April 9, 2007
Legislation has been filed for the 2007 Legislative Session that would impose a $10,000 fine for businesses and other private property owners that have policies prohibiting any legal product, including guns, on their property. These bills would strip private property owners of property rights protected by the U.S. Constitution and Florida Constitution. Although the united business community stopped similar attempts by the National Rifle Association (NRA) in 2006, the fight to protect property rights and prevent government intrusion continues in 2007 with the filing of Senate Bill 2356 and House Bill 1417. And now, the personal injury trial lawyers and big labor unions have sided with the NRA to continue this attack on businesses and other landowners.
The NRA has launched a national campaign to pass “Guns At Work” legislation in more than 20 states. They want the government to force us to allow employees to bring a gun (even an AK47) on a business’ private property. This is outrageous, considering individual businesses and employees have been deciding what is best for their workplaces and homes for hundreds of years. Private property owners should continue to have the right and responsibility to make decisions on this issue. After all, they can be sued for accidents and injuries occurring on their property even if committed by a criminal.
Through this legislation, the NRA is undermining the Florida’s employment-at-will doctrine by creating a new protected class of employees, and shielding them from discipline for a range of conduct or even termination. It is clear that employees may agree, as a condition of employment, to various policies waiving a wide variety of rights derived from both federal and state law, such as policies on drug testing, manner of dress and political speech. If Guns At Work legislation passes, businesses will be deprived of their right to manage their employees and Florida will experience an increase in workplace-related litigation. (Now you know why the trial lawyers association is supporting the bills.)
Unfortunately, legislators on the Senate Criminal Justice Committee passed SB 2356 on March 27 after the NRA and their friends, the labor bosses and personal injury trial lawyers, supported the bill. We also expect the Senate Judiciary Committee to pass this bill on Tuesday, April 10. The good news is that the House bill has not yet been heard by its only council of reference and the Senate bill will still need to pass the full Senate. Our dedicated lobby team is working to defeat Guns At Work legislation again and needs your help. The Florida Chamber’s Guns At Work Coalition is fighting to ensure that private property owners continue to have the right to decide what is best for their property. Coalition members may be called upon to:
- Educate legislators on the harmful effects of the Guns At Work bills;
- Provide committee testimony on the business community’s perspective; and
- Contact local media about the NRA’s attempt to dramatically expand the second amendment.
Adding your voice to this important coalition is critical. To get involved in the fight to protect private property rights and join the Guns At Work Coalition, call 850.521.1200.