Local businesses respond to new gun law

Governor Charlie Christ passes law for right to keep and bear arms in motor vehicles

By Lauren Belcher | gargoyle@flagler.edu

A Florida law went into effect this July that says employers can no longer bar employees from concealing a registered gun in their car.

Also covered by the law are volunteers, interns and customers. Today, some local business owners are outraged and afraid of what will happen now that guns are allowed on their property.

The law, called the “Preservation and Protection of the Right to Keep and Bear Arms in Motor Vehicles Act of 2008,” had been debated by both the National Rifle Association and anti-gun corporations for more than three years, before being passed by Gov. Charlie Crist in April. Business owners argue they should have power over whether they have guns on their property.

A local shop owner in downtown St. Augustine said, “While I respect the employees’ right to carry a registered weapon, I am not comfortable with it being in their car where they have access to it. I think guns do not belong in or near the work place.” She asked to remain anonymous for fear of being targeted.

But, according to the National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Action, the second amendment, the right to bear arms, trumps the employers’ power over their employees.

Their Web site states, “NRA wanted to reinforce that it is wrong for corporations to arbitrarily demand that every man and woman on their payroll give up their right to defend themselves and their loved ones or give up their jobs.”

“I’m a gun activist, I’m a member of the NRA, and I believe that everybody has the right to protect themselves, especially in the time that we live in,” said Brian Woodland, an employee at St. Augustine Tobacco Company.

“So much other crime would be stopped if somebody responsible had a gun. I mean, the police can’t be everywhere at the same time…I think the workplace is a great place. Especially in businesses, especially businesses that don’t have security guards or cameras, people are being robbed, and I think this will discourage it,” said Woodland.

Brian Outtrim, owner of local eatery, Crab Grabbers Grill, was torn between the two sides.

“My greatest fear would be that criminals would know now that more cars have guns concealed in them. And that they would start to break into cars more frequently,” Outtrim said.

“Especially in certain professions, people will be more likely to carry guns. People that are out looking for guns are definitely going to start to use that as a venue to find more guns.”

A Georgia resident who was visiting St. Augustine said that the gun law is very similar to the ones in Georgia: “I don’t like it. An example is, what happens when people have a vehicle and they get upset and they have a gun available? Too many tempers, too much irrationality. People [are] not accountable and not responsible; I think guns should stay at home.”

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Be the first to comment on "Local businesses respond to new gun law"

Leave a comment