AP Photo/Chris O’Meara
Florida’s firearms preemption law is now weaker, thanks to a judge in Tallahassee who struck down a law recently enacted in the state that strengthens the existing firearms pre-emption law. The law, signed by then-Governor Rick Scott in 2011, put teeth in the state’s preemption law by authorizing fines or even removal from office for those local lawmakers who sought to contradict the state’s existing gun laws. The judge decided to play dentist and make the state’s preemption law toothless once more.
Judge Charles Dodson also declared unconstitutional a provision of the 2011 law that allows Florida’s governor to remove local officials for going too far on the gun-control front.
Dodson did endorse the heart of the law, which bars local ordinances that go beyond firearm regulations established by the Florida Legislature. The Leon County Circuit Court judge’s ruling simply strikes the unprecedented threat of civil fines and expulsion for passing local laws that Florida has already declared “preempted” by state authority.
“It gives cities the ability to pass legislation that tests the boundaries of preemption, without fear of being thrown out of office or penalized,” said Jamie Cole, the Weiss Serota lawyer from Miami representing Weston and 19 other cities in the suit against Florida.