Our next fight?

  1. I brought up similar concerns on The Truth About Guns when the Adjutant General of Texas approved concealed carry by Guardsmen. Most Guardsmen work on federal facilities so the approval is of limited effect, but he also stated that supervisors would have no control over the issue. I supervised aircraft mechanics in the guard prior to my retirement. My guys were constantly in tight spaces, upside down and sideways while doing their job. I wouldn’t consider it an appropriate place to carry. Repetitive arming and de-arming during the day would slow production and increase the hazard. I’m for carrying in the workplace, but there are situations where it should not be done. Edit to add: That does not mean that I’m in favor of an OSHA rule that says that firearms at work are a danger in and of themselves.

    There have been times when while my guys were deployed, that we were required to carry rifles. That did away with some of the hazard of something dropping out of your pocket, holster, etc., but it was still a huge pain in the butt. We were never productive while trying to keep up with a rifle either.

    • But we digress.

      Ban murder, ban aggravated assault. So these things then just go away because there are laws on the books prohibiting them? Of course not. A piece of paper or a computer file with the word “Don’t!” in it is no deterrent to a determined criminal.

      We should be very careful to avoid getting sucked into a Progressive Involvement ploy, wherein we become distracted from the contrast between liberty and coercion, and descend into technical, statistical and legal dissertations.

      The Elephant in the Living Room in all of these “if x, then y” type discussions (we all seem to enjoy playing the social engineer) is the clear contrast between liberty and coercion.

      We must adopt the proper understanding of “safety” in the social/political sense, which means “secure in our persons, homes, papers and effects”. I.e being “safe” means that our rights are recognized and protected against all encroachments.

      To have a political system constantly dreaming up new methods and new excuses to encroach upon the rights of citizens means, ipso facto, we are not safe. To label such affronts under the banner of “safety” then is a poignant insult to reason.

    • When I worked as an aircraft mechanic, there were plenty of tasks where carrying a firearm would not have been advisable. That has no bearing on whether I should have had to give up any right to defend myself. If it had been legal to do so, I could certainly have found a way to securely store a handgun in my toolbox. This would have been only slightly more difficult than ready access storage at home.

      Workplace violence is very rare, but it does exist. I don’t believe that the fact that most workplaces are gun free zones does anything to deter such violence. I am quite confident that no one has statistics to demonstrate that a no guns policy does anything to make workplaces safer. This is a variation on Joe’s “just one question.”

      Any workplace that prohibits employees from defending themselves should be legally responsible for guaranteeing their safety. I suspect that the kind of security measures that would be needed to guarantee that safety would be prohibitively expensive and that no employer would ban guns if they expected to be liable for the results of violence their policies did not prevent.

      Like any other “gun free zone” a completely disarmed workplace is probably more dangerous than one in which people are able to exercise their right to defend themselves. The antis believe the exact opposite of this. I think they are wrong. I also think the basic right to individual self defense makes their policies indefensible.

  2. “…this significant increase in workplace violence coupled with the expansion of concealed carry laws…”

    I think somebody is trying to steal a base here. I’d like to see the statistics showing that there’s been an increase in workplace violence while every form of violent crime is on the decrease. If that’s actually happening, I’d like to see the data supporting the concern that carry permit holders are represented among the perpetrators.

    And finally, I’d like to see a comparison between the number of deaths and injuries caused by armed employees vs the number of deaths and injuries committed in work places that already ban firearms. It seems to me that if the hypothesis is that eliminating legal firearms from a workplace will make it safer, we already have a way of testing that hypothesis. If OSHA can’t show that shooting occur less frequently in gun free workplaces than in other workplaces, then what’s being proposed here is going to achieve the opposite of their stated goal.

  3. Sorry to be the bearer of bad tidings, Joe, but it should be obvious by now that the Left is “All in” to eliminate the 2A from the Constitution, and that’s assuming that the Left still holds to any part of that document, a fragile assumption to say the least.

    At this point, if we patriots fail to draw a BRIGHT line to support our Constitution, the document means nothing to a majority Leftist government. Meaning nothing, it will be ignored, as if it never existed.

    The Bright Line needs to be simple and stark: any further erosion of 2A rights will bring upon the true use of the 2A to remove the rights-ignoring tyranny of the Leftist government.

    Any lesser reaction is simply acceptance of “boiled frog”, in which the guaranteed result is total disarmament and total subjugation in a total dictatorship.

  4. The premise of the proposal is flawed right out of the gate. The assumption is that firearms decrease safety. The opposite is true. Ask any police officer or soldier why they carry a firearm. It is for their protection.

    Time to defund the other less obvious alphabet agencies that are trying to regulate our firearms into oblivion: EPA, OSHA, DHS.

    The big liberty crushers are DOJ, BLM, (B)ATF(E), and NSA, which should all be heavily revamped with 90% of the occupants given the boot, if the department is even allowed to continue and not replaced with a new organization.

