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10 FL Cities want to regulate Guns. So they sued the State

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Posted on April 04 2018

 The NRA owns Florida

After Parkland the Florida State lawmakers heard the students and parents. And for once lawmakers seemingly did the right thing much to the chagrin of the NRA.

And predictably the NRA goes back to their old bag of dirty tricks. Litigate. Litigate. Litigate. FUD...the  NRA fires up their membership.

They use fear mongering techniques, essentially screaming:

oh my God the Government is coming for your guns”

Then almost simultaneously the NRA lobbies lawmakers to turn on those who have enacted (even minimal) gun safety.

I could be wrong but I suspect this Florida lawsuit is the NRA “test case” (see what I did there) which brings us to a newly filed lawsuit, where Florida Cities (ten) sue the Governor of Florida and State Attorney General. I may have previously mentioned in the late 1990’s I worked for the NRA and unsurprisingly the NRA continues to use the extreme tactics that lead me to tender my resignation. So lets coffee talk about this particular lawsuit.

Historical Background 

In 1987, the Florida State Legislature enacted the Joe Carlucci Uniform Firearms Act. This Act was codified in section 790.33, Florida Statutes. The statute reads in part...

  • ...”declares that it occup[ies] the whole field of regulation of firearms and ammunition, including the purchase, sale, transfer, taxation, manufacture, ownership, possession, storage, and transportation thereof, to the exclusion of all existing and future county, city, town, or municipal ordinances or any administrative regulations or rules adopted by local or state government relating thereto."
    • “(a) Any person, county, agency, municipality, district, or other entity that violates the Legislature’s occupation of the whole field of regulation of firearms and ammunition, as declared in subsection (1), by enacting or causing to be enforced any local ordinance or administrative rule or regulation impinging upon such exclusive occupation of the field shall be liable as set forth herein.
    • (b) If any county, city, town, or other local government violates this section, the court shall declare the improper ordinance, regulation, or rule invalid and issue a permanent injunction against the local government prohibiting it from enforcing such ordinance, regulation, or rule. It is no defense that in enacting the ordinance, regulation, or rule the local government was acting in good faith or upon advice of counsel.
    • (c) If the court determines that a violation was knowing and willful, the Court shall assess a civil fine of up to $5,000 against the elected or appointed local government official or officials or administrative agency head under whose jurisdiction the violation occurred.“


In nonlegese this Complaint focuses on the language of the Act and respective amendments. Basically local mayors think the State laws are overly broad and encroaching on local municipalities to regulate guns or to have the authority to pass “local” ordinances. They argue “the one size fits all approach” infringes on their “official duties”.

Coral Gables, FL Mayor Raúl Valdés-Faul was Interviewed by his local newspaper and said of the lawsuit: “It’s unconstitutional because we have the duty to regulate our zoning and public safety. The state is making it impossible for us.”


The plaintiffs (10 Florida Cities) Complaint States:

  • Because of the actual and imminent threat of the imposition of the Onerous Preemption Penalties, the [local Florida officials] are uncertain as to their rights and responsibilities and fear taking any action that could even remotely be viewed as a violation of the [Act].
  • Accordingly, the [local officials] have suspended or refrained from consideration of reasonable firearms measures that express the political views of the [local officials] and their citizens, which may be appropriate for the specific circumstances of that municipality (as opposed to the "one size fits all" approach of the state), thus making the constitutionality of the penalties an issue that is capable of repetition, yet evading review.
  • In short ... the ... penalties have created the intended chilling effect upon taking any action and preventing the [local officials] from responding to the petitions and requests of their constituents relating to firearms.
  • “inability for local officials to make reasonable legislative actions such as preventing guns to be brought into municipal-owned facilities and parks, and creating "gun free zones" violate their constitutional authority to represent the interests of their constituents.” 
  • onerous penalties are vindictive and expressly intended to be punitive in nature. See § 790.33(2), Fla. Stat. As a result, the penalties deter and chill officials from taking any actions in the area of firearms and ammunition, even in those areas where such actions are” (emphasis added)


I would keep an eye on this lawsuit, as I previously mentioned, I’m pretty sure this is the NRA beta testing a “new” litigious Offense strategy. Basically having local cities and/or Counties sue their State regarding guns and regulatory statutes. 

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