A push by the National Rifle Association has Florida’s ruling Republican Party facing the election-year equivalent of a bitter family feud, the Orlando Sentinel reports. The NRA wants to guarantee employees the right to bring guns to work, provided the weapons remain locked in their cars. It’s part of a campaign to ensure a company can’t force its employees to give up their Second Amendment rights. The idea has generated fierce opposition from the state’s deep-pocketed business lobby, which calls it a gross infringement on their private-property rights. Leaders of the state Chamber of Commerce voted unanimously Monday to oppose the proposal. “It’s a little bit of the social wing of the Republican Party versus the fiscal-conservative wing of the Republican Party,” said state Rep. Jack Seiler, a Democratic member of the House Judiciary Committee.
That the NRA is facing any reluctance among GOP leaders is a dramatic shift. The group has had little difficulty persuading the Legislature to do its bidding. Under the NRA’s proposal, a business could face felony charges if it did not allow employees to keep guns locked in their cars. Walt Disney World, Central Florida’s largest employer, with more than 57,000 workers, does not allow its employees to bring firearms onto park property. Nor does Universal Orlando, which has 13,000 employees. Marion Hammer, the NRA’s Florida lobbyist, said people shouldn’t be forced to give up their Second Amendment right to carry guns for personal protection. “The reality is that gun-free parking lots are safe havens for criminals,” she said. “Criminals don’t want to be shot, and they’re going to attack people where they know they are going to be vulnerable.”