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    Greg and Beth

    the political and personal musings of two
    mountaineers living in west-central Florida
     
    FL Parking Lot Bill Comment
    Gregory Morris, 7/30/08 8:37:45 am
    Seems that the law stands.

    Hee. Haw.

    Update:
    It is turning into a complete clusterfuck.

    This keeps getting more and more stupid every time someone mentions it. The NRA started by introducing a stupid law. Then stupid amendments were made. Then businesses found stupid ways to get around the law. All because of a stupid non-issue that only affected workers at a few stupid anti-gun corporations.

    As Judge Hinkle tried to do, this law needs to be looked at from a few different perspectives.
    (Note: I know signs and store policies won't affect a determined criminal, but I'm just arguing the legal aspects...)
    First, as a customer to a business:
    As a customer, the business has no legal way to keep me from keeping a gun locked in my car. For that matter, they have no legal way to keep me from walking into the store with the gun concealed on my person. That is a fact both before and after this law was passed. A business owner, however, may ask you to leave for any reason he wants... because you are annoying customers... or you are screaming obscenities... or because he doesn't like the color of your shirt. Regardless, you are on private property, and have no right to remain there. So, if I am carrying a concealed weapon, and the store owner doesn't like it, they can ask me to leave... assuming they find out, which they never will because it is concealed. Same goes for the gun in my glove box. The only legal recourse they have if you refuse to leave is trespassing law, which is fine, because gun or not they always have the right to kick you off their property.

    Second, as an employee:
    The only thing the new law does is, with numerous exemptions, disallows employers from trying to find out if an employee has a gun locked in their car. If they still manage to find out (say, by the employee telling them it is there) they are not allowed to fire the employee for the gun being there. Of course, the law was designed with so many loopholes that Disney was able to claim exemption because they keep fireworks on the premises. Whether or not that is a valid exemption doesn't particularly matter. The point is, there is really no way an employer can ban guns in your private vehicle, or on your person for that matter, except via trespass law (as I just discussed) or via contract. Contract law is contract law... the NRA-sponsored parking lot bill restrains any non-exempted company's ability to enforce certain contractual agreements related to firearms on company premises. That means that before the law, they could fire you and/or sue you for breach of contract. After the law, they may not. A company may, at their choosing, ban both firearms and green underwear, and fire you for violating the green underwear ban, but not the firearm ban. Almost all employment in the State of Florida is at-will, which means they don't even need a reason to fire you.

    Third, as an exempt employer:
    Nothing changed.

    Fourth, as a non-exempt employer:
    Non-exempt employers (which is kind of nebulous, since there are numerous explicit and implicit loopholes) are no longer allowed to search an employee's car for a firearm on the company premises. I am pretty sure this was extremely uncommon to begin with. If the non-exempt employer finds out about a gun in a car, they also may not fire the employee for breach of that particular company policy. However, they can fire them because their car is the wrong color, or their hair is parted in the wrong direction.

    Having exempt and non-exempt employers is kind of stupid, as Judge Hinkle points out. This is mostly a case of stupid, poorly executed legislation that really accomplishes nothing. It would have been cleaner to simply say: "A person's private conveyance is an extension of his/her castle, and thus is inviolable and sacrosanct, except by lawful authority under existing standards."

    Update 2:
    I meant to comment on the argument used by the Florida Chamber of Commerce regarding OSHA violations. What utter bullshit.

    [Comments are closed after a month.]

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