National Rifle Association & Unified Sportsmen of Florida
Federal Judge Hands Huge Defeat to
Florida Business Lobby on "Guns-at-Work" law
The Florida Chamber of Commerce and The Florida Retail Federation argued for three years that business owners had an absolute right to control their employees. That's why they kept calling it the "take-your-guns-to-work" legislation.
They claimed they could search employee vehicles and ban firearms from those vehicles in the employer's parking lot. They claimed businesses didn't care if customers had guns in cars, they only cared about their right to control employees. When the legislature passed the law protecting the rights of workers, The Florida Chamber of Commerce and the Florida Retail Federation filed a lawsuit in federal court asking the Court to throw out the law.
They argued that the law requiring businesses to allow guns in vehicles in their parking lots constituted an unconstitutional "taking" of their property. In court, the federal judge ruled against them – THEY LOST.
They argued that OSHA regulations require them to provide a safe work environment for their workers, which required them to bans guns in parking lots to comply with OSHA requirements. In court, the federal judge ruled against them – THEY LOST.
They argued that, as employers, they had an absolute right to control the conduct of their employees and could ban guns from employee vehicles in company parking lots while employees were at work. In court, the federal judge ruled against them – THEY LOST.
Those are the three points argued by the Chamber and the Retail Federation. THEY LOST ON ALL THREE POINTS.
At the hearing and in his ruling, the judge complained about language drafted by the legislature saying that it doesn't give businesses clear guidance on whether the laws allows business owners to ban customers from having guns in their cars in parking lots. Rather that clear up the confusion according to the intent of the legislature, he ruled that businesses can prohibit customers from keeping guns in their in the parking lot.
The judge upheld the new NRA-supported law.
If a business has a gun ban policy, employees who possess a valid Concealed Weapons License are exempt from the gun ban policy and cannot be fired for exercising their gun rights.
If a business has a gun ban policy and no employee has a valid CW license, then that business can also ban customers from having guns locked in their vehicles in the parking lot while they shop or conduct business.
A business may not search vehicles to see if a person has a firearm; may not ask if a person has a firearm in the vehicle; may not ask if a person has a CW license.
Before the law passed, employees had no protection from anti-gun employers. They had no recourse. They had to give up their firearm and self-defense rights or be fired. They now have protection. WORKERS WON – BUSINESS LOBBY LOST
Due to the judge's ruling based on inartful language, business owners can post signs notifying customers that they are prohibited from having firearms locked in their vehicles while in the parking lots. CUSTOMERS DON'T HAVE TO PATRONIZE A BUSINESS THAT DOESN'T RESPECT THEIR RIGHT TO KEEP A GUN IN THEIR CAR – THEY CAN SPEND THEIR MONEY ELSEWHERE – CUSTOMERS WIN – BUSINESS LOSES
Spokespersons for the Florida Chamber and the Florida Retail Federation are claiming victory, praising the judge for ruling that businesses can keep customers from having firearms in their vehicles in parking lots. It remains to be seen if business owners will agree that they won anything. They probably wish the Florida Chamber and the Florida Retail Federation would just shut up and quit alienating customers.
Our position is: Big Business lost. The People won.
Prepared by The National Rifle Association of America & Unified Sportsmen of Florida
July 30, 2008