A Disney employee was suspended after challenging the company’s gun policy.
Edwin Sotomayor is a security guard at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. He said Disney is violating his rights by not allowing him to bring his gun to work.
"When it comes down to my personal rights, that’s where I draw the line," Sotomayor said.
Under a new state law that went into effect on Tuesday, Floridians with concealed weapons permits are allowed to keep firearms locked in their cars while on the job.
Disney claimed a loophole in the new law means the company does not have to comply. There is an exemption for businesses that import, manufacture or deal in explosive materials and Disney has a federal permit to handle fireworks.
Sotomayor said Disney has a weak excuse and he arrived at work on Friday with his gun locked in his trunk.
"I’m ready to be terminated because their stance is zero tolerance, if that’s the case, let it be," Sotomayor said. "They want to control government. They want to control society, society is us."
A video shot by Sotomayor on Friday shows Disney bosses and sheriff’s deputies waiting for him.
They asked him if they could search his vehicle, and when he refused, he was suspended and banned from the property.
"They are breaking the law," Sotomayor said. "I mean policy is one thing, but policies do not rule society, the law does."
Sotomayor said he is prepared to wage a legal battle if he is fired.
"Of course, it’s not just for me. It’s for everyone involved in this," Sotomayor said.
Disney spokeswoman Zoraya Suarez explained the suspension.
"Mr. Sotomayor refused to allow a search of his car as part of our continuing policy prohibiting guns on our property," Suarez said.
Other Disney employees agree with the company’s policy.
"No guns on property," Disney employee Lee Morgan said. "It’s a family facility. I don’t think their should be any firearms at all."Sotomayor said the issue is not his safety at work; it is his safety during his commute.
"I’m willing to lose my job," Sotomayor said. "I’m not the only one; I’m doing this for everyone."
Disney did not say if Sotomayor is suspended with or without pay.
A spokesman for the union that represents Disney’s security guards said he personally supports Sotomayor’s efforts, but also believes Disney should be able to keep guns off the property if they have a valid exemption.