AOL can fire gun owners

BearHunter

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Anyone who uses AOL as their internet supplier needs to cancel and let them know why. This is re-printed from the NRA web page.


America Online Can Fire Gun-Owning Employees Utah High Court Rules



Friday, July 23, 2004

Self-defense took a big blow this week when the Utah Supreme Court upheld the right of America Online (AOL), America`s largest on-line service provider, to fire three employees whose firearms were stored in the trunks of their cars in the parking lot of an AOL call center in Ogden, Utah. In a decision that diminishes rights guaranteed under both the Utah and the U.S. Constitution, the court acknowledged the individual right to keep and bear arms, but said the right of a business to regulate its own property is more important!

Complying with this decision could potentially cost an employee his or her life--violent criminals certainly aren`t going to obey such a ban. It may also diminish employees` abilities to hunt or target shoot after work.

The issue is becoming a hot legislative topic in the states. This year Oklahoma passed HB 2122 ensuring that employees with guns in their cars were not fired or harassed, and it was debated in several other states.

Please look to future editions of the Grassroots Alert for developing information on this issue.
 

Buck-eye

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Thank for the update. I hated them anyway!
I will gladly pass this one on!
 

EL CAZADOR

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I'm not allowed to store a gun in my truck when I'm parked on company premises either, isn't this what these people got fired for?

I'm not saying that it makes sense, but a rule is a rule. If you need to keep your gun in your car, park your car off premises. That's what I do when I leave for a hunting trip right after work.
 

Tree Doc

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....and how is it that they know you have a gun in your car?
If I had the need to keep a firearm in my car, believe me, whether they liked it or not, it would be there. How the heck does the employer know it's there? Are they doing searches?
 

BearHunter

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AOL Fires Gun Owners!
America On-Line takes the Second Amendment "off-line."
America Online, http://www.aol.com, has been known to gun owners for some time for their support of anti-gun organizations and policies. They've donated large sums of money to liberal, anti-gun Democrat organizations to support people like Dianne Feinstein, Hillary Clinton and Ted Kennedy.

More recently, they've canceled accounts for firearms related web sites on the grounds that such material is no different from "pornography." Never mind that guns are entirely legal items owned by tens of millions of Americans. Never mind that AOL doesn't seem to think that disgustingly offensive rock music is a problem.

Now, in another step towards the final elimination of gun owners from "civilized society," AOL has fired three exemplary workers for having firearms in their cars in order to go shooting at a range on their own time!

The three employees are Luke Hansen, Jason Melling and Paul Carlson. All three worked as "partner technical consultants" at AOL's Ogden, Utah facility, doing higher level technical support. The Ogden facility employs about 850 people, according to AOL's web site, and "handles a range of technical, billing, third-party and sales calls."

According to Mr. Hansen, they had worked at AOL for two to four years, and all had good employee records and good reviews from their supervisors. Unfortunately (at least from AOL's point of view), the three young men also enjoy shooting.

On September 14, 2000, Luke, Jason and Paul met after work in the AOL parking lot to go shooting at the gun range near Eden, Utah. In order to carpool to the range, Jason and Paul transferred their firearms from their own cars to Luke's truck, a matter of carrying them a few yards. Jason transferred a .30-06 hunting rifle and a 9mm Smith & Wesson handgun. Both firearms were unloaded and in cases. Paul transferred a .45 Colt "cowboy style" pistol and a 7.62 X 39mm SKS. The Colt was in a holster, and both firearms were unloaded. The handguns had trigger locks in place. Luke's firearms were in his truck and he never touched Jason or Paul's firearms. At no time did they brandish or handle the firearms in a threatening or unsafe manner. Luke and Paul hold valid Utah concealed weapons permits, and Jason is in the process of obtaining one, so all three are familiar with safe handling and Utah laws.

Although all three of them worked during the subsequent three days, nothing about the firearms was mentioned. However, on Monday, Sept. 18, all three were fired for "violating AOL's employee policy" which states that firearms are forbidden on company property, including the parking lot. According to Luke, although no one complained, an overzealous security guard saw the firearms on a video surveillance tape and reported the alleged violations.

AOL does have its firearms policy posted inside the front and back doors of the building, stating that firearms are not permitted in the building or in the parking lot, and all three employees were aware of this policy. However, they were also aware that AOL's policy violates Utah state law. AOL states that it is a "secure facility," although under Utah law secure facilities can be designated only by the legislature, and include places such as courts, airports, mental health facilities, and prisons. By definition, a place open to the public cannot be a "secure facility," and AOL's parking lot is open to the public. (Actually, it's a group of marked stalls in a public parking lot.) In addition, a secure facility is required to provide locked safe storage for anyone lawfully carrying a firearm, and to accept responsibility for stored firearms, something that AOL clearly was not equipped to do.

