Guns in the Workplace Bill

The battle over gun owners’ rights has turned into one of this legislative session’s hottest issues.

Some parking lots have signs. Others don’t. At issue is whether employers have the right to tell you what you can have in your car. In meeting with business lobbyists, sponsor Dennis Baxley says his opponents are carrying their argument too far.

Rep. Dennis Baxley, (R) Ocala, says, “You think you really would have the authority to say you can’t have a Bible in your car? Do you think it would extend that far? And they said absolutely yes.”

Baxley has been at the center of a political showdown that has generated thousands of e-mails. His bill originally would have made it a felony for businesses to prohibit guns in someone’s car in the parking lot. He’s backed down on that penalty, but the whole thing is giving lawmakers heartburn.

Rep. David Simmons, House Judiciary Chairman, says, “We continue to work on it.”

A vote has been delayed at least four times. Businesses continue to argue their property rights trump the rights of gun owners.

Mark Wilson of the Florida Chamber of Commerce says, “Employer and a homeowner has a fundamental right today to decide whether a gun comes on their property or not. We will maintain that.”

The NRA says they are asking too much.

Marion Hammer with Unified Sportsmen of Florida says, “They can have whatever policies they want, but they just have to stop searching private vehicles.”

Much like gays in the military, sponsors are seeking a compromise: don’t ask, don’t tell.
Cases of people being fired for having a gun in their care are rare.

The gun bill was up for a vote in the House Judiciary Committee Wednesday, but it was postponed again and the bill appears to be going nowhere in the state Senate.