Florida businesses could soon face criminal charges if they try to stop employees from bringing guns to work in their cars, says the Orlando Sentinel. The state is being thrust into a growing national debate pitting individual freedom against job safety. Backed by the National Rifle Association, lawmakers have filed bills that would allow workers to have guns at work, as long as the weapons remain locked in their vehicles. The legislation is modeled after an Oklahoma law that drew national attention when major companies, including energy giant ConocoPhillips and oil-services conglomerate Halliburton, sued to have it overturned.
A Florida version could have sweeping effects, particularly in Central Florida, where the region’s largest employer — Walt Disney World, with more than 57,000 workers — does not allow its employees to bring guns onto park property. Universal Orlando, which employs 13,000 people, has a similar policy. About 353,000 people in Florida have concealed-weapons permits. That figure does not include people who don’t need to obtain the licenses, such as police and military personnel. In the past two years, the NRA has won approval for measures that protect gun ranges from being forced by governments to clean up lead pollution from bullets, prevent police from creating gun databases, and allow people to shoot attackers without first trying to retreat. “For a business to tell you that in order to come onto their property, you have to give up your constitutional right is wrong,” said NRA lobbyist Marion Hammer.