On May 31, 2013, Robert Swindol was informed that a human resources manager from Aurora Flight Sciences, his place of employment in Columbus, Miss., was photographing the inside of his truck. The reason: Swindol had an unloaded Makarov 9 mm pistol in plain sight. Immediately thereafter, he was called into a meeting where he was fired and labeled a security risk.
Swindol then retained Tupelo attorney David Butts, who filed a defamation and wrongful termination lawsuit against Aurora. “Understand, being labeled a security risk in the aerospace industry is a pretty serious thing,” Butts said. He brought the case before the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, who ultimately submitted the case to the state Supreme Court.
Thursday, the Mississippi Supreme Court issued a unanimous ruling in favor of Swindol. It’s the first new exemption to the state’s at-will employment policies in 20 years, and a big victory for gun-rights advocates.