Florida Cities and Counties Knowingly Continue to Break State Law
By Sean Caranna
Florida - -(Ammoland.com)- Since 1987 it has been illegal for local Florida governments to regulate firearms and ammunition.
The preemption statute was passed then so that Florida gun owners would no longer face a patchwork of local laws that was impossible to keep up with. It was also passed to protect Floridians from local lawmakers who do not respect the citizens’ right to bear arms.
The Florida Legislature never imagined that local leaders would thumb their noses at Tallahassee and intentionally break the law despite clear statute and appellate court decisions. But they have for the past 24 years and the patchwork continued.
In 2010, Florida Carry, Inc. Co-Executive Director Richard Nascak and a cadre of volunteers organized on web forums and banded together in an grassroots effort to fix the problems at the local level. They contacted local governments and were shocked at the reactions they got. Local leaders were quite happy to make criminals of lawful gun owners because there was no penalty for politicians and bureaucrats breaking the state preemption law.
“So, sue us!” was the general and sometimes literal response. Lee County resident and attorney Patrick Buckley did just that. He filed a lawsuit against his county’s park carry ban, knowing there was no provision to even recover his costs and fees should he win.
Richard Nascak engaged State Rep. Paige Kreegel for help and the NRA got involved to draft legislation that would put teeth in the long-abused statute.
Volusia County traded arguments for months with Florida Carry, Inc. Co-Executive Director Sean Caranna over its woodland and airport carry bans but finally backed down and repealed the preempted ordinances in March 2011 once it became clear that the Firearms Preemption Enforceability bill was on track to pass.
During the 2011 session, the legislature made it clear that they had had enough. On October 1st 2011, new penalties and a vehicle for recovery of attorney’s fees and costs goes in to effect. With about 70 days left, to act Florida counties, cities, and agencies are on notice. Florida Carry will hold local leaders accountable and finally clear up the patchwork of unlawful restrictions on the right to bear arms in Florida.
Florida Carry is a non-profit, non-partisan, grassroots organization dedicated to advancing the fundamental civil right of all Floridians to keep and bear arms for self defense as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution and Article I Section 8 of the Florida Constitution. Florida Carry, Inc. was organized by a group of Florida gun rights activists in order to better coordinate activities, effectively lobby the state legislature, and to provide a legal entity capable of filing suit to demand compliance with state and federal law. Florida Carry stands only to represent our members and the over 6 million gun owners of Florida. We are not beholden to any national organization’s agenda that may compromise that mission.
Florida Carry works tirelessly toward repealing and striking down ill-conceived gun control laws that have been proven to provide safe havens to criminals and be deadly to law abiding citizens.