A federal judge has upheld the gist of a new Florida law giving employees the right to take their guns to work, as long as they have a concealed-weapons permit and keep them locked in their cars, reports the Orlando Sentinel. But U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle balked at a part of the law granting the same right to customers or visitors at shopping malls, restaurants or other businesses — raising the question of whether gun-carrying individuals could be penalized for stopping for coffee on their way to work. Adam Babington, legislative counsel for the Florida Chamber of Commerce, said the ruling potentially “causes more confusion than it solves” because it could prevent someone who carries a concealed weapon in the car from stopping at any business other than where he or she works.
“This essentially says you can take your gun to work and you can drive on the public streets, but you’re not entitled to take your gun anywhere else,” Babington said. Gun-rights groups hailed the ruling as a “complete victory” — though they conceded it could spawn confusion. “Customers would need to know when they pull into a Publix parking lot whether or not Publix has decided to prohibit customers from having the same rights as their employees,” said Marion Hammer, lobbyist for the National Rifle Association.