State Preemption Regarding Weapons – A Good Thing?

By Phillip Evans © 2016

Florida Firearms Preemption Violations March 2011
Florida Firearms Preemption Violations Map from March 2011, things have gotten much better.
AmmoLand Gun News
AmmoLand Gun News

USA –  -( Control is Control?

State Preemption means that a matter is reserved for regulation via state law only.

In other words, if something is placed under state preemption and is permitted by the state, then local governments are forbidden to pass any laws making it prohibited.

Local governments often howl about this, crying that they have lost control over something they should be able to control. And the one thing they want to control more than anything else, except perhaps tax dollars, is weapons.

More accurately, local governments want to control citizens who carry weapons.

Most, but not all of these local politicians crying foul regarding weapons preemption are Democrats. Their argument is that local control of weapons is best, since local folks know better than others how their community operates and what issues they have. And, the Democrats are fond of pointing out how Republicans harp on local control of school systems being better than state or federal control. That might make some pro gun-rights politicians blush when they speak in favor of state preemption when it comes to weapons. But it need not.

No need to have a logic fail here. You can pull but not push something with a rope. Just because one type of control is good doesn’t mean another kind of control is also good.

Apples and Oranges Anyone?

Local control of schools is best for a number of reasons. Which curriculum, which books, number of students per teacher, school hours, vacation days, etc. can be optimally set by local school boards composed of people in their community that understand their needs best.

Why not then allow local governments to regulate the possession and carrying of weapons such as firearms, knives, batons, and pepper spray, if local control works best for other things?

The main reason is that self-defense is a universal human right. If we all have lives we value, then we should all be able to safeguard them wherever we need to be. If local governments could successfully keep me and my family safe 100% of the time, I’d have to agree with them that they are doing something right. But if they are not able to do so, it means they are no longer responsible for my safety.

I don’t allow my children to carry weapons, but I also take full and complete responsibility for their safety. Local governments do not even come close to doing the same for adults in their towns and cities. Therefore, I must take responsibility for the safety of my family, if it cannot come from anywhere else.

If local governments wish to treat adults as children and put them under penalty of an adult spanking such as fines and jail for disobedience, then they had better pony up and take full responsibility for their citizens’ safety. They cannot have their cake and eat it, too.

And citizens must not fear arrest and the threat of jail time merely for crossing a city or town boundary where carry of weapons is legal in one local area but not the other. Do we really want to treat citizens with gotcha-style laws, just because we choose to bear arms for the purpose of not being crime victims?

But There’s A Sign!

No Weapons Permitted
No Weapons Permitted

Local governments can put up all the “No Weapons Permitted” signs they want in all their public areas and on their streets, but a criminal bent on getting money for his next drug high will ignore those signs and proceed to assault and rob at will using any weapon of his choosing.

If that’s true, then why shouldn’t I be able to use any common self-defense weapon of my choosing to protect my life and my loved one’s lives?

It would seem then, that signs are only useful for those who are inclined to obey them. And those who obey signs (if they are even noticed) are typically potential victims, and not criminals.

Recalcitrantly Disobedient

No, I’m not talking about rebellious mere citizens, but local government officials. For example – in 1987, the state of Florida passed a law putting into effect state preemption of firearms: Section 790.33, F.S., known as The Joe Carlucci Uniform Firearms Act.

The State Legislature reserved to itself the whole matter of firearms regulation. That meant that any local government could not make any rule or law more restrictive than state law. Any local laws passed must mirror state law with regard to firearms.

That did not set well with a whole bunch of Florida mayors, city council members, county commissioners, and others in local governments. So much so that they kept on doing what they were doing. These officials arrogantly disobeyed state law by continuing to forbid firearms in places that were now legal to be carried in or at by licensed citizens. And they left up those signs which they believed stopped criminals from carrying weapons. Much like they believed that flying unicorns sprinkled fairy dust to create rainbows.

Same Old, Same Old : These officials quickly went back to their happy selves, because in their eyes nothing had changed, and it was business as usual. There was no penalty to be found for thumbing their nose at the firearms state preemption law.


That “Bang!” was not a gunshot, but a hammer dropping. The year 2011 came along, and with it a new Florida state law, HB 45 which added penalties to Section 790.33, F.S. This meant that local officials who violated someone’s right to carry a firearm could now be fined up to $5000 and risk removal from office – that’s five big G’s and unemployment to boot.

Now perhaps they understand what it’s like to have a taste of their own medicine. They wanted to fine and jail their citizens merely for wanting to be armed for their protection. It serves these local officials right to be threatened with heavy fines and loss of their job for using their position of authority to try and deny free citizens their right of self-defense from criminals that would harm them.

The Prophets

2011 is when the volume of the screeching, screaming, and squawking really amped up.

“I think it’s the stupidest thing the Legislature has ever done,” said Sunrise Commissioner Don Rosen.

“I think the state Legislature went overboard,” said Margate Mayor Pam Donovan.

When HB 45 became law, prophetic predictions of the future were not in short supply. They were being given out like free candy to anyone who would listen.

