When a Florida judge decided that preemption laws should amount to nothing more than a strong suggestion, he went against the bulk of the Florida state government’s official position on the subject.
Unsurprisingly, those state officials who support preemption aren’t going to let this stand. The great thing about legal action is that if you disagree with it, you can appeal. That’s precisely what the attorney general is doing.
Attorney General Ashley Moody filed a notice late Tuesday that the state will appeal the ruling by Leon County Circuit Judge Charles Dodson, who found last week that the 2011 law threatening the penalties was unconstitutional.
However, not everyone was happy with Moody’s decision to appeal.
Asked for a comment Wednesday, Moody’s office released a copy of the notice of appeal, which puts a hold on Dodson’s ruling. Meanwhile, Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, the only statewide elected Democrat, blasted the decision to appeal.
“Our state shouldn’t threaten local elected mayors and council members with fines, lawsuits, and removal from office,” Fried said in a prepared statement. “We should restore local democracy and allow communities to consider common-sense local measures that reflect their values.”
Fried, whose Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services handles concealed-weapons licensing in the state, added that the appeal “is not only a waste of taxpayer money and time, but the wrong direction for our state.”
Funny how local control only matters to some Democrats when it comes to gun control.
The truth is that preemption laws exist for a reason, and that reason is to prevent a patchwork of gun laws that would be impossible for everyone in the state to keep up with. However, we’ve also seen that preemption laws without teeth are meaningless.
Let’s note that the law in question doesn’t fine or remove officials without reason. It provides penalties for elected officials who willfully violate state law.
If such laws constitute threats, then every citizen of the state of Florida lives under a constant barrage of threats from the state. Fines and imprisonment are potential punishment for pretty much every violation of the law out there, after all, which Fried has already argued are threats. Why should officials–individuals who are supposed to be responsible to the people–somehow be exempt from this?
Of course, Fried is an anti-gun official anyway. There’s a reason lawmakers want to remove concealed carry licensing from her office. It’s because she doesn’t hide her anti-gun sympathies.
As such, it’s good that she’s also being ignored.
Fried wants her office removed from the lawsuit. As agriculture commissioner, that’s certainly within her purview and it’s something Moody should strongly consider.
But the state needs to ignore the rest of her request, particularly for the state to drop the lawsuit entirely. They need to ignore her and make sure to get a good candidate to challenge her come reelection time. I suspect her days as commissioner of agriculture are limited, especially if the person who represents a key rural interest is going to make it clear that she’s so vehemently anti-gun.