Private Property Owners in Florida can prohibit those entering their property from bringing firearms with them inside the business or from carrying on their person on the property. However, FS 790.251 was enacted to give credence to the legislative policy of the state of Florida that individual citizens have a constitutional right to keep and bear arms, that they have a constitutional right to possess and keep legally owned firearms within their motor vehicles for self-defense and other lawful purposes, and that these rights are not abrogated by virtue of a citizen becoming a customer, employee, or invitee of a business entity. In other words, our legislature stated that the citizens of Florida have a constitutional right to keep a firearm loaded in their vehicle and that this right is not given up because they become an employee, or customer of a business in this state.
Further, employers may not ask either in writing or verbally whether or not there is a firearm in the vehicle of employees or customers. This applies to both private employers and public (government) employers.
Florida Law states: No public or private employer may prohibit any customer, employee, or invitee from possessing any legally owned firearm when such firearm is lawfully possessed and locked inside or locked to a private motor vehicle in a parking lot and when the customer, employee, or invitee is lawfully in such area. Further, employers are prohibited from searching or making verbal or written inquiry about the presence of firearms in the vehicle.
However, as with most laws, there are exceptions. For this law the exceptions include:
School property, correctional institutions, nuclear power plants, and properties where substantial activities involve national defense, aerospace or homeland security, a company car, property where explosives are manufactured or where prohibited by federal or state law.
Unfortunately, the Federal District Court for the Northern District of Florida ruled that most provisions of the law were unconstitutional. See Florida Retail Assoc. v. Attorney General, 576
F. Supp 2d 1281 (n.D. Fla. 2008) which held that only employees with CWFLs were protected by this statute. Therefore, it appears that until this law is rewritten, a business can prohibit customers from entering their property with a firearm in their vehicle.