2nd Amendment advocates worry over opinions of OSHA nominee
By Bob Unruh
Second Amendment advocates are expressing alarm that the most significant attack on gun rights across the United States in years soon could come in the form of a workplace “safety” regulation under President Obama’s nominee to run the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
Obama has nominated David Michaels, a George Washington University professor and the chief of the Project on Scientific Knowledge and Public Policy, which reportedly partially is funded by George Soros.
“The controversial OSHA nominee and left-leaning public health advocate also seems to have strong views on firearms,” wrote Walter Olson at Overlawyered.com.
“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.”
WND has reported on Obama’s czars and has published a Whistleblower magazine issue on the “shadow government” officials gradually being installed in positions of power in Washington.
Two already have met problems. Green jobs czar Van Jones quit his post after reporting, largely by WND, of his self-described communist beliefs and his belief that the Bush administration was behind the 9/11 attacks. Also, White House communications director Anita Dunn, who launched a verbal assault on Fox News as an “arm” of the GOP, reportedly will step down this month.
Now comes Michaels, who although he would have to be approved by the U.S. Senate, comes with views that concern Second Amendment advocates.
Only two years ago, Michaels condemned proposals in Georgia and Florida that would have allowed workers to carry guns to and from their places of work for protection.
He continued in his 2007 writing to laud the ability of the federal government to respond by creating new laws to ban activities or behaviors.
“When the toll of preventable and pointless deaths or injuries from any single event or related events becomes so great, or particular aspects of the story bring it to the public’s attention, our nation invariably demands more and stronger regulation, not less,” Michaels wrote at the time.
“We saw this recently with the disaster at West Virginia’s Sago Mine, when a mine explosion and failed rescue attempts resulted in the deaths of 14 miners. Within months, Congress passed the Mine Improvement and New Emergency Response (MINER) Act,” he said.
“This is not true only of recent times. On the heels of the Elixir Sulfanilamide scandal, in which a medicine manufactured with antifreeze killed scores of children, Congress passed the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act of 1938, requiring for the first time that pharmaceutical manufacturers prove the safety of their products before marketing them,” he continued.
“It’s hard to count all of the lives that this Act has saved, but one example stands out: The United States avoided the plague of thalidomide-related birth defects that ravaged Europe in the early 1960s as a result of controls granted the FDA under that legislation. A regulatory hero, FDA medical officer Dr. Frances Kelsey, had blocked U.S. licensing of thalidomide on the basis of inadequate safety data,” he wrote.
“In the U.S., we see an average of one gun-related homicide every 45 minutes, or 32 each day,” he wrote. “These are usually treated as isolated incidents, until a horrific event like the Virginia Tech massacre reawakens the public and strengthens public health advocates who are attempting to prevent gun violence.”
At RedCounty.com, writer Bryan Myrick noted that the Washington Times has urged the Senate to reject Michaels’ nomination.
“OSHA is an agency that already has a well-earned reputation for abusing its authority and reaching beyond its stated purpose. Add one zealot and it easily becomes an oppressive entity with immense power over all American businesses, large and small. At a time in which America’s businesses desperately need the freedom to responsibly pursue earning profits and put workers back on the payroll, the chemical potency of combining Obama’s left-wing agenda with an anti-business zealot manager at OSHA could prove toxic,” Myrick wrote.
The first vote on Michaels’ nomination already was canceled by the Senate Committee on Health, Labor, Education and Pensions.
At the Examiner, gun rights writer David Codrea warned that some “public health” excuse could be used for imposing draconian restrictions on gun owners.
He cited the comment from a director of the CDC’s National Center for Injury Control and Prevention that, “We need to revolutionize the way we look at guns, like what we did with cigarettes. Now it [sic] is dirty, deadly, and banned.”
“Does anyone doubt that Michaels will bring a similarly creative agenda to apply through regulatory measures under the guise of ‘occupational safety and health?’” he asked.
The BD Law firm in Washington posted a statement that Michaels is expected to bring major changes if approved. The law firm quoted Michaels’ writing from earlier this year that OSHA “badly needs a change in direction and philosophy” and it should include a “campaign to change the workplace culture of safety.”
The National Gun Rights organization called him an “anti-gunner.”
Columnist Dave Kopel at the Independence Institute in Colorado said, “Plenty of Obama’s administration appointees have a longer record of anti-gun activism than David Michaels, but perhaps none of them have the ability to make such a dramatic, instant change in the lives of law-abiding gun owners.
“By its own fiat, OSHA could outlaw the possession of firearms in every workplace and every employee parking lot in the United States,” he wrote.
“That David Michaels is anti-gun is undisputed,” he continued.
“The Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution means that a valid federal law or regulation wins in any conflict with a state law. Many states have laws that protect the rights of employees to store lawful firearms in parking lots at work. If an OSHA regulation prohibiting such storage existed, the federal regulation would trump state law,” he said.
“Under Michaels, OSHA could write a regulation stating that it is illegal for any business to allow guns in the workplace or in parking lots. No handgun could be locked in the trunk of a car, even if the owner has a Right-to-Carry license. No rifle could be stored in the car, even if there’s no ammunition around and the gun will be dropped off at the gunsmith after work,” he said.
Obama’s attorney general, Eric Holder, had supported Washington, D.C.’s ban on handguns before it was overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court. And since Obama has been in office, he’s already advocated for a treaty that would require a federal license for hunters to reload their ammunition, has expressed a desire to ban “assault” weapons, has seen a plan to require handgun owners to submit to mental health evaluations and sparked a rush on ammunition purchases with his history of anti-gun positions.
Besides its reporting on Van Jones and Anita Dunn, WND previously reported on the controversy over the appointment of Kevin Jennings, a homosexual rights promoter, to oversee the office of school safety in the Department of Education.
Regulatory czar Cass Sunstein also has, among other issues, stated that marriage discriminates against singles