TALLAHASSEE - The National Rifle Association is pushing a bill that would penalize Florida employers with prison time and lawsuits if they prohibit people from keeping guns in their cars at workplace parking lots.
But the proposal is facing stiff opposition from a group just as powerful in the state capital as the NRA: Florida's biggest business lobby.
Mark Wilson, a vice president of Florida's Chamber of Commerce, which represents 136,000 businesses, said the proposal, to be voted on today in a House committee, is ''an all-out assault'' on employer-employee relations that intrudes on private property rights.
Okay, we've lost this one already. They've played the PropertyRights Card.
Wait a minute, this doesn't work for private citizens. Why should it work for businesses?
Do we have property rights? According to the US Constitution, we do.
According to the Supreme Court, we don't.
With other business groups expected to join in, the widespread opposition to the NRA bill sets the stage for a rare power struggle between two of the Legislature's mightiest lobbies. And some political observers predict that, for one of the first times in recent history, the NRA will lose in the Legislature of a state where one of every 49 people has a concealed weapons permit and an estimated six million own firearms.And Big Business has 49 out of 50 legislators in their pocket.
Anybody want to make a prediction on this one?
Here's mine: the NRA is counting on Roberts and Alito to be firmly entrenched by the time this reaches the Supreme Court of the United States, and they have a feeling that if they don't win the issue, they may score broader points vis-a-vis the whole Second Amendment thingie.
On the other hand, the NRA "leadership" (hah!) has consisted of a bunch of lunkheads for the past twenty years, with the possible exceptions of Jeff Cooper and Charlton Heston.
Cooper (85 next May 10) is pretty broken-down now, and Heston (82 next October 4) is in an advanced state of senility, but between the two of them they STILL have more guts, gumption and good sense than the entire current NRA-BOD.
They might be able to pull off a hat-trick like this, but I don't think the Ninnies at NRA can do it.
(I don't know, maybe I'm over-rating the NRA. What do you think?
Bill sponsor Rep. Dennis Baxley, an Ocala Republican, said he filed the legislation to prevent ''back-door gun control.'' In the past two years, he has successfully sponsored bills limiting lawsuits against gun ranges, preventing cops from compiling electronic lists of gun owners and expanding people's rights to use deadly force if they feel threatened outside their homes.
''We just disagree that the business community's private property rights trumps my Second Amendment rights,'' Baxley said, noting he doesn't personally support carrying firearms in the workplace.
Under the bill, if business owners ban guns in cars on workplace parking lots, they could get sued and charged with a third-degree felony, punishable by a maximum five-year prison sentence and a $5,000 fine. The bill has an exception for places like schools, where guns are banned by law.
Do they really believe they can get, say, a ConicoPhillips Distributer thrown into jail?)
The measure was inspired by a case out of Oklahoma in 2002, when a dozen paper mill workers were fired after bosses found out they had guns in their cars. Oklahoma lawmakers passed a law similar to the Florida proposal, and business owners sued in federal court. Among them: ConocoPhillips. The NRA then launched a boycott, replete with billboards saying, ''ConocoPhillips is no friend of the Second Amendment.'' Since then, four states have passed laws like Oklahoma's, seven are considering them, and five killed the idea with relatively little debate, said Peter Hamm, spokesman for the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.Oh oh, The Brady Bunch!
Hmmm ... perhaps it comes down to whether our Ninnies can beat their Nincompoops.
It's going to be an interesting show to watch.
Anybody got Popcorn?