Florida Senate Panel OKs Guns In Workplace
House Bill Allows It Only For People With Permits
POSTED: 9:42 am EDT March 20, 2008
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A bill that would allow Florida residents to take firearms to work and store them in their vehicles is gaining ground in the Legislature after failing last year.
The Senate Committee on Criminal Justice approved the bill with a 7-1 vote. It would allow employees to keep guns in their cars at work, as long as the guns were locked in the trunk or glove compartment.
A similar bill being considered in last year's legislative session failed ess than a week after 32 people were shot at Virginia Tech University.
The House version of the bill (HB 503), which was approved last week by the Environment and Natural Resources Council, would allow only people with concealed weapons permits to bring their guns to work.
The Senate version (SB 1130) gives the right to all gun owners.
Supporters of the bill say people have a constitutional right in the Second Amendment to carry firearms and they should be able to keep guns in their cars for protection.
"I think Americans have a right to protect themselves," Mike Italia told WJXT's Nikki Preede. "I'm all for it."
Businesses oppose the gun legislation, arguing that employers have a constitutional right to set the rules on their own property and should be able to ban guns there if they choose.
"We had an incident with an employee bringing a gun to work, which frightened everybody," said Vince Ferrigno, who owns a small manufacturing firm. "That's one of the reasons I think it's a problem."
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