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Bush lawyer enlisted by opposition to Florida HB503

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by Braz1956, Apr 14, 2008.

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  1. Braz1956

    Braz1956 Member

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    Will Crist sign? Lots of pressure being brought not to.
    He has until midnight Wednesday night to sign.


    http://www.tampabay.com/news/politics/state/article452031.ece

    Guns-to-work opponents pressure Crist

    By Alex Leary, Times Staff Writer


    TALLAHASSEE — Alarmed by passage of a bill allowing people to bring guns to work, opponents on Thursday huddled with a powerful constitutional lawyer and put pressure on Gov. Charlie Crist to veto the measure.

    Top business groups have enlisted Barry Richard, one of President Bush's advisers in the Florida vote recount in 2000, to research issues that could provide the basis for a court challenge.

    "An argument can be made that it doesn't serve any legitimate public purpose that overcomes private property rights," Richard said of the bill. "... They are saying you have to allow something on your property that could pose a significant hazard."

    The issue leapt to the forefront on Wednesday after the state Senate approved the bill on a party-line vote, something the House had already done. Crist has indicated he will sign it into law.

    The bill (HB 503) prohibits businesses from barring employees or customers from bringing firearms with them and leaving them in locked cars. Employers could not search vehicles, fire workers or remove customers who have guns as long as the weapon is not exhibited for any other reason than lawful self-defense.

    As a concession to get the bill passed, only employees with concealed weapons licenses would be protected. There are about 487,000 license holders in Florida.

    The issue represents an epic clash between two bedrock constitutional issues — gun rights and property rights.

    "The U.S. Constitution begins, 'We the people' not 'We the corporation,' " said Marion Hammer, the Florida lobbyist for the National Rifle Association who fought three years to get the bill passed.

    Hammer, who dismisses fears about increased workplace violence, points to the Second Amendment and additional protections in the state Constitution allowing people to bear arms and for the government to regulate that freedom.

    But opponents say that does not trump private property rights under the Fifth and 14th amendments as well as the state Constitution. University of Florida constitutional law professor Joe Little agreed.

    "The essence of the ownership of property is the right to exclude others from the property," he said. "It's like the old westerns — check your guns at the door."

    Last year, a judge struck down a similar law in Oklahoma, saying it conflicted with federal workplace safety guidelines. That decision, which has been appealed, would likely play a role in any legal challenge in Florida.

    The pro and con arguments in Florida, however, have been more focused on constitutional matters, portending a captivating legal showdown.

    In a sign of how delicate the situation is, powerful trade groups in Tallahassee declined to say whether they were laying the groundwork for a lawsuit.

    "We're focused on the governor's veto," said David Daniel, chief lobbyist for the Florida Chamber of Commerce, which was most aggressively fighting the legislation.

    Last week, Tampa-based Sweetbay Supermarket vented its concerns to state senators and Crist in an e-mail, calling the bill an "assault" on private-property owners and employers.

    "The passage of this bill will force businesses and any other private property owner to allow firearms on their property," the company wrote. "Even more disturbing, if I comply with the provisions of this legislation and it results in a gun-related crime being committed on my property, I may be held legally responsible!"

    Theresa Gallion, an attorney at Fisher & Phillips in Tampa, who represents businesses on employment issues, said her phone has been ringing nonstop since the bill passed Wednesday.

    "I'll tell you, our clients are apoplectic," she said. "It's as if the Legislature lost its mind and decided the Second Amendment was more important than any other law or interest of its kind. It's really weird."

    Gallion said some of her clients are already trying to figure out how they can get around the law, such as by "stretch(ing) the limits" of its few exemptions.

    Among the employers exempted by the bill are schools, defense contractors and businesses that make, use, store or transport certain combustible or explosive materials.

    Many manufacturers, for example, could seek protection under the latter exemption.

    "The employer, under federal and state law, has the ability to place reasonable limits on even the most cherished of our rights," Gallion said. "I can't use the F word at work without getting into trouble. These are reasonable, everyday restrictions to the Bill of Rights. The Second Amendment is not special."
     
  2. strat81

    strat81 Member

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    How is a gun that is locked in a trunk a hazard? Will it grow legs and arms, open the trunk, walk across the street, and shoot up a school... all by itself?
     
  3. XDKingslayer

    XDKingslayer member

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    He'll sign it because he knows what's good for him.
     
  4. Dave P

    Dave P Member

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    Why is Charlie dragging his feet here - sign the dang thing - that's what we want!
     
  5. bogie

    bogie Member

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    The real question (and it doesn't matter that some guy they hired worked for a Bush - I'm guessing the OP wants everyone to hate the Bush) is...

    What comprises the "top business groups" who are opposing the effort? That's where we need to bring the pressure to bear.
     
  6. Winchester 73

    Winchester 73 member

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    Those are the code words for Chamber of Commerce's and Better Business Bureaus's throughout our wonderful Sunshine State, who live off the contributions of the real big business in Florida:St Joe Paper,CSX Railroad,Florida Power and Light,etc,etc,etc.
     
  7. camacho

    camacho Member

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    Isn't there a provision in this bill that exempts business from liability?
     
  8. xsquidgator

    xsquidgator Member

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    I believe that provision was dropped while the bill was in committee.
     
  9. mp510

    mp510 Member

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    Actually, the opposition raises some good points on this one. Property rights are a big deal- back when politics were allowed here, people here were livid when the supreme court allowed much expanded eminent domain rights. This really broaches the line about telling people what they must allow other, surbodinant people, to do on their property.