  5. Lyle said: “We must adopt the proper understanding of “safety” in the social/political sense, which means “secure in our persons, homes, papers and effects”. I.e being “safe” means that our rights are recognized and protected against all encroachments.”

    From Jeff Snyder (IMO one of the best gun-rights writers ever):

    “Safety” is not even worthy of our consideration as an issue

    Note esp. the section re. prior restraint.

  6. With that “general duty clause”, as in everything, there’s competing realities.

    Like justsomeguy was saying, while you could make a reasonable mandate that military members be armed while on duty, there is a competing reality that some parts of the job really preclude that. _Some_ parts. That wouldn’t invalidate the policy for other parts, but it would justify having a reasonable procedure (created by people familiar with the processes and facts, and thus capable of actual reason) to accommodate the exception.

    For the general public, if OSHA’s going to go “no guns at all because of potential workplace violence”, the reasonable counter from the pro-gun side would be to assert that this also means that the employer takes on an absolute duty to replace the employees’ potential attempts at self-defense with a prepared, on-site, active response at any time when a disarmed employee is present. If workplace violence does occur, and the employer failed to take immediate active steps to stop the violence, or their steps failed to do so, then obviously their preparations are inadequate to satisfy their general duty to provide a violence free workplace, and thus they are liable, and their insurer should be prepared to pay out massively to those effected. And thus their insurance rates will be very, very high. Additionally, there should be sufficient evidence that a disarmed target population actually increases the likelihood of violence of all kinds being attempted upon them, thus increasing risk of an incident and increasing the impact of any incident. Basically, I’m looking for the dollars and cents way to tell employers that disarming their employees is going to be a lot more expensive on a continuous basis than letting those that are so inclined to keep their arms and see to their own defense and the defense of their co-workers.

    • “the reasonable counter from the pro-gun side would be to assert that this also means that the employer takes on an absolute duty to replace the employees’ potential attempts at self-defense with a prepared, on-site, active response at any time when a disarmed employee is present. ”

      Honestly, I’m surprised this angle hasn’t been used MORE often, especially with the proliferation of victim disarmament, er, gun free zones. Wasn’t there a suit filed against the theater chain in Aurora, CO, regarding that?

    • “…and thus they are liable, and their insurer should be prepared to pay out massively to those effected.”

      You watch, they will limit this just like they do under Workers Comp laws.

    • Soooooooo, you’re recommending that the Obama Administration (1) ban guns in the workplace, regardless of private employers’ opinions on the matter, and (2) impose strict liability on all said employers for all workplace violence?

      Handgun Control Inc and the trial lawyers would like to thank you. Also, something tells me Obama himself would crack a smile at that plan.

    • To expand on that thought, not only have emplaced an active shooter response team, but have active screening to ensure that weapons (tools, actually) are not brought in surreptitiously. And not only the workplace: all public places (Malls, Theaters, Restaurants) that ban firearms must have the same level of threat suppression in place before being offered a certificate of occupancy, business license, or what have you. All that on top of the proposed strict liability should protective efforts fall short.

  7. I’m baffled how we got from the starting point, which is Obama trying to create yet another blanket gun ban, to a discussion about the obvious fact that there are SOME situations where carrying a weapon is unsafe or inconvenient.

    Well, yes. Of course that is true. But that has nothing to do with the proposed policy. If we were talking about a policy mandating the carrying of guns at work, then and only then would the argument “but it isn’t always a good idea” be relevant.

  8. Want to make the workplace safer? Ban anti-depressants. A stupidly huge percentage of mass shooters in the last thirty years have been on them.
    Then you can make employers liable for failing to allow employees to protect themselves properly if they ban guns and they need to protect themselves from an actively hostile shooter, and things will sort themselves out.

    • I’d really like to see more work and reporting done on this. I have doubts about our giving everybody who is having a bad day a pill and I’ve seen a lot of it in the last couple of weeks.

      • Denninger (Market Ticker) had a story just the other day, detailing how anti-depressants had a marked increase in suicide and rage events. Especially on the under 25 crowd. And the pharms *knew it* via their testing.

  9. The second amendment does not grant individuals a right to keep and bear arms.
    Rather, it identifies a limit on the power of government by saying the government cannot infringe on gun rights.

    It doesn’t say government shall not infringe, unless…
    …unless workplace violence gets too bad, unless suicides, unless accidental gun deaths, unless school shootings, or anything else.

    It says government shall not infringe.


    • Yes.

      That’s why we have to oppose pernicious notions like “strict scrutiny” (never mind less than strict scrutiny) — which are nothing more than code phrases for “the government IS allowed to infringe on our rights if it can come up with a reasonably plausible sounding excuse”.

  10. Pingback: SayUncle » Using OSHA to ban guns in workplaces?

  11. The core issue in all this is OSHA — 100% of which is plainly unconstitutional.

  12. So does Obama plan on enforcing these “workplace safety” rules on cops? You know, since no body can haz a gun, cops don’t need theirs either. Neither do HIS guards.

  13. Pingback: OHSA is going after ammo manufactures | The View From North Central Idaho

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