David Michaels and gun control

by Walter Olson on August 15, 2009

The controversial OSHA nominee and left-leaning public health advocate also seems to have strong views on firearms issues. That’s by no means irrelevant to the agenda of an agency like OSHA, because once you start viewing private gun ownership as a public health menace, it begins to seem logical to use the powers of government to urge or even require employers to forbid workers from possessing guns on company premises, up to and including parking lots, ostensibly for the protection of co-workers. In addition, OSHA has authority to regulate the working conditions of various job categories associated with firearms use (security guards, hunting guides, etc.) and could in that capacity do much to bring grief to Second Amendment values.

Senators have put nominations on hold for less. It will be interesting to see whether they take an interest in Michaels’ views on gun restrictions and their place in OSHA’s agenda (& welcome Instapundit, Point of Law, Snowflakes in Hell, CEI “Open Market”, NRA-ILA readers). More: David Codrea/Examiner, Carter Wood/ShopFloor.

{ 9 trackbacks }

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PointOfLaw Forum
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{ 19 comments }

1 Minerva 08.15.09 at 9:53 pm

First they come for your guns, then they come for your Health…or Occupation.

2 Martin L. Shoemaker 08.15.09 at 10:01 pm

They want a strong gun control advocate in that position, so that somebody can get Senator Reid, Speaker Pelosi, and President Obama to stop shooting themselves in their respective feet.

3 Bill Kowalski 08.16.09 at 3:46 am

Few businesses in concealed-carry states currently allow possession of firearms on premises by non-law-enforcement personnel, if any. The “No Weapons” sign has become a familiar sight here in Missouri. I doubt OSHA would be able to change anything with a regulation, particularly considering OSHA’s lack of power in issuing unpopular rules. Their rule-making process doesn’t allow individuals to freely exercise whimsical edicts, particularly those which brush up against controversial consitutional rights.

That said, the rule book is plenty thick enough after the rule-happy Bush I Administration, and I don’t like where this latest version of OSHA seems to be heading.

4 Soronel Haetir 08.16.09 at 10:40 am

Bill,

Your experience is certainly different from mine. I have seen extremely few signs of that nature in the north-west. And Alaska, where I now live, is beyond even shall issue to no license required.

How long has Mo. had shall-issue? If it is a recent change it may be the sort of thing that relaxes over time as businesses grow accustomed to the change.

5 Jim Collins 08.17.09 at 8:52 am

All it will take is a few lawsuits to make companies re-think their policies. A previous employer of mine had a policy of employees not being allowed to have personal weapons in their vehicles, while the vehicle was parked on company property. One employee, who had a CCP, was pulled from his car, while stopped at a redlight, beaten, robbed and had his car stolen, while on the way home from work. He filed a Workman’s Compensation claim for time missed because of his injuries. The reasoning behind his claim was that since his employer had removed his ability to protect himself to and from work, it was the employer’s responsibility to provide him with protection. WC denied the claim, but the company paid up rather than see it go to court.

6 Todd Rogers 08.17.09 at 9:29 am

I’d rather get fired from my job than fired upon at my job. Keep packin’ – but pack quietly. When a crazy person goes…crazy, the guy who blasts him may get fired, sued, a medal, and go home at the end of the day.

7 EJ 08.18.09 at 11:07 am

So is the idea that if I carry a gun to work I can shoot the foreman if he tries to make me do something I know is unsafe?

Or are we supposed to think no work is unsafe?

What the h… does this guy’s opinion on guns have to do with his stellar credentials in his actual field – occupational safety and health – maybe you should attack him for the kind of food he eats or pets he keeps… y’know something equally irrelevant but slightly more entertaining.

8 Hans 08.18.09 at 11:39 am

Even Washington, D.C.’s extraordinarily strict gun-control laws permitted some business owners to protect themselves by carrying guns — as some in high-crime areas did to deter armed robberies.

But when I wrote about this topic, I was surprised how many commenters with ideological blinders believed that no business owner should ever be allowed to possess or carry a gun in the workplace, even for self-defense.

I don’t own a gun. But if I operated a liquor store in a high-crime urban area, I would want to have one handy, regardless of what OSHA or anti-gun commenters think.

9 Byron Dickens 08.18.09 at 12:52 pm

Bill Kowalski 08.16.09 at 3:46 am :

“Few businesses in concealed-carry states currently allow possession of firearms on premises by non-law-enforcement personnel, if any. ”

Not true at all. Here in Houston, Texas, I can count all of the legally binding “no guns” signs I’ve seen on one hand. (Texas law has very specific requirements for such a sign to be lagally enforceable, including size and the exact wording)

10 Old shooter 08.18.09 at 1:07 pm

If one looks at the statistics, one will find that the vast maority of workplace shootings are perpetrated by non-employees (usually in the course of robberies, and sometimes in the form of enraged spouses of employees), and that there is actually very little workplace violence that results from an actual employee coming in and shooting coworkers or supervisors. While even a little may be too much, the option of defending oneself effectively (by having a concealed gun) at work is essential to the right of self-defense, which everyone seems to agree is a fundamental right of all persons. Denying on-site carry by licensed CCW holders simply REDUCES, rather than enhances, overall workplace safety. If a worker is so outraged that (s)he decides to come in a shoot people, telling then that they’re not allowed to bring a gun onsite is ludicrous. After all, they’re not allowed to shoot people either, but that wasn’t stopping them. The likelihood that a CCW licensee will “lose it” and “go postal” is vanishingly small, far less than the already minute probability, that an enraged worker will come to work and start shooting coworkers. An OSHA boss who ignores these facts to further his own hoplophobic agenda should not be tolerated, but would be hard to get rid of, if allowed to take office in the first place.

