Florida –-(AmmoLand.com)- We won big, again!
“It is not a core municipal function to occupy an area that the Legislature has preempted, and local governments have no lawful discretion or authority to enact ordinances that violate state preemption,” – Florida Supreme Court Justice Ricky Polston
Florida public officials will continue to pay a steep price if they try to regulate firearms, according to an opinion of the Florida Supreme Court issued Thursday, which rejected attempts by former Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried and dozens of city and county officials who sought to remove the penalties from the state’s powerful preemption statute.
Florida’s preemption statute only allows the state legislature to regulate firearms. If local officials tinker with gun laws in their jurisdiction, they can face removal from office and fines of up to $5,000, which the statute requires them to pay themselves, not with public funds. The statute became law in 1987, but it wasn’t until 2011 that the penalties were added.
Fried and the other plaintiffs did not challenge the statute but claimed that these penalties were unconstitutional. She was supported by several anti-gun organizations.
In an Amicus Brief, Florida Carry, Inc. asked the court to preserve the penalties, lest the statute become useless.
“Florida Carry asks this Court to recognize that only through the enforcement and penalty provisions of Sec. 790.33 can that statute have any effect in protecting the fundamental individual rights to keep and to bear arms that have been guaranteed in this country and in this state since their founding. Any limitations on the penalty and enforcement provisions would weaken these rights. The passage of Sec. 790.33 and each amendment to it was a careful policy decision by the Legislature. Each amendment to the statute was crafted in direct reaction to local officials’ failure to follow the law or their tactics to avoid liability for their actions. Furthermore, the argument that local officials can, with impunity, ignore the laws of the state and the rights of the people, should never be adopted by the courts. The courts are the last resort against overreach by any level of government. Amicus asks this Court to uphold all provisions of Sec. 790.33, and specifically the penalty provisions protect law abiding Floridians,” Florida Carry’s Amicus Brief states.
Five of the six Florida Supreme Court justices agreed.
“It is not a core municipal function to occupy an area that the Legislature has preempted, and local governments have no lawful discretion or authority to enact ordinances that violate state preemption,” Justice Ricky Polston wrote in the majority opinion.
“Over the years, Florida Carry has filed numerous lawsuits for preemption statute violations by some of these same plaintiffs,” said Eric Friday, general counsel for Florida Carry, Inc. “These anti-freedom politicians couldn’t beat Florida Carry directly, so they tried to get rid of the penalties. They failed.”
Florida Carry Board of Directors
About Florida Carry, Inc.:
Florida Carry is a Florida nonprofit, non-partisan, grassroots organization founded in 2010. Florida Carry is 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 the Constitution of Florida. In 2016 Florida Carry was named the Grassroots Organization of the Year by the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms.
Florida Carry, Inc. was organized 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 to represent our members, millions of gun owners, and the countless knife and defensive weapon carriers of Florida. We are not beholden to any national organization’s agenda that may compromise that mission. Florida Carry is the state’s largest independent second amendment advocacy organization.