AP Photo/Lynne Sladky

Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried is demanding Governor Ron DeSantis and Attorney General Ashley Moody drop their appeal of a recent judicial ruling gutting the state’s firearms preemption law. A Tallahassee judge recently ruled that localities and officials who violate the state’s firearm preemption law cannot be fined or removed from office for their overreach, even though the law allows for those sanctions. Fried, who is in charge of the state’s concealed carry system, says not only should the case be dropped, but that individual rights should take a back seat to the desires of local politicians.

A gunowner, she said the lawsuit and appeal is not about Second Amendment Rights but about home rule – allowing local governments to exercise their rights to govern.

“Given the tragedies our communities have faced, they deserve the right to make those decisions for themselves without Tallahassee officials getting in the way,” said Fried.  “Our state shouldn’t threaten local elected mayors and council members with fines, lawsuits, and removal from office for doing their job.”

As an aside, don’t you love how they let everybody know she’s a gun owner? You never see “Rep. So-and-so, who supports the 2nd Amendment even though she doesn’t own a gun…”

Back to Fried’s argument. She claims it’s not about 2nd Amendment rights but about home rule. That’s another way of saying it’s not about individual rights, but government power. It’s actually about both, and Fried’s position is clear: your individual rights should serve as no impediment to local politicians playing petty tyrant and imposing gun laws that may violate the Constitution and most certainly violate state law.

Make no mistake, Nikki Fried is only interested in empowering local government to restrict the rights of individuals and their 2nd Amendment rights, not the other way around. If some town in Florida decided it was going to violate the state’s firearm pre-emption law and allow for open carry, for example, I don’t think Fried would be cheering. Instead, she’d likely be calling out the town’s leaders for their lawlessness. As long as the regulation goes against legal gun ownership, anti-gun activists would say it’s a legitimate exercise of government power. As soon as any ordinance enhancing the rights of Floridians would be passed, however, they’d angrily declare it was a threat to democracy and the American way of life, done with blatant disregard for the laws of the land.

It’s also critical to note that the pushback against Florida’s firearms pre-emption law is part of a much broader campaign by anti-gun activists.  In Pittsburgh, the City Council is defending a series of local ordinances passed in violation of Pennsylvania’s firearms preemption law. Gun control activists want firearms preemption repealed in Virginia. Other lawsuits dealing with preemption violates are underway in Ohio and Washington State.

In fact, 45 states have some form of firearms preemption laws on the books, which makes them tantalizing targets for national gun control groups with a strategy of using local chapters to push their agenda. It’s a national campaign designed to look local and it’s likely coming soon to a city council chamber near you. If you’ve never reached out to your city council, school board member, or county commission, now would be a great time to start. Chances are, they’re already hearing from at least one of your neighbors who’s pushing gun control.

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