A new gun law in Florida grants employees the right to store properly-licensed firearms in their privately-owned locked vehicles at work, for self-defense.
In summary, the new “guns at work law” prohibits employers from:
- Searching privately-owned employee vehicles specifically for firearms
- Conditioning employment based on whether or not employees or job applicants possess licensed firearms
- Discharging or otherwise discriminating against employees for lawfully exercising their right to keep and bear arms or for lawfully using their firearms in self-defense
The guns at work law does not, however, permit employees to carry firearms into the workplace nor does it permit employees to exhibit firearms, except for lawful self-defense. The gun law also includes exemptions that allow covered employers to legally implement “no-guns” policies.
Florida Governor Charlie Crist signed the related bill into law on April 15, 2008. The new gun law is rather verbosely entitled “Preservation and Protection of the Right to Keep and Bear Arms in Motor Vehicles Act of 2008“. It becomes effective on July 1, 2008.
For legal advice regarding Florida’s guns at work law, consult an attorney.
On July 28, 2008, Federal Judge Robert Hinkle issued a ruling on an injunction filed to block the new guns at work law, in the case of Florida Retail Federation v. Attorney General. The judge allowed a preliminary injunction to block the new law as it applies to businesses and their invitees and customers, but not as it applies to employers and their employees. The new gun law went into effect on July 1, 2008 as planned.
Subsequently, Florida employees who possess valid concealed weapons permits still have the right to store firearms in their privately-owned locked vehicles in employer-owned parking lots; at least for the time being. Employee under the new gun law means an employee, independent contractor or volunteer worker, while employer means a business that employs at least one employee.