Tuesday, July 01, 2008 DATE: July 1, 2008 TO: USF & NRA Member and Friends FROM: Marion P. Hammer USF Executive Director NRA Past President Today, House Bill 503 by Representative Greg Evers and Senator Durell Peaden takes effect. Officially, HB 503 is known as the "Preservation & Protection of the Right to Keep & Bear Arms in Motor Vehicles Act of 2008," even though elements of the business community continue to call it the “Guns at Work Law.” This new law protects existing constitutional and statutory rights. Law-abiding gun owners can continue to have firearms in their private vehicles, for self-defense and other lawful purposes without fear of punitive actions against them by anti-gun businesses and employers. Under the new law, any business or employer who violates the constitutional and statutory right of customers or employees to have firearms locked in their private vehicles can now be punished. ALSO, under this new law, business owners will benefit from immunity from liability if guns stored in vehicles in the businesses parking lot are used to cause harm on the business property. THE LAW APPLIES TO ALL BUSINESSES, ALL CUSTOMERS & EMPLOYEES. The law covers ALL employers and businesses. The Legislature passed and Governor Crist signed it into law to protect the right of ALL law-abiding citizens to protect themselves. The law requires employees who park in their employer's parking lot to have a concealed weapons license in order to be exempt from a policy that prohibits employees from having guns -- IF THEIR EMPLOYER HAS SUCH A POLICY. Customers and invitees are not required to have concealed weapons licenses in order to have firearms in their vehicles when they park their vehicles in business parking lots. The legislation does not prohibit any employer from having a policy that bars employees from having guns on the employer's property. It merely exempts employees, who have a concealed weapons license, from the policy as it relates to having a gun locked in their private vehicle in the parking lot. Employees who do not have concealed weapons licenses are subject to an employer’s anti-gun, gun ban policy. Nothing in the law allows an employer/business owner/business manager to prohibit customers or invitees from having firearms locked in their private vehicles in a publicly accessible parking lot. In fact, the law specifically stops any such action against customers and invitees. The ONLY people who can be prohibited from having legal firearms lawfully stored in a car in a publicly accessible parking lot are employees who do not have concealed weapons licenses and who work for an employer that has a gun ban POLICY. The U.S. Supreme Court has just ruled that the Second Amendment guarantees an individual right that belongs to all Americans and is not connected to militia service. Further, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that self-defense is central to the Second Amendment. That is exactly what this law is all about: preserving and protecting your individual right to have and carry (keep and bear) firearms in your vehicle for self-defense against attackers and for other lawful purposes, AND to provide penalties to stop anti-gun businesses from violating those rights. While the law does not provide new rights for gun owners, IT DOES PROVIDE NEW BENEFITS FOR BUSINESSES. Yesterday, business owners had no immunity from liability if a firearm stored in a vehicle in its parking lot was used to cause harm on its property. TODAY, they do have immunity.