11 zero 08.18.09 at 4:39 pm

bottom line:

better to have a gun & not need it that need one & not have it.

how can liberal govt. and anti-gun citizens justify relying on 911 when the average response time is 14 minutes???

life & death emergencies happen suddenly in seconds & you MUST depend on your own self defense & the best out there is a firearm.

go 2A !! its for your protection !!

be smart & learn to use one properly and always use caution when handling.

12 fr8dog 08.18.09 at 7:31 pm

I have the same advise regarding any gun restrictions mandated by OSHA, private industry or government. Ignore ANY restrictions by anyone, on your RIGHT to carry; including the requirement for a so called CCW permit. Ive ignored such laws for over 40 years with no adverse consequences. Unless you include one unlucky guy who tried to rob me. For him, the consequences were Extremely “Adverse”.

13 Larry 08.18.09 at 10:10 pm

I WILL not be a victim, thats why I can and will carry my legally permitted firearm on me wherever I go, ie, to work, at work, after work.

14 Woodpiggie 08.19.09 at 2:09 am

Civil disobedience as per Dr. MLK, but on a massive scale, may become necessary if, or more likely when Obama starts using back door regulations to undermine the 2nd Ammendment.

15 CaptT 08.19.09 at 9:21 am

I live in the “Great State of Wisconsin” (??), well it was a Great State until we wound up with Gov. Doyle running our State. When asked about allowing concealed weapon training and permits his statement was, “It’s just common sense, the more people out there carrying guns, the more people who are going to get shot.” Common sense??? I think Mr. Doyle should go back to the prestigious, East coast, school he graduated from and ask for his money back as it’s extremely obvious he didn’t get much of an education. In most educational institutions you are taught to first look at the facts before making a bone headed statement like the one he made. The facts show, and have always shown, that just the opposite takes place when law abiding citizens are permitted to carry concealed weapons.
I can only say that I am so glad that Dr. Saulk didn’t use the “same” common sense as Gov. Doyle, if he did we wouldn’t have a vaccination for Polio, small pox, etc., etc. In fact we wouldn’t have any vaccinations at all! Common sense will tell you not to inject people with the same bug you are trying to prevent but Dr. Saulk, unlike Mr. Doyle, read the facts and knew that an attenuated, or dead, “bug” injected into someone would allow their body to recognize and build antibodies against the injected dead bug long before becoming exposed to the live version.
Common sense Mr. Doyle? I think not. This is nothing more that your personal opinion dictating all of us to live in fear when we walk our streets as the only ones carrying concealed weapons are the hoodlums, muggers, rapists, etc.. Do me, and the rest of the citizens of Wisconsin, a favor, before opening your mouth on this issue again take the time to educated yourself on the FACTS!

16 Tim 08.19.09 at 9:26 am

EJ,
It certainly IS RELEVANT that guns are banned from PRIVATE VEHICLES just because your property is parked on someone elses property. It is a far stretch to compare it to what Michaels may eat tainting the way that he handles denial of the right to defend yourself. Do you really suppose that a nutcase will obey company rules and NOT BRING A GUN? What does having a gun in your vehicle have to do with your wish to shoot your foreman? If that is your desire than by all means you should not own a gun let alone hold a job.

If a man or woman in Obama’s administration should NOT be judged by how they rule on important issues than please ask Obama to stop placing people in jobs with the requirement that they be advocates of denying American rights (in plain language anti-gun). There is a reason that he is loading his administration with rabid nutcases. I cannot believe that people are still calling Obama a constitutional scholar. What a crock.

17 BD 08.19.09 at 1:01 pm

My company does not allow carry at work. In Boston in 1775 Gen. Gage didn’t allow firearm ownership.
The 2nd amendment means what it says, all citizens have a right to own and carry (keep and bear) guns (arms) that SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED.

I carry at work. I’m carrying right now. If they fire me over it – so be it. I don’t make a big deal of it, I don’t tell, they haven’t asked.

For my part – give me Liberty, or give me death.

18 fr8dog 08.19.09 at 1:37 pm

CaptT. You’re not the only one living in a State which denies citizens the Right to Bear Arms. For all practical purposes, 9 other States also deny this Right, unless you’re a Politician, celebrity or contribute heavily to a sheriffs election campaign; in which case you’re a “Special” person granted special privileges. So you might consider Civil Disobedience, which “Woodpiggie” believes will soon happen, but in fact is already happening on a broad scale. Tens of thousands of otherwise law abiding citizens, including myself, have elected to become “criminals”, (spelled with a small ‘c’), by carrying concealed weapons without permits; in defiance of the law in so called “Discretionary Issue” States. You might want to consider this option and forward this suggestion to those fed up with Unconstitutional laws that deny the majority of us Constitutional Rights, while promoting corruption and hypocrisy by catering to a “special” privileged few.
Note that “Woodpiggies” reference to Civil Disobedience predates MLK by 233 years. This nation was founded by “criminals”. 72 years after these Disobedient “criminals” gave the Brits the boot, Henry Thoreau wrote a paper entitled “On Civil Disobedience”, which most of us read in school. In this paper Mr. Thoreau advises that when subjected to unjust laws, it is not only our Right, but Duty as citizens to defy such laws. This advise is as true now as it was then.

19 Todd Rogers 08.19.09 at 2:19 pm

Like I wrote earlier, no one needs to know you’re packin’ . When Mr. Crazy comes a callin’, you’ll likely be a survivor and not an organ donor.

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