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Florida Enacts "Take Your Guns to Work Act"

    Client Alerts
  • April 18, 2008

Barring an unlikely veto from its Republican governor, Florida will become the first state in the U.S. to prohibit employers from banning employees from keeping licensed firearms in their personal vehicles on company property.  The new “Take Your Guns to Work Act” allows employees, independent contractors, vendors, customers, invitees and others to carry firearms in locked vehicles.  Property owners will not be permitted to search vehicles on their property for the purpose of locating firearms, legal or otherwise.  Employers and property owners can be sued for civil damages, injunctive relief and attorneys fees for violating the new law, which will take effect on July 1.

In addition to the ban on weapons kept in personal vehicles, employers will not be allowed to discipline or discriminate against any employee who uses a firearm on their premises in a manner consistent with constitutional rights, or in self-defense.  This assumes that the weapon is used at all times in a lawful manner.  The new law does not provide employers or property owners with any relief from liability claims relating to use of firearms on their property.

The new law contains limited exceptions for schools, correctional institutions, and properties with hazardous or security-sensitive materials.  It may draw constitutional attacks alleging interference with private property owners’ rights to maintain control over their own premises.

Absent legal reversal of the new law, employers with Florida operations will need to revise their firearms/weapons policies to account for the new law.  Successful implementation of the Florida law will certainly trigger similar legislative efforts in other states.