Crist signs Brings Your Guns To Work bill

04/15/08 Mitch E. Perry
WMNF Drive-Time News Tuesday | Listen to this entire show:

Gov. Charlie Crist has signed a bill into law that allows Florida residents to keep guns locked in their cars at work.

The bill says businesses cannot prohibit employees or customers from keeping a legally owned gun locked inside their cars, as long as the owner has a permit to carry a concealed weapon. However, soome sites such as schools, prisons, nuclear power plants, military facilities and buildings that store explosives would still be off limits.

Adam Babbington, director of Coalitions and Initiatives with the Florida Chamber of Commerce, said his group will now sue in court to stop the law from being enacted.

This was the third time the National Rifle Association had pushed hard for the bill’s passage, but the first time it has succeeded here in Florida.

Babbington said the NRA softened enough portions of the bill this year to make it palatable for enough Republicans in the Legislature to support it.

Oklahoma, Alaska, Kentucky, and Mississippi have similar laws, although in Oklahoma, an appellate court barred the state from enforcing the legislation on grounds that it was unconstitutional.

Critics say the measure usurps business owners' rights to determine what happens on their property and puts workers and managers at risk from disgruntled employees.

Dozens of workplace shootings occur every year in the United States and studies have shown that job sites where guns are permitted are more likely to suffer workplace homicides than those where guns are prohibited.

Arthur Hayhoe, with the Florida Coalition to Stop Violence, said he thought groups like the Florida Chamber went too soft in opposing the law, so as not to offend gun owners.

Babbington strongly disagreed.

Many Florida busineses have expressed extreme unhappiness about the bill. Last week, the Sweetbay Supermarket chain called the bill an "assault" on private-property owners and employers.

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