- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 4, 2005

DALLAS — The National Rifle Association is boycotting ConocoPhillips in response, it charges, to the company’s anti-gun policies.

NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre, in speaking to a packed house at the Kiamichi Technical Center in Idabel, Okla., recently, vowed to make ConocoPhillips “an example of what happens when a corporation takes away your Second Amendment rights.”

ConocoPhillips is the largest of several companies challenging in federal court an Oklahoma law that allows workers to keep guns in their locked cars on company property.

That law was passed primarily because of public reaction to those fired at a Weyerhaeuser plant in Idabel in 2002. The NRA leader headlined the rally in the small Oklahoma town of 7,000 in support of the 12 employees who were reportedly fired because they kept legally owned firearms stored in their vehicles parked in the company parking lot.

ConocoPhillips, which is based in Houston, refused comment other than a short press release stating the company supported law-abiding individuals’ rights to own guns.

“Our primary concern is the safety of all our employees. We are simply trying to provide a safe and secure working environment for our employees by keeping guns out of our facilities, including our company parking lots,” said spokesman Jeffrey Callender.

“ConocoPhillips went to federal court to attack your freedom,” said Mr. LaPierre. “Now freedom is going to fire back.”

He told people at the rally that the NRA would “spare no expense to work against [the targeted company] to protect the rights of your law-abiding employees.”

And, he added, the NRA’s Civil Defense Fund is still fighting in court to force Weyerhaeuser to rehire the fired employees.

“Idabel, Oklahoma, is a new Concord Bridge,” he said. “Our forefathers didn’t run from the redcoats in 1775 and we’re not going to run from the corporations in 2005.”

Bruce Willingham, publisher of the McCurtain Daily Gazette in Idabel, said the NRA speakers were interrupted several times by applause.

“The people there were impressed,” he said of the crowd he estimated to be 500 to 600 people.

NRA leaders announced that a billboard campaign would begin soon against ConocoPhillips, which markets its motor fuels via Conoco and Phillips 66 gas stations.

The billboards, said Mr. LaPierre, will read: “Conoco/Phillips is no friend of the Second Amendment.”

Mr. LaPierre urged Conoco and Phillips 66 retailers to pressure their corporate brass to “get on the right side of freedom and withdraw from the federal lawsuit.” And he urged politicians at every level to fight corporative pressure and “protect the rights of law-abiding citizens.”

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