Take Your Gun to Work Day: The NRA versus Chamber of Commerce
by Matt Stoller, Thu Feb 23, 2006 at 09:17:40 AM EST
Big business declared victory over the gun lobby Wednesday in an escalating fight over whether employees should be allowed to take guns to work.
For the second time, the National Rifle Association failed to advance a proposal that would penalize businesses that prevent employees from keeping guns in their cars at work. Lawmakers in a House committee sidestepped a final vote after an hour and a half of debate that mostly focused on the troubles the law could create.
"Anyway you cut it, property owners and the Florida chamber won," said Mark Wilson, executive vice president of the Florida Chamber of Commerce. "And the NRA lost."
Apparently the wingers were squeezed:
Lakeland Republican Rep. Dennis Ross could speak from both sides.
"I'm sorry that we have to come to this crossroad where I have to make a decision between what I think are two very fundamental rights," said Ross, who said he belongs to the NRA, numerous hunting organizations and even holds a permit to carry a concealed weapon.
But he couldn't support the NRA's bill.
"While I believe that my Second Amendment rights are very important to me, as a business owner my private property rights are (paramount)," said Ross, a lawyer.
And now there's political organizing going on against each other.
So the fight continues, with lobbyists on both sides accusing each other of negotiating in bad faith.
At the Florida chamber, Wilson vowed to fire up a grass roots business lobby to make sure the NRA proposal doesn't return. That could mean everything from television ads to asking members of local business chambers to send e-mails in opposition.
"Now it's time to just go kill this bill the way it should have been done today," said Wilson, who doesn't expect the NRA to give up. "The NRA in Florida, as far as I know, never lost a bill before. ... We're in uncharted territory. They're unpredictable."
The Republican coalition is quite solid until it gets picked apart. Really weird wedge issues like this - should you get to take your gun to work - are where the future of political fights could happen.