In the three-year fight over whether citizens should be allowed to conceal their firearms in locked vehicles at work, the state Senate sided with the influential gun lobby and approved a compromise measure allowing employees to stash firearms in their parked cars, despite the objections or policies of their employers — as long as they have concealed-weapons permits. The governor will sign the bill, already passed by the House, the Miami Herald reports.
The watered down version of the bill was crafted to deny either side an unmitigated victory or inconsolable defeat. The final bill means only about 500,000 permit holders could legally keep guns at work, of an estimated six million gun owners in Florida. The NRA has been waging a nationwide campaign for similar laws in other states; Georgia lawmakers voted last week to send a similar measure to their governor. Florida business groups heatedly opposed the bill on the grounds it impinges on their private property rights and their ability to lay the ground rules for employment. In debating the bill yesterday, some senators expressed concern about the safety of employees.