In the pre-Parkland world, Florida had a reputation for being one of the more accommodating states for gun owners. In fact our dead tree rivals at Guns & Ammo ranked The Gunshine State 12th best in the nation in that regard. What a difference a year (not to mention incompetent school administrators and bungling, Keystone cops-like law enforcement) makes.
If G&A updates their list this year, look for Florida’s ranking to drop. Precipitously. In the post-Parkland rush to be seen as doing something about gun violence, Governor Rick Scott signed an expansive new gun control bill last week which, among other affronts to the right to keep and bear arms, raises the age to purchase long guns, bans bump fire stock, creates a waiting period to purchase rifles and shotguns, and enables gun confiscation via due process-free “extreme risk protection orders.”
And even these limits on Floridians’ Second Amendment rights were weak sauce to anti-gunners in the state. Somehow, no matter how far a gun control measure goes, it’s never far enough for the forces of civilian disarmament. Despite the best efforts of Democrats in the house and senate, Florida did not enact an “assault weapons” ban or prohibit “high capacity” magazines. And since the state has a strong preemption law, individual cities can’t enact these on their own.
But that may change if the City of Miami has anything to say about it.
One month after a school shooter killed 17 people one county to the north, Miami commissioners have made strides to challenge a Florida law preventing local officials from enacting their own gun rules at the risk of fines or removal from office.
Miami Commissioner Ken Russell [above] has sponsored a resolution, which passed unanimously last week, asking the city attorney to evaluate a 2011 law supported by the gun lobby that would impose a $5,000 fine on municipal officials who try to enact local gun rules, while giving Florida’s governor the authority to remove elected officials who violate the law.
And Miami isn’t the only town feeling its anti-gun oats.
Last month, commissioners in Coral Gables thumbed their nose at the law, stating they would pursue a ban on AR-15-style weapons in defiance of the state government. The move was largely symbolic, though, since no merchants sell the weapons within city limits. A Coral Springs commissioner has also said he would propose an ordinance to limit the sale and transfer of large-capacity gun magazines in the city, which sits next to Parkland.
Will the state vigorously defend the preemption law in court? Will they enforce the current statute should towns like Coral Gables and Coral Springs enact new laws no matter what the law and the courts say? Stay tuned.