“When it comes to the safety of my residents I feel very strongly that allowing guns to be in public parks is not a good practice,” said Coral Springs Mayor Roy Gold. “I’ve been at parks with my children [at sporting events]. People get heated and argue and get quite angry. I think the Legislature has made a huge mistake.”

In North Lauderdale, Commission Gary Frankel said, “I think guns in a close-knit residential neighborhood should not be allowed on the streets. It’s dangerous, everybody knows that. It’s a remnant of the Old West.”

Well, since 2011 has there been a rash of licensed gun carriers carrying legally under Florida state law getting angry while watching sports games at parks and shooting anyone? No?

Has there been a rash of wild west style shootouts between licensed gun carriers carrying legally under Florida state law? No?

The Bible

No, I’m not about to hit you over the head with one. I just want to present one bit of advice from it that even non-believers might appreciate. Basically, it’s that if a prophet predicts things that don’t come true, you might want to conclude that prophet is a false prophet (Deuteronomy 18:22) . As a Bible believer myself, that’s all I’ll present from the Good Book in this particular blog post.

Nothing New Under The Sunshine

In every single state that has passed laws restoring self-defense rights to the people, naysayers have always predicted “blood in the streets”, “OK Corral gun fights”, “wild west shootouts”, “angry parents of little leaguers shooting coaches”, etc. And every time they fail to get their wish. It must be frustrating for them. Bless their little pea-pickin’ hearts.

Open Carry
Open Carry

Some, in Florida’s sister state, Georgia tried to save face by blaming new GA law HB 60 (called in common vernacular, “Guns Everywhere Law”) for a confrontation at a convenience store between two people who both had carry licenses. The one man, who was concealing his pistol, verbally challenged the other man who was openly carrying his holstered pistol. The idiot challenger wanted the other man to present his license to make sure he was legally carrying.

Neither man went for his gun wild west style, and no one got hurt.

Adam Weinstein’s (author of the article linked above) logic fail in blaming HB 60 is that both men could have been totally ignorant of the new law, and that would not have changed a thing, because licensed carry of firearms in convenience stores has been legal since there have been convenience stores in Georgia – legal even pre-SB 308 when there still existed the “public gathering” law ( )  in Georgia.

But folks like Weinstein will twist logic to the point of unrecognizability to try and prove their point.

State Preemption Is Progress

Virtually every time real progress is made in restoring our self-defense rights, violent crime either diminishes or at worst stays flat. There is not enough room in this article to present the data, but author and speaker John Lott is an excellent source of information on the statistics.

Here is a tidbit from the CDC: “Studies that directly assessed the effect of actual defensive uses of guns (i.e., incidents in which a gun was ‘used’ by the crime victim in the sense of attacking or threatening an offender) have found consistently lower injury rates among gun-using crime victims compared with victims who used other self-protective strategies.” Read more at:

Universal Arrogance

No, it isn’t just unique to Florida that local officials disobey state law unless a penalty is attached. I and others have dealt with entities here in Georgia that are still violating state preemption, even though it was strengthened with HB 60 in 2014 and HB 492 in 2015.

I won’t comment on these here because there are pending court cases that should resolve to one side or another the issues. But some information has been posted in various threads on the Georgia Packing forum (

Florida Carry
Florida Carry, Inc.

Amazingly, even though Florida added teeth to its preemption law in 2011, there are still a few places there that try to unlawfully deny your rights.

There is work at present being done by Florida Carry ( to address these.

I’m honored to have brought one such place to Florida Carry’s attention, and have officially joined them as a member.

Never Ending Fight

That constant diligence is required to have our rights recognized even when favorable laws have been passed that spell out significant consequences for officials who violate those laws is indicative of the sheer, naked hostility toward people who desire to take responsibility for their own safety instead of living as if others such as the police and government are their primary protectors.

The rugged spirit of liberty and independence seems to have been greatly bred out of our nation. And that is a pitiful shame. But more and more people are starting to stand up for what’s right, and letting their voices be heard. One by one, we can win hearts and minds with the truth.

About Phillip Evans

The author is a self-defense rights advocate and member of the NRA and, and posts at

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My fifty years as Florida resident I haven’t committed a single felony, and thirty years as CWP license holder I have not violated any laws pertaining to firearms use. I am not an exception but part of the majority of CWP license holders in
the state of Florida. It’s unfortunate are country and municipal governments see the majority of gun owners as a threat to society when we are not. Time for liked minded Floridians to exercise our majority at the next poll.


Whenever I hear the “OK corral gunfight” argument made by anti-gun folks, I make it a point to remind them that this fight didn’t occur because armed cowboys were unable to control their tempers and started shooting over an insult; it occurred because the Earp brothers, then the town Marshalls, attempted to enforce a “gun-free zone” policy within the town limits. A policy that would certainly be illegal there today, and probably was back then as well. The gunfight at the OK Corral was not about poor anger management by armed citizens, it was about an attempt to impose gun… Read more »

Derrell Self

In South Carolina, we have “gun free”zones. Also business owners may post a no concealed weapons sign. I ignore them. I know how criminals think. I have been a victim. NEVER AGAIN ! I will not be denied my God given right to defend myself and my family. If I am ever caught carrying in a prohibited location, it is better to pay the fine and go buy a replacement pistol.