On a previous occasion about two months ago, the three men had also transferred firearms after work, and had been reported to management. At that time, Luke Hansen met with AOL's General Manager, Sarah McElwee. At that time, he explained to Ms. McElwee that while AOL might be able to restrict firearms in the building, it could not restrict firearms in a public parking lot, and that AOL did not meet the criteria for a "secure facility." Mr. Hansen says he thought the matter was resolved at the time, although no written changes were made to AOL's policy. Ironically, Ms. McElwee's husband is known for the very fine firearms he makes!

As a result of the firing, Paul is still looking for work. Jason, who has a wife and just bought a new home, has found a new job. So has Luke, who is expecting his first child in February.

It appears that AOL management, and especially Ric Waiters, the AOL manager who fired the three, want to force the issue of illegal, politically correct, gun bans. Fortunately for gun owners everywhere, Luke Hansen, Jason Melling and Paul Carlson are not going to take this lying down! They're not willing to see their rights, or the rights of any other Utah gun owners destroyed by America Online. So they've decided to take on America Online, the 800 lb gorilla of anti-gun corporations.

As Luke wrote in a recent email: "If AOL is allowed to continue with illegal company policies like this, then ALL companies in Utah can adopt similar policies. Your employer can whittle away at your gun rights, and get away with it. The 3 of us have chosen to take a stand, because this is something that we feel very deeply about. We believe that this is truly an issue that affects ALL Utah gun owners and ALL Utah CCW carriers. These aren't just our rights that were violated, they are your rights too."

The real issue here is whether gun owners are going to be demonized and excluded from participation in ordinary life, whether we're going to become the last persecuted minority. Remember that most Americans in the "old South" didn't assault African-Americans; they simply told them they couldn't work in "white" businesses, attend "white" schools and churches, eat eat in "white restaurants" or live in "white" neighborhoods. Likewise, the Nazis first told Jews that they couldn't work in German businesses, attend German schools, or otherwise participate in German society. Once the Jews had been isolated, so that ordinary Germans no longer interacted with them, it was much easier for the Nazis to convince people that Jews were an "inferior race" and a "public health menace"... and that they should be murdered for "the public good".

If we allow ourselves to be isolated and demonized in the minds of our fellow Americans, then we too will one day find ourselves forbidden to interact with non gun owners. We too will find ourselves unable to find work, to send our children to school, to attend the religious services of our choice, or to eat in restaurants, shop in stores, or attend movies and sporting events. (In addition to this AOL case, there is a ballot initiative circulating to prohibit gun owners from entering schools and religious facilities in Utah.) Eventually we will find ourselves rounded up into concentration camps or stalked by "public servants" seeking to imprison or kill us.

So it's critically important that we resist each and every attempt to isolate and persecute gun owners NOW - before it's too late!

Last week, Hansen, Carlson and Melling filed suit against AOL for wrongful termination. They are being represented by James "Mitch" Vilos, a local attorney, firearms dealer, and author of the book Utah Gun Law: Good, Bad and Ugly, available at www.firearmslaw.com. Mitch is also the founder of the Utah Gun Owners Legal Defense (U-GOLD) fund.

AOL has so far refused to comment. Mace Molen, the Director of Human Resources has a message on his phone saying he's "on vacation" until November 3.

Mr. Vilos believes the three have an excellent chance of winning their lawsuit. Like many freedom-loving states, Utah is a "right to work" or "at will" state, meaning that an employee can be fired at any time. However, Mr. Vilos points out that an employee may NOT be fired if doing so violates public policy. For example an employer may not fire an employee for being Catholic or Asian, because that would violate state and federal anti-discrimination laws.

How does this apply to the AOL case? According to Mr. Vilos, public policy is determined by the state constitution and state statutes.

The Utah Constitution clearly states, in Article I, Section 6: "The individual right of the people to keep and bear arms for security and defense of self, family, others, property, or the state, as well as for other lawful purposes shall not be infringed; but nothing herein shall prevent the Legislature from defining the lawful use of arms." Clearly, Utahns have an indisputable individual right to keep and bear arms.

As noted above, AOL is violating Utah law by declaring its parking lot and building to be a secure facility, since the parking lot is open to the public and AOL does not provide the mandated safe storage.

