Elected local officials in Florida have been busy this summer bringing their cities and counties into compliance with a new state law before it takes effect on October 1. The law prohibits local governments from having any law on their books that restricts gun use or ownership to a greater degree than state law. The idea is, primarily, to make it easier for CCW holders to comply with the law no matter where they are in the Sunshine State. No more travelling from Tampa to Tallahassee and having to wonder what arcane regulations may make you illegal in one burgh but not in another. Simple, right? It should be…
The local yokels are combing through existing laws looking for anything that would run afoul of the new measure. County commissioners and city aldermen from the panhandle to the keys are having to repeal gun control measures many of them are dearly fond of. And for some, it’s just too much to stomach.
Palm Beach county commissioner Burt Aaronson’s in a tizzy. He’s worried that if he and his colleagues repeal their particular local restrictions, they won’t be living up to their sworn responsibilities. But Burt’s only concern is the welfare of his constituents. Yeah, that’s it.
“We are sworn in to uphold the health, safety and welfare,” Commissioner Burt Aaronson said. “And this certainly does not allow us to protect the health, safety and welfare of the people we serve.”
County attorneys have spent weeks combing through the county’s ordinances and laws looking for regulations that restrict firearms.
Commissioners have already overturned a provision that banned guns in county parks.
On Tuesday the commission took the final step to repeal a county rule that prevented people from bringing guns into child-care centers. Instead, gun owners must now keep their firearms in a locked box to bring them into the centers, Chief Assistant County Attorney Jim Mize said.
The commission also took preliminary steps to repeal several other gun regulations, including a provision that blocked people from discharging a firearm east of 20-Mile Bend.
Commissioners said the unanimous decisions were made “under duress.”
“It is the Wild West here in Palm Beach County,” Aaronson said. “West Palm Beach may become known as Wild West Palm Beach.”
Come on, Burt. Is that all you got? That moldy golden oldie, the wild west, blood in the streets ‘argument’? Either you’re painfully intellectually lazy or anti-2A folks like you are well and truly out of ideas. My money’s on an admixture of both.
Burt‘s concerned about evil gun owners running amok, carrying their heaters into sensitive places like schools and the shuffleboard courts at Del Boca Vista. But just like in your favorite western morality play, the sheriff rides into town to restore some order.
Carrying firearms into schools or shooting in public places, which could include parks and other crowded areas, would still be banned under state law.
Sheriff Ric Bradshaw said Tuesday the repeal of local laws would not affect residents’ safety.
“There is still a state statute,” Bradshaw said. “What the public has got to understand is that you can’t just go firing your gun off.”
Always good advice, sheriff. Thanks.
But Burt and some of his like-minded commissioners have a warm place in their hearts for many of their own special rules and regs. So much so that they’ve asked the county’s attorney to explore the option of challenging the new state law in court rather than complying.
In 1999, the county signed off on a rule that required people buying firearms at gun shows or flea markets to undergo the same criminal background checks as those purchasing guns from licensed dealers.
The next year, county commissioners signed off on a local law requiring gun owners to lock their weapons while children were nearby or face a $500 fine. Gun owners opposed the ordinance and protested loudly at the meeting where the Palm Beach County Commission passed the law.
That last one would be almost as easy to comply with as trying to keep track of 535 Congresscritters to make sure you stay at least 1000 feet from them while you’re packing. Which is the whole point, of course. Easier to just keep the gun in your safe than have to worry about inadvertently breaking the law.
There’s no word yet as to whether Burt and his pals will actually pony up the taxpayers’ hard-earned money for a legal challenge. A number of other states have similar statutes so it would seem that the effort wouldn’t hold a lot of promise. But it’s not Burt’s money. And he’s only trying to protect the county’s health, safety and welfare, after all.