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Major Victory for American Workers' Right to Self-Defense

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Fairfax, Va. – Today, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled unanimously in support of allowing employees to store legally owned firearms in locked, private motor vehicles while parked in employer parking lots. This decision upholds NRA-backed legislation passed in 2004.

“This is a victory for the millions of American workers who have been denied the right to protect themselves while commuting between their homes and their workplace,” said NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre. “This effort was aimed at skirting the will of the American people, and the intent of legislatures across this country while eviscerating Right-to-Carry laws. This ruling is a slap at the corporate elitists who have no regard for the constitutional rights of law abiding American workers.”

In March 2004, the Oklahoma legislature passed an amendment holding employers criminally liable for prohibiting employees from storing firearms in locked vehicles on company property. A number of corporations subsequently filed suit in opposition to the new laws, alleging they were: unconstitutionally vague; an unconstitutional taking of private property; and preempted by various federal statutes. The lower court ruled in favor of the injunction.

“This issue was contrived by the gun control lobby who goaded corporations into doing their dirty work for them,” said Chris W. Cox, NRA chief lobbyist. “However, this ruling is a vindication for every hardworking and lawful man and woman whose basic right to self-defense was taken away on a whim by corporate lawyers. NRA is prepared to defend this right and to ensure the safety of every American worker.”

In October 2008, Oklahoma Gov. Brad Henry and Attorney General Drew Edmondson appealed to the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals the lower court decision to strike down the NRA-backed worker protection laws. Today’s proceedings handed down by Circuit Judges Paul J. Kelly, Bobby R. Baldock, and Michael W. McConnell reversed the lower court’s grant of a permanent injunction.

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Established in 1871, the National Rifle Association is America’s oldest civil rights and sportsmen's group. Four million members strong, NRA continues its mission to uphold Second Amendment rights and to advocate enforcement of existing laws against violent offenders to reduce crime. The Association remains the nation's leader in firearm education and training for law-abiding gun owners, law enforcement and the military.

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Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.