Disney gun lawsuit makes mockery of court challenges


    What is it with people in Florida?

    It seems any time there is a ridiculous court case receiving national attention, Florida is somehow involved.

    First, the 2000 Presidential Election and the following Supreme Court circus, then the Terri Schiavo case, and now, a surprising Second Amendment-based lawsuit against the infamous Walt Disney Corporation.

    According to a report in Monday’s edition of the Orlando Sentinel, former Walt Disney World security guard Edwin Sotomayor filed a lawsuit Friday challenging Disney’s ban on employees bringing guns to work and seeking to get his job back.

    He was fired July 7 from his job as an unarmed security guard at Disney’s Animal Kingdom when he refused to cooperate with company officials who wanted to know whether he had brought a gun to work with him. 

    Sotomayor admitted he had brought a gun – a .45-caliber Springfield — but he would not speak with Disney officials about it because he believes he has the right to bring the weapon to work and not be subject to search. 

    The dispute, according to a Friday report in the Miami Herald, arose because of a “new and controversial National Rifle Association-backed law” which gives Floridians the right to carry guns almost anywhere in their cars, including to their places of employment. Disney World claims to be exempt from the new law because of a provision that exempts companies that hold federal permits for the use of explosives. Disney has such a permit for its fireworks shows.

    Sotomayor’s lawsuit, filed at the Orange County Courthouse, claims his constitutional rights were violated and asks Disney to give him back his job.
    He was quoted in a CNN report as saying: “It is a big deal to me, and it is a big deal to me and thousands of people around the country that believe Disney is, you know, very un-American, and obviously, on the Fourth of July, they became very un-American.”

    Zoraya Suarez, spokeswoman for the Disney Corp., reaffirmed its position on the matter: “We have no idea what this lawsuit is about. It doesn’t change our position that the exemption is clear. We won’t compromise the safety of our guests and cast members at the Walt Disney World Resort.”

    While there is much debate surrounding the Second Amendment, with valid arguments on both sides of the aisle, surely we can agree that there must be some limitations.

    What exactly is the rationalization behind carrying a gun at Disney World? Was Sotomayor planning hunting? With a .45-caliber hand gun? Perhaps it was for self-defense purposes — just in case Mickey Mouse gets a little testy.    
    Placing limitations on a constitutionally guaranteed right is a very serious issue that requires serious consideration and debate. This lawsuit and others like it do nothing but make a mockery of the rights which they claim to be protecting.

    In this case, the Disney Corporation appears to be well within its rights to fire Sotomayor. The law, and common sense, is on its side, even if it is “un-American.”

Jessica Hensley is a sophomore in political science. Please send comments to opinion@spub.ksu.edu.