September 23, 2020

Florida Gun Bill Stalls

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Florida was just beginning the debate in the House of Representatives, when it became clear that the Republican controlled House was all over the board on House Bill 129. HB129 if passed, would force business owners to allow its employees to have guns in their cars while parked on business property.

The business owners in Florida mounted a strong defense for their right to control their property rights. They say passage of this bill would seriously jeopardize the safety of its employees and their own business.

The NRA is supporting the bill that was sponsored by Dennis Baxley (R) Ocala. They cite personal safety and 2nd Amendment issues as reasons for passage of the bill. They say that people going to and leaving the workplace have a right to protect themselves.

As the debate began to heat up, it became clear that the Republicans were split in which side to take. The Republican controlled House has historically sided with Florida business and gun rights issues.

After a few feeble attempts at discussing compromises, it was decided to table the bill and go to work behind the scenes to work out some compromises. It was obvious nobody at this point in time wanted to force the Republicans to take a side.

The NRA’s argument about business being able to tell its employees what they can bring to work in their cars, is simply big business controlling the personal lives of its workers. I agree to a point. The representatives of the business lobby fighting this bill say that if this passes and employees are allowed to bring their guns to work and keep them in their cars, it is a major violation of that businesses private property rights. Isn’t that stance hypocritcal? If that is a clear violation of their property rights, isn’t prohibiting things in a person’s automobile also a clear violation of personal property rights?

This is a complicated issue. Does one right trump another? If an employer can dictate to its employees that they can’t bring a gun to work in their car, what else can they then dictate? Does the business owner have the right to inspect every car upon entry to the parking lot?

These are all good questions and I don’t know who will answer them. Ultimately, I believe it will be decided in the courts and I don’t even like the thoughts of how our judges will view this issue.

Tom Remington

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