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AG: Disney on target with gun ban

Attorney General Bill McCollum has agreed that Disney should be allowed to ban employees from parking at its theme park with locked guns in their car, despite a new state law expanding the rights of concealed-weapons permit holders.

Disney's out: an exemption that said the law didn't apply to businesses with a federal explosives permit.

Outraged gun owners and the NRA had petitioned McCollum to decide the case, saying Disney shouldn't be allowed to get out of the new law, passed as a result of a Disney case.The law says employees can bring locked guns to work in their cars without interference. It doesn't empower them to bring the guns into the office or workplace itself.

Disney, though, backed off somewhat in its decision to fight the new law. It decided the exemption would only apply at the theme park, not all Disney-owned properties, such as its ticket offices or its land at Celebration.

McCollum's spokeswoman, Sandi Copes, said the office was pleased that Disney backed off its "overly broad definition."

McCollum's office now must decide if the Georgia Pacific paper-mill plant that makes bathroom tissue in Palatka can ban guns in the workplace parking lot. The company argues that it can ban the weapons because it wrote the prohibition into its security regulations signed off on by the U.S. Coast Guard. The new state law says employers can ban weapons in cars if a federal law prohibits the weapons.

The question McCollum must answer: Does a rule published in the federal register have the force of a federal law?

The NRA's lobbyist, Marion Hammer, said it was "outrageous that Georgia Pacific puts toilet paper in front of the Second Amendment." She couldn't be reached for comment on McCollum's Disney decision, nor could a Disney spokeswoman.

Here's Disney's letter:

Updated Policy Regarding Guns at Work
Effective August 16, 2008

In late June, we notified Cast Members, Imagineers and Crew Members that the new Florida law related to bringing guns to work does not apply to our Walt Disney World® Resort area property, which includes:
•       all Walt Disney World theme parks, water parks and Downtown Disney®;
•       all Walt Disney World hotels, including Disney Vacation Club resorts;
•       Disney’s Wide World of Sports Complex and other recreation areas;
•       hotels on Hotel Plaza Boulevard;
•       our offices and other support facilities within the Walt Disney World Resort area; and
•       all Cast Member and guest parking areas at all of the above locations.

Cast Members, Imagineers and Crew Members may not bring a gun to our Walt Disney World Resort area property at any time, even if they are visiting as a guest. This policy will continue to be strictly enforced. Reedy Creek Improvement District facilities are not subject to our policies.

We also announced in late June that Cast Members and Crew Members working at Disney's Vero Beach Resort, Port Canaveral, the La Quinta warehouse on Orange Blossom Trail and Disney-owned liquidation stores located outside of the Walt Disney World Resort area would be allowed to keep a gun locked in
their personal vehicle as permitted by the new law. There is no change to this aspect of our policy.

Due to uncertainty regarding how the new law applies to various other locations outside of the Walt Disney World Resort area, we are modifying our policy for our facilities at Celebration, Little Lake Bryan, Orlando International Airport, the Disney Reservation Centers in Orlando and Tampa,
and other facilities located in Orlando and Kissimmee outside of the Walt Disney World Resort area. Until further clarification is received, Cast Members at those facilities will be subject to the same policy in effect at the other locations outside of the Walt Disney World Resort area.

Specifically, those Cast Members will be allowed to keep a gun locked in their personal vehicle as long as they have a concealed-weapons permit, the gun is not visible, and the gun is not removed from the vehicle or exhibited for any reason other than lawful defensive purposes.

Guns may not be kept in our Company vehicles under any circumstances.

In addition, Cast Members, Imagineers and Crew Members who work outside of the Walt Disney World Resort area are not allowed to have a gun in their vehicle if they drive onto the Walt Disney World Resort area property.

The Florida Attorney General's office has determined that our Walt Disney World Resort area property is exempt from the new law.

A violation of this policy may lead to discipline, not excluding termination. If you want more information, please review the questions and answers and map of the Walt Disney World Resort area that are posted with this updated policy on The Hub, or contact your Leader or your department's
Human Resources representative.

The safety and security of Cast and Guests remain a top priority. Please practice safe behaviors at all locations. In an emergency, call 911. If you see a gun in a non-emergency situation, please call Security.

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