Florida’s Gun Law – Mostly OK Legally, But Good Policy?

The challenge to one of the most recent laws prohibiting employers from banning firearms from their parking lots is summed up well in a post on the Florida Employment Law Blog, Florida Judge Upholds Most of “Bring Gun to Work” Law; Rejects Customer Section as Unconstitutional. I agree, to a point, with the author’s analysis of the decision:

I think Judge Hinkle got it right when he concluded that whether the statute will lead to an increase or decrease is not clear, but that its effects will be marginal in any event.

I think that is accurate in that there will be relatively few incidents where a gun will actually make its way from the parking lot to a role in the workplace incident.

That still doesn’t change my view that such laws are bad policy. First, the consequences of the one time that a gun is used so overshadows the times that it is not used, as to counterbalance all except the most potent of arguments. And I am not a big believer in the “deterrence effect” which seems to be the only argument made in support of such legislation.

Since I haven’t really looked at the underlying legal arguments, I am not in any way arguing that Judge Hinkle got it wrong. A judge, doing his or her job properly, doesn’t get to make value judgments about whether something is good public policy. My beef is with the Florida legislature and their counterparts in the nine other states that have passed such legislation. See, Employer Firearm Policies: Parking Lots, State Laws, OSHA, And The Second Amendment for a discussion of the currently enacted statutes.

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