Florida Lawsuit Seeks to Allow Local Govts to Regulate Guns
Everytown for Gun Safety has coordinated a lawsuit on behalf of three Florida cities: Coral Springs, Coconut Creek, and Pembroke Pines, naming several Florida officials, including Governor Rick Scott. Their premise is that a Florida state preemption law penalizes individual cities from enacting their own gun laws for “safety.” The cities reportedly want to enact bans on “high capacity magazines,” and am y go even further in some cases. And there are other lawsuits in the wings regarding the preemption law – lawsuits seeking to return gun control to the local level.
After being pressured by Everytown, of course.
In the aftermath of the February mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in nearby Parkland, Coral Springs commissioners sought to enact a local ban on guns deemed to be “assault weapons” but backed down over the prospect of heavy fines from the state and removal from office by the governor. This, Everytown holds, leaves cities who want tougher gun laws short.
“Local elected officials should not be threatened with severe penalties for passing public safety measures, and we welcome the opportunity to represent these cities and public servants taking a stand to protect their communities,” said Eric Tirschwell, an Everytown spokesman.
The lawsuit is the second challenging Tallahassee filed in recent weeks. In March, 10 Miami-area cities banded together to argue the state’s preemption law unconstitutionally prohibits local governments from enacting their own gun restrictions and are seeking to defang the longstanding measure. St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman announced this week he intends to become the 11th city in that suit.
The other cities in that lawsuit include Weston, Miramar, Pompano Beach, Lauderhill, Miami Gardens, South Miami, Pinecrest, Cutler Bay, Miami Beach Coral Gables, and now Tallahassee.
Under Florida’s preemption statute, cities who want to enact individual gun regulations that go against the full state law are “preempted” from doing so.
Title XLVI Chapter 790 of the code reads:
“PREEMPTION.—Except as expressly provided by the State Constitution or general law, the Legislature hereby declares that it is occupying the whole field of regulation of firearms and ammunition, including the purchase, sale, transfer, taxation, manufacture, ownership, possession, storage, and transportation thereof, to the exclusion of all existing and future county, city, town, or municipal ordinances or any administrative regulations or rules adopted by local or state government relating thereto. Any such existing ordinances, rules, or regulations are hereby declared null and void.”
Florida recently enacted a wide ranging gun control bill, but this lawsuit seeks to give cities the ability to make it even more strong. They think they are doing this for “safety.”