State Senator Jerry Ellis called Wednesday’s ruling by the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals a major victory for second amendment rights and the rights of Oklahomans. The federal panel’s ruling upheld state law that allowed workers to have legal firearms in their locked vehicles. Ellis, D-Valliant, filed the original legislation when he was a freshman member of the House of Representatives.
“Having a gun for hunting or for protection is simply a way of life for most people in rural Oklahoma. When a major employer in my district started firing people for having their firearms in their vehicles, I was outraged,” Ellis said. “I was elected to the Legislature soon after this happened, and I knew I had to do whatever I could to stop this assault on our second amendment rights.”
Shortly before Ellis’ legislation was set to become law, it was challenged by various corporations who had argued against the statute claiming it was a workplace safety issue. A lower court had ruled that safety rules established by the Federal Occupational Safety and Health Act trumped state laws, but the 10th Circuit Court disagreed.
“I see this as a major victory for Oklahoma citizens. We’ve succeeded in protecting their second amendment rights, and this has also been a victory for states rights as well,” Ellis said. “When all is said and done, I believe this will have been one of the most important measures I will have passed in my legislative career.”