On Friday, a significant ruling took place that could have wide-reaching implications for gun owners in Florida, based on what happens next South Florida. For over 30 years, Florida has had a “preemption law”. This prevents local governments from passing gun control measures that are more restrictive than the state of Florida’s. Against the backdrop of potential local activism several years ago, a 2011 law was passed that added “teeth” to Florida’s preemption law. Under the 2011 law, local officials who violated Florida’s preemption law could be subject to prosecution, fined and potentially removed from office by the governor. It was this law that was struck down on Friday by a Leon County court judge.
What doesn’t change is that local governments can’t pass more restrictive gun control measures than Florida. However, what's different is that specific local officials can’t be held accountable for violations of Florida’s preemption law.
What happens now? It’s likely the state appeals the decision but in the meantime at a minimum these changes take effect. Here’s the next question, will this encourage local governments, especially in South Florida to pursue gun control measures to specifically set up a showdown with the state on the preemption law itself knowing that they personally can’t be held accountable? This is worth watching and could impact gun rights across the state going forward.
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