Friday, August 05, 2005


The company wants its workers to be totally defenceless against workplace attacks

The National Rifle Association and ConocoPhillips, one of the nation's largest energy companies, headed toward a showdown over gun control on private property on Tuesday, with the rifle association vowing to put up hundreds of billboards casting the oil giant as an enemy of gun owners. "We didn't seek this fight, and we're not running away from it if it means taking on one of the largest corporations in the world," Wayne LaPierre, the rifle association's executive vice president, said in a phone interview from Washington after returning from Oklahoma, where he had announced the boycott on Monday night.

The association is focusing its wrath on ConocoPhillips because the company joined a federal lawsuit to block an Oklahoma law that allows employees to keep guns in cars parked in company lots. The law was enacted after 12 workers were fired from a Weyerhaeuser paper mill in southeast Oklahoma in 2002.

ConocoPhillips - the largest company based in Houston and the largest oil refiner in the country, with assets of $97 billion - did not respond in detail. A spokesman, Jeffrey Callender, said the company had been "in touch with the N.R.A. throughout the process" and "at this point was continuing to maintain its stance." ConocoPhillips also issued a short statement saying that it supported the Second Amendment and the right of law-abiding citizens to own guns. "Our primary concern is the safety of all our employees," the company said, adding, "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."....

The companies involved in the lawsuit say that with about 17 killings a week in American workplaces, it was sound policy and within their rights as property owners to ban weapons from their parking lots.

Mr. LaPierre said that "nobody is proposing you be allowed to walk into a nuclear plant with a gun," but that workers had a constitutional right to keep legal weapons secured in their cars when they went to work. The rifle association, which says 90 million Americans own guns, is asking its 4 million members and others not to patronize Conoco or Phillips 66 gas stations. Just last month, it canceled plans to hold its 2007 national convention in Columbus, Ohio, after that city enacted a ban on assault weapons.

The dispute in Oklahoma stems from a crackdown at Weyerhaeuser against employee drug abuse. A company spokesman, Bruce Amundson, said trained dogs sniffing in the parking lot of the paper mill in Valliant found a dozen cars with rifles, shotguns, handguns and some automatic weapons, violations of a new policy banning weapons in cars. The gun owners, including contract workers for Kellogg Brown & Root, were fired....

In response to the firings, Oklahoma lawmakers passed a bill that would bar property owners from restricting those without felony records from keeping firearms in a locked vehicle. But that measure, to take effect in November, has now been blocked by the companies' lawsuit.

More here

Machine gun gala: "But why have a machine-gun shoot? What's the purpose of this little exercise, given that full-auto firearms don't have a lot of use in the everyday world? I mean, you wouldn't want to shoot a deer with a fully automatic weapon. Potting a burglar with one would be the very definition of 'overkill.' Not to mention the very definition of 'lawsuit.' Even in combat, for which machine guns were developed, in most cases Our Very Own Government considers short bursts more PC and less wasteful than stereotypical 'spray and pray' (as the gun-haters like to put it). Why do it? Because it's a howling hoot. Because learning to master virtually any shooting skill makes people more self-confident and capable. Because it's a first-class fireworks display (as you see when night falls on the happy machine gunners). And because these are, after all, real-live military weapons in the hands of American civilians -- where they belong."

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