AG, governor seek reversal on gun ruling
BY ROBERT BOCZKIEWICZ World Correspondent
Saturday, January 26, 2008
DENVER — Oklahoma Gov.
Brad Henry and Attorney General
Drew Edmondson contend a state
law allowing employees to have
guns in locked vehicles where they
work promotes public safety.
The officials told the 10th U.S.
Circuit Court of Appeals this week
that, contrary to the ruling by a
judge in Tulsa, the law does not
conflict with the federal Occupational
Safety and Health Act.
The governor and attorney general
made those arguments in asking
the Denver-based court to overturn
a ruling by U.S. District Judge
Terence Kern in Tulsa’s federal
Kern ruled Oct. 4 that OSHA preempts
the law, which was adopted
in two stages in 2004 and 2005. He
issued an injunction barring enforcement
of the law.
ConocoPhillips and other large
employers in Oklahoma that have
policies against guns in their workplaces
challenged the law.
Henry and Edmondson, in 22
pages of arguments this week, told
the appellate judges the law promotes
“the safety and health of
The state officials said OSHA has
declined to set a national policy banning
guns from workplaces. The
governor and attorney general contend
OSHA “should be interpreted
in a manner that prevents the interference
with the states’ exercise of
police power to protect their
ConocoPhillips has a month
to respond to the arguments
of Henry and Edmondson.
The appeals court will not issue
its decision until later this
year or next year.
The governor and attorney
general are defendants in a
lawsuit challenging the law.
The attorney general is obligated
by law to defend the validity
of Oklahoma laws.
The officials contend the
state gun law can co-exist with
‘‘OSHA rules do not stand
for the proposition that lawabiding
citizens cannot carry
guns,’’ they contend.
OSHA said in 2006 the number
of workplace homicides involving
guns ‘‘declined nearly
50 percent over the last decade,
according to data provided
by the (U.S.) Bureau of Labor
Statistics, from a high of
about 17 per week in 1993 to 8
per week in 2004.’’
OSHA said most of those
deaths involved employees
and private or public safety officers
shot by nonemployees,
such as robbers. OSHA did
not give figures about the
number of workers killed with
guns by co-workers.
Henry and Edmondson, in
the court filing, said laws that
allow some form of carrying
concealed weapons co-exist
with OSHA state rules in 13
states. Oklahoma is a state
that has not adopted its own