    Marion Hammer's argument is also weak-
    1. The Second Ammendment has not been incorporated as applying to the states.
    2. Unless this is a bon-a-fide national defense issue, it should be a state matter, not a federal matter, to which the 2nd should not be brought into the equasion.
    3. Even with if this is signed, Florida is (rightfully) an at will employment state.
    4. Corporations are legal persons

    For pragmatic purposes, the bill is a good idea, and a path in the right direction. However, I would be pretty pissed if the government started telling me how to run my business or what to do with my property. Wouldn't you?
     
  10. bogie

    bogie Member

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    "code words" don't cut it. Lose the tinfoil. If someone's hiring someone, and they're public, there's a trail. If indeed the chambers of commerce are opposing this, then they need to get bombed with full e-mail boxes about how us damn yankees are going to take our tourism dollars elsewhere.
     
  11. Braz1956

    Braz1956 Member

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  12. Winchester 73

    Winchester 73 member

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    :D
    Bogie,I was trying to be succinct.No one has less tinfoil.:D
     
  13. bogie

    bogie Member

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  14. bogie

    bogie Member

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    C'mon. Are you guys talkers, or doers?
     
  15. strat81

    strat81 Member

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    Businesses are subject to quite a bit of government telling them what to do. Of course, there's stuff like EPA, OSHA, etc. Something that recently ruffled feathers in Nebraska was a statewide smoking ban. Aside from hotel rooms and medical research centers, you cannot smoke in any business in Nebraska, including all bars and restaurants.

    Bars and restaurants are ticked off.

    In some states you cannot sell your personal property (guns) unless the transaction goes through an FFL.

    The government already tells people what to do. I'm not saying it's right, but at least the spirit of this bill is not some bliss-ninny feel-good garbage. It's about the right of people to defend themselves and it seems like a fair compromise. Buildings are still under the control of the business, but parking lots are not. If I can already take my personal property (car) onto your real property (parking lot), what difference does it make what's locked in the trunk when I exit the vehicle?
     
  16. camacho

    camacho Member

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    I was not sure myself and checked the enrolled version on the Florida House website and this is what I found within:

    If I am reading this correctly, it appears that there is an immunity clause. Provided this is the case why such a vehement opposition to this bill from Big Business :confused:
     
  17. BHinNC

    BHinNC Member

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    Bad Move..

    I wanted to give you all another perspective on this. I see this as an extremely bad move on the part of the NRA, and only detrimental to our country.

    On first glance the bill may seem like a good thing, but property rights are nothing to screw with, and this bill completely has it's way with them.

    Everyone on this board should be against this measure, because eventually, it will serve as nothing but a tool to defeat us.

    My conversations with the NRA-ILA are here, check them out if you want to see where and why they are wrong.

    I value firearms as much as anyone on this board, but this battle is about more than guns.

    (Sorry if some see this as spam, if that's the case, hopefully the mods will just delete it.)
     
  18. Henry Bowman

    Henry Bowman Senior Member

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    BHinNC, your post is not spam. You stated an opinion, on topic and in a respectful manner. Whether the majority agrees with you does not determine whether the content of you opinion is "spam."

    Welcome to THR!
     
  19. mbt2001

    mbt2001 Member

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    BHinNC:

    I do agree with you to a point... Rights and Freedoms are in CONSTANT conflict with one another. That is the sign of a healthy national debate and democracy.
     
  20. CypherNinja

    CypherNinja Member

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    The only point I can make in this debate is that vehicles are often legally viewed as mobile pieces of private property.

    The bill does not say that employers must allow people to carry on the premises. It only states that employers must allow CCW holders to (securely and unobtrusively) store their carry guns in their car, which is the CCW holder's private property.

    It is a private property issue on both sides of the argument. The car is resting on the employers private property, yes, but the car itself and it's contents are the employees private property as well.
     
  21. Mannlicher

    Mannlicher Member

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    Once we get a positive decision with the Heller case, it will be a moot point. I believe the SCOTUS will decide that the right to keep and bear arms is an individual right. As such it should trump property rights to a large extent.
    The Florida Chamber and others opposed to this measure are blowing smoke, and are not being honest with their objections.
    Thank goodness that Crist signed the bill into law.
     
  22. bogie

    bogie Member

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    +438

    Heh, heh...
     
  23. BHinNC

    BHinNC Member

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    "It" fundamentally *is* a property right. The 2nd Amendment ties together two premises - that you have a right to life, and that you have a right to possess firearms. The combination of the two enables you to use the latter to maintain the former. Without each of these corollary rights, the 2nd is doomed.

    The Florida bill is minimizing one to emphasize the other. The problem is that any compromise for one also hinders the other.

    They have good reason supporting their opposition. Even as an advocate and CCW holder, If I were a business owner in that area I'd be pissed.

    If an individual’s right to property is subject to the whim of political consensus, then what’s the proposed wildcard for excluding a specific type of property (firearms) from such whim?

    -bh
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2008
  24. scurtis_34471

    scurtis_34471 Member

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    I think the entire stragegy behind this law is flawed. The law should have nothing to do with guns. It should simply deal with the fact that the inside of my car is my personal property and does not cease to be my property just because I park my car.
     
  25. TexasRifleman

    TexasRifleman Moderator Emeritus

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    Do they allow smoking in the parking lot?
     
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