October 06, 2005
Customer and employee experiences of Frontier Land at Disney World might match the real thing if two Florida legislators succeed with a National Rifle Association bill they’ve proposed.
The bill makes it a third degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison and $5,000 in fines if any business enforces company policies that prohibit employees from stowing guns in the trunks of cars and trucks at work.
Roughly five percent of adult Floridians carry concealed weapons – which suggests that up to 2,850 of Disney’s 57,000 cast members (employees) could be packing iron in the Disney parking lot – something company policy now prohibits.
Like other businesses, Disney’s concern is safety. Three of four workplace homicides involve guns. Business folks figure the farther away the weapon, the less likely the violence.
"If they have to get in the car and drive home to get a gun, chances are they are going to cool down a little bit," said a spokesman for Weyerhaeuser who opposed a similar bill passed in Oklahoma.
Supporters of the bill counter: "For a business to tell you that in order to come onto their property, you have to give up your constitutional right is wrong." Adds, Joe Negron, co-sponsor and candidate for state attorney general, "An employer needs to recognize the right of its employees to lawfully defend themselves."
Negron and the NRA have a better grip on how to win votes and contributions from some of the people who like to carry concealed weapons than they do about the requirements of the Second Amendment to the Constitution:
“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
Though awkwardly written, the amendment’s dependent clause (‘necessary to the security of a free State”) describes the purpose and the limits of the right to bear arms.
In plainer English, and as interpreted by The Supreme Court: The right to bear arms exists so that State’s can have well regulated militia’s to protect the State.
The individual right has a group purpose – the maintenance of militias and the protection of States. Like much of the Constitution, it balances the rights and responsibilities of “I’s” – individuals – with the interests and purposes of “we’s” – the ‘people’.
The proposed Florida law seeks to overthrow the Constitution’s plain meaning in favor of extreme individualism. There is, for example, no provision in the bill requiring those carrying concealed weapons to be active members in the Florida National Guard – something that might be more in line with the Second Amendment, but hardly the kind of thing to win votes for Negron because, I suspect, the 353,000 armed Floridians would rather continue being inconvenienced by company policies than, say, find themselves doing a tour of duty in Iraq.
This weekend brought news of more bombings that killed tourists in Bali. Along with the terrible loss of life, this will hit Bali’s economy hard – which, undoubtedly, was a primary objective of the terrorists. It’s the kind of incident that should reinforce Disney’s determination to figure out how best to do security screening at it’s theme parks – which, if you think about it, is the kind of task envisioned by the spirit of the Second Amendment; namely, an action taken to make us – to make ‘we’ -- safer.
Only, now there might be a catch. If the NRA and Negron have their way in Florida, Disney’s legal authority to check for weapons will apply to customers only. The 95% of Disney employees, who don’t pack iron, and presumably would ballot in favor of current Disney policy, will run the risk of learning the tragic way about those who prefer unbridled individualism to the common good.