Florida Cities Challenge State Preemption on Gun Control
This past Monday, ten south Florida cities joined together to challenge a state law. The lawsuit (included below) against Gov. Rick Scott, Attorney General Pam Bondi among other state officials, was filed in Leon Circuit Court roughly six weeks after the Parkland shooting. Weston, Florida lead the litigation effort after the city’s mayor, Daniel Stermer, was stymied in his desire to take action on gun control. Cities that have joined Weston in this lawsuit are Miramar, Pompano Beach, Pinecrest, South Miami, Miami Gardens, Miami Beach, Coral Gables, Cutler Bay, Lauderhill and recent talk of Tallahassee agreeing to join and overturn the statewide gun regulations. The plaintiffs include over 31 elected officials in south Florida cities and a population of over 700,000.
In Florida, the state is allowed to regulate firearm laws, not the cities. The penalties for local government officials who ignore this – by posting signs prohibiting guns in city parks, for example – can include removal from office, a $5,000 fine that must be paid from their personal funds and lawsuits from any person or groups that were affected. This has effectively stopped any local official from taking any action on gun legislation until Parkland. Since that time though, officials have been speaking up. If successful, Stermer says he’s asking his city commission to pass an ordinance that would prohibit guns in Weston’s public buildings and parks.
The penalties targeting local officials were added in 2011 to a law that already preempted cities and counties from regulating firearms. If successful, some cities are considering bans on high velocity semi-automatic rifles and high-capacity magazines. They hope to put those 2 measures on the ballot for voters to consider statewide after gun control advocates unsuccessfully tried to get those provisions added to the bill recently passed by the state legislature.
Here’s the whole 45-page pdf below. Go take a look and be sure to let us know what you think in the comments below.
Better yet, come chat with us to make your voice heard now!
- Photo by Mark Wallheiser/Associated Press.
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