Scott Powers | Sentinel Staff Writer
July 8, 2008
Walt Disney World fired a security guard on Monday after he protested the company's decision not to allow people with concealed weapons permits to keep guns in their cars on Disney property.
Disney terminated Edwin Sotomayor, 36, of Orlando for violating three Disney employee policies, essentially for failing to cooperate with an internal investigation, said spokeswoman Zoraya Suarez. Sotomayor vowed to continue his fight.
At issue is Florida's new law that allows people with concealed weapons permits to keep firearms in their vehicles in employee parking lots.
Disney advised its employees late last month that the theme-park resort is exempt from that state law, and that they may not bring firearms onto the property. Disney stated that its gun policy is based on safety concerns for visitors and employees.
Sotomayor alerted local media last week that he intended to challenge Disney's claim of an exemption to the new law by bringing a gun to work, locked in his vehicle. When he showed up for work at Disney's Animal Kingdom on Friday, he declined to let Disney authorities search his car. Disney suspended him pending an investigation, then fired him Monday.
Sotomayor expressed distress about the end of his 13-year career at Disney, but not regret. He said he expects the security guards' union, Security Police & Fire Professionals of America Amalgamated Local 603, to challenge his termination, and he intends to continue his own challenge of Disney World's gun policy.
"I am not going to stop this fight," he said. "This is going to end somewhere good."
The security guards' union, Local 603, would not comment, referring inquiries to Disney World.
Scott Powers can be reached at email@example.com