It is not entirely clear whether or not an employer can restrict firearms in the workplace if the workplace is not open to the public, because Utah statute does not specifically address this issue. However, since a special statute was passed to permit churches to restrict firearms, it would seem that in the absence of such a statute applying to employers, they may not do so. And the Office of Legislative General counsel previously ruled that Governor Leavitt's ban on firearms for state employees was illegal (although Leavitt still refuses to stop the ban, and our ultra-liberal attorney general isn't interested).

Public policy in Utah supports the individual possession of firearms, as well as the right to carry firearms for lawful purposes including self-defense, hunting and target shooting. It therefore stands to reason that public policy would support three men who go to a range for the purpose of maintaining and improving their firearms skills. And because Utah has problems with traffic congestion and pollution, public policy supports the use of carpooling. Thus it seems that public policy supports the right of lawful gun owners to keep unloaded firearms in their cars and to carpool in order to use a shooting range on their own time. And as a matter of public policy, employers generally are not permitted to regulate their employees' legal activities outside of work hours.

Therefore, Luke Hansen, Paul Carlson and Jason Melling are suing AOL for wrongful termination in violation of public policy and asking for declaratory relief. They are also asking for a jury trial, so their case can be judged by ordinary Utahns. And they're asking for reimbursement of attorney's fees since this is a matter of clarifying public policy.

By taking such a principled and courageous stand, these three men and their attorney are fighting for the rights of all gun owners against a virulent and well-funded anti-gun behemoth. They deserve the thanks and support of all gun owners.

What can YOU do?


Lawsuits take money! Although a formal legal defense fund for this case has not yet been started, Mr. Vilos says that funds can be sent to U-GOLD. Please include a note saying that you would like your donation to go to the AOL case. Donations are NOT tax-deductible.
U-GOLD
8773 South 450 East
Sandy, UT 84070
Contact the AOL call center in Ogden, Utah.
Mace Molen
Director of Human Resources
801-622-7977
macemolen@aol.com
2261 Grant Ave.
Ogden, UT 84401
All parties involved ask that you please BE POLITE when contacting Mr. Molen. Your goal is to explain why AOL's actions are wrong, or why you will no longer do business with AOL, but NOT to personally attack anyone!
Contact AOL member support - especially if you are an AOL subscriber. 1-800-827-6364. See above message about being POLITE! Remember that the AOL employees you talk to are just ordinary people with a job - not very different from Luke, Jason and Paul. You want them to understand that three of their fellow employees were treated illegally and unfairly and that the same thing could happen to them!
Tell your friends and relatives about AOL's persecution of gun owners and ask them to complain to AOL. You might even want to send them the "Amerika Online" e-postcard, available at: http://www.keepandbeararms.com/information...tem.asp?id=1400
Should you cancel your account with AOL? When I asked Luke Hansen, he said, "I'll thank people who cancel their accounts, but I can't ask them to do so. It's an individual decision."

This month AOL announced that they have reached 25 million members. But there are at least 80 million gun owners in the United States, a ratio of better than 3:1! AOL is huge and wealthy and powerful, but they're not invulnerable! If gun owners take a stand, we can win!

For those of you who wish to keep supporting AOL, consider donating an amount equal to your monthly AOL fee to a pro-gun organization!

For those of you who do choose to switch internet service providers, remember that most large telecommunications companies (AT&T, Sprint, etc.) are just as anti-gun as AOL. Check with local providers, or check out KeepAndBearArms.com's new internet service at http://www.keepandbeararms.com/webservices...ess/default.asp.

Let's teach AOL that persecuting gun owners is illegal, un-American and won't be tolerated!
 

jmabbott888

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I know this will piss some people off, but if one of them was "busted" before for bringing firearms to work (even in the parking lot) & was told he couldn't WHY do it again? Thats just asking for trouble, same thing would happen if you got caught smoking in your car at a high school, yea its your car but its a non smoking place & no one argues that. If you know you can't do it why do it, if its just to make a point then you accept the consiquences. Now don't get me wrong, I have brought guns to work to go & shoot afterwards BUT I don't take them out of the car on the property because its against company policy & unfortunatly I need my job.
 

doghouse95

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The largest private employer in the USA, WAL-MART, has the same rules, with the same exact punishment for breaking this rule.
If WAL-MART were pro gun, don't you think they would have their guns back in Kalifornia stores?
This no gun thing in the Ca stores has become a total cave in to the anti gun lobby.
Every time they tell us the guns are coming back it just turns into another lie.
WAL-MART is and has been lying to us about their selling guns for over a year now.
I do not believe that you will ever see firearms for sale in a Kalifornia WAL-MART again. I would also venture a prediction that the rest of the nation will follow suit as soon as they figure out the lies that will support pulling the rifles out of the stores in the rest of the states.
WAL-MART does not support gun owners. Wal-Mart has sold out to the liberal socialist gun grabbers.
Open your eyes folks…..
 

