New and expanded laws regarding firearms mean that they may be closer than you think - like at the parking lot at Sea World in Orlando or inside Atlanta's Hartsfield Airport.
At Walt Disney World, employees will not be allowed to carry guns in their cars at company parking lots.
The entertainment giant will make the Orlando parking lots gun-free zones, despite a new state law that allows Floridians with a concealed weapons permit to keep a firearm locked in their car while they work. The law took effect Tuesday.
Disney is not making any friends with backers of the law. They say they’re surprised that Florida’s largest single-site employer of 60,000 is using an exemption.
“You’ve got to be kidding me,” according to state Sen. Durell Peaden, one of the authors of the bill and a Republican from the Florida Panhandle tells the Orlando Sentinel.
But Disney has a long standing policy against guns on the 30,000 acre property. Agreeing with Disney is the Florida Chamber of Commerce and the Retail Federation which filed a lawsuit to stop the guns-to-work law from going into effect.
Last spring, their opposition was trumped by the powerful National Rifle Association and the legislature approved the “Preservation and Protection of the Right to Keep and Bear Arms in Motor Vehicles Act of 2008”.
The Orlando Sentinel obtained a memo from the Vice President of Public Affairs for Disney World saying that Disney “continues to maintain a zero tolerance policy” for guns. Bringing one to work could be grounds for termination.
Many readers to this Disney web site also agree with the decision, including comments from gun owners.
The law allows an exemption for a defense contractor, or explosives manufacturer. And a last minute revision to the bill included an exemption for any property leased or owned by an employer who has a permit for explosives.
Disney has a permit to use fireworks in its theme parks.
Disney says under that definition all of the theme parks, resorts, cast member parking lots, administrative offices, sports complex, hotels, Celebration and Disney Reservation centers in Orlando and Tampa are exempt. Not exempt are Disney Cruise Line’s crew parking lots and some other Disney properties in Florida.
And Universal is joining Disney in claiming an exemption. Not so at Sea World. The company believes in the rights of employees or visitors to transport legal firearms in their car, according to a spokeswoman.
Just to the north, a showdown over guns in public places in Atlanta is moving into the courts. The question is whether the Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport should be a “gun-free zone” despite a new state law in Georgia that allows licensed gun owners to carry concealed weapons in public places.
Atlanta’s airport is the world’s busiest at 89 million passing through it ever year.
Mayor Shirley Franklin told reporters that guns inside Hartsfield would “endanger millions of people” and that there is an exemption for areas with a “public gathering”. She wants any airport receiving federal funding to be a “gun-free zone”.
City officials say they will arrest anyone carrying a gun inside the airport.
The pro-gun group GeorgiaCarry.org attended the news conference with the mayor this week and handed her a 10-page lawsuit on behalf of the organization. Gun rights advocates say the law, which took effect July 1, upholds the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
GeorgiaCarry.org has already sued courts in Georgia counties to allow people to carry firearms into state parks. The law also allows those who have passed a criminal background check to carry a concealed firearm into restaurants that serve alcohol.
On Monday, Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue, who signed the legislation earlier this year, supported guns in the nation’s busiest airport and says his wife might want to pack a gun to walk between the terminal and parking lot.
“If my wife wanted to carry a gun, if she was going from the parking lot, walking from one of those far parking lots to pick up a grandchild or something like that, I think that's a good idea, yes," quotes the Las Vegas Sun.
An August 11th hearing has been set in U.S. District Court. GeorgiaCarry.org wants to obtain a restraining order to keep the airport from restricting guns. #