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Florida Workplace Gun Bill Shoots Blanks, But May Reload

May 21, 2007
A Florida bill that would have allowed employees to keep guns locked in their cars on company grounds may be dead for now, but observers say it will be back next year.

A Florida House committee version of the bill, which is sponsored by the National Rifle Association, was defeated in a 10-4 vote April 18, just two days after the shooting rampage at Virginia Tech that left 33 dead. A Senate version of the bill died on May 4 because of the House defeat.

But observers expect the National Rifle Association to bring up the bill again next year, which would mark the third time the Florida Legislature would vote on the bill.

“I have no doubt that the NRA will not give up the fight quickly or easily,” says Brian Siebel, a senior attorney at the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. “And if it does, the business community will come out even stronger against it.”

The bill has been a point of contention between business groups, the NRA and the Florida AFL-CIO, which came out in support of the bill in March.

“Our support never had anything to do with guns,” AFL-CIO spokesman Rich Templin says. “This is about protecting workers’ rights. When you drive to work, your car still belongs to you. Your privacy doesn’t end when you get to work.”

—Jessica Marquez