'Guns' passes Senate, Crist likely to sign
"They did the right thing. The people of this state deserve to have their rights protected, and that what was done today," said NRA lobbyist Marion Hammer, who watched the vote with former Rep. Dennis Baxley, R-Ocala. Gun rights advocates pushed the bill for three sessions.
The legislation (HB 503) prohibits businesses from barring employees who have concealed weapons permits from brining their guns to work and leaving them locked in a car. The measure has already passed the House, and now heads to Gov. Charlie Crist.
Crist indicated yesterday he is inclined to sign the bill. "I haven't made a final decision, but the Second Amendment is pretty important. It's the secone one," he told the Times. He said he was not moved by the claims of opponents that the bill tramples over private property rights. "Some are trying to make that juxtaposition," he said.
David Daniel, chief lobbyist for the Florida Chamber of Commerce, said business will urge Crist to veto the bill. But, acknowledging the odds, he also said a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of a law is "inevitable." Last year, a federal judge overturned a similar law in Oklahoma.
"Even in its watered down form, this bill still steals private property rights away from Floridians," Daniel said. "What gets lost in this debate is we used to stand with the NRA and fight big government telling us what we we're to do. It's odd."