October 6, 2015
The Florida House Criminal Justice Subcommittee today considered proposed legislation that creates a new government mandate providing gun owners with a new right to openly carry their gun on public and private property. Many businesses have contacted the Florida Chamber to say they are gun owners and fierce champions of their gun rights, but they are also private property owners and want their constitutionally enshrined private property rights equally protected. This legislation, as currently written, has fostered concern that these two fundamental rights are not adequately and equitably balanced, and instead creates a new government regulation on Florida businesses that would have politicians deciding what happens on privately owned property and businesses instead of property owners, employers and managers.
Today, Gary Hunter, a property rights lawyer for the Florida Chamber and owner of numerous firearms himself, testified in support of private property rights. Hunter voiced concerns that the bill could infringe on the property rights of business owners who want to retain their constitutional right and responsibility to decide what happens on their private property. Hunter’s comments were echoed by committee members, Rep. Scott Plakon (R-Longwood) and Rep. Ross Spano (R-Riverview). Rep. Spano expressed concerns that the bill did not allow private business owners, such as restaurateurs, to decide if weapons were not allowed in dining rooms.
Additionally, bill sponsor Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Shalimar) expressed his willingness to work with the Florida Chamber to protect private property rights by amending the legislation to find an appropriate balance. The bill passed 8-4, and will be heard by additional committees in the near future.
Take Action Now
Over the coming days, the Florida Chamber would like input from your company’s General Counsel regarding this proposed legislation, HB 0163. Please contact Frank Walker, Vice President of Government Affairs at firstname.lastname@example.org or 850-521-1211 for more details.