BearHunter

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Walmart in New Jersey also will not sell firearms or ammunition due to the restrictive laws here. I see stores like Cabella's & Gander Mountain opening hugh stores just across the border in Pennsylvania & New York but not in NJ. I am not defending Walmart, but it could just be the restrictive laws that the state is putting in place make it almost impossible for a business to exist in some states.
A case in point. A small local gun store was broken into in New Jersey a couple of years ago. Some stolen guns ended up in the hands of two criminals who decided to see what it was like to shoot someone. They lured a local pizza shop owner and delivery man to a remote location and gunned them down. Not even for roberry, just to see what it was like to kill.
They were caught, convicted etc. Because the real criminals had nothing the family of the victims sued at took everything that the gun shop owner had, put him out of business.
I can see why large chain stores do not want to risk doing business in NJ or California.
 

doghouse95

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I'm still buying guns from other places in the Peoples Republic of Kalifornia. The requirements on the FFL holder aren't any more strict now than they were before. When they pulled the guns wal-mart told everyone that they had pulled them voluntarily due to the records of gun sales being screwed up.
The when audited, the local store did not have a single error in any of their records. At other stores the records were a mess. They have repeatedly stated that they would have the guns back as soon as they retrained all of the pertinent employees. That was well over a year ago. I have sold a lot of guns in my life at the retail level, I could train a monkey to do the paperwork in that amount of time.
Somebody is lying.
 

EL CAZADOR

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in regards to Walmarts, it's up to the district managers to decide which store will be selling them. I've been told by employees that the stores that resume selling them are given few chances for mistakes. Sounds like the incomplete paperwork was only part of the problem in bringing back firearms. The other issue related to how many guns were being sold. If a store sells 1 or 2 guns a month, they aren't going to bother stocking them. Then the other issue was the paperwork. I purchased a gun about a month before they stopeed and I had to return to give my fingerprint which is now required.

I'm pretty sure the Walmart in La Habra is one of a few in SoCal that has resumed selling firearms.
 

foulshot

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As far as the gun in the car on Co. premise, that's pretty much a rule with a lot of companies. My company has the same rule, I work for SBC. They are not trying to stop the average joe, but trying to prevent violence in the work place. Not my opinion, just a fact.
 

RELH

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Concerning the Calif. Wal-Mart stores, they had some very serious violations of the CA. firearm laws and Federal laws. I spoke with a CA. Dept. of Justice employee that was involved in the investigation with Wal-Mart. Our local store in this area had allowed customers to leave the store with AR-15's, and other firearms without any paperwork, background checks and no waiting period.
These Wal-Mart employees had not received adquate training, and like most employees of major stores, they are underpaid, little bentifits, and are gone tomorrow onto better jobs. The blame falls on the managers of the stores for failing to train their employees. I believe Wal-Mart made a deal with the Dept. of Justice to pull the guns in lieu of criminal action being taken against them.
Wal-Mart will not start up the firearms again unless they feel that the profit, from gun sales, will offset the cost of proper training for their employees.
Customers in CA. need to inform the Corp. office that they want the gun sales back or will take their business to another store. With Wal-Mart, as with other big Corp. Money and sales talk.


RELH
 

shadow

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My company has the same policy that no guns on company property, parking lot included. They do however have a work around in place. The building manager has to approve the gun to be on the property and verify that it is locked up then take possesion of the keys to the lock that secures the gun (not the vehicle). Once you leave for the day to go shooting he gives the keys back to you and watches you leave the premise's.

There are ways to work with the rules of the job like parking at the next building over. If you have a gun in the car don't tell anyone. If you plan on going to the range then keep it quite as well as if you plan on ride sharing meet up before or after work off of work place property to transfer weapons. Keep all weapons concealed so nobody walking by can look thru the window and see them.

I have lady's here at my office that know I'm a safe gun handler however they fear the worst like disgruntled employee's etc... I can respect that. They are not antigun folks as their husbands are hunters as well.

I guess bottom line is keep the guns out of sight and keep your mouth shut if you can't seem to work within the rules of your employer.

Having a gun on you doesn't mean you have to let eveyone know it. Surprise will be your bigest asset should the time arise that you need to pull it out.


Just my
 

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