A judge in Tallahassee struck down a $5,000 fine that Florida mayors and city council members would be subject to if they try to pass gun control ordinances at the local level. The judge ruled that this penalty is excessive in its punishment of local entities who don’t comply with state regulations.
The Judge, Charles Dodson, also deemed a provision of the 2011 law unconstitutional. This law allows Florida’s governor to remove local officials who overstep theirs bounds when trying to pass burdensome gun control.
Dodson supported the law’s original intent, which prohibits local ordinances that go beyond firearms laws passed by the Florida Legislature. The Leon County Circuit Court judge’s ruling strikes down the threat of civil fines and removal for passing local gun control that is already “preempted” by Florida state law.
The recent ruling in the case of Weston versus DeSantis is likely the start of the legal fight. The administration of Governor Ron DeSantis is expected to file an appeal against the decision in a higher court. But now that this legislation is no longer an obstacle for municipalities, local governments have more flexibility in passing gun control that tests the limits of Florida’s preemption laws.
Jamie Cole, the lawyer representing Weston and 19 other cities filing a lawsuit against Florida, said, “It gives cities the ability to pass legislation that tests the boundaries of preemption, without fear of being thrown out of office or penalized.”
Sean Caranna, a member of Florida Carry’s board, said he was optimistic that the fine would be restored by a higher court, because it’s natural to link penalties to illegal behavior. He said, “It’s the same reason you have a monetary value attached to a speeding ticket. It discourages people from violating the law.”
Andrew Gillum, the Florida Democrat who lost to DeSantis this past November, was one of the original plaintiffs in the suit as the mayor of Tallahassee in April when the litigation first started. “Thanks to this ruling, local leaders can now lead on ending gun violence without the fear of fines, personal liability, or removal from office,” Gillum tweeted.
Since the Parkland shooting of 2018, Florida has become a battleground for gun control policy.
Pro-gun activists will have to be ready to go the extra mile. Should Florida fall, the floodgates are open for future gun control encroachments in Florida and other red states.
Democrats Introduce Expanded Background Check Legislation
Democrats are going to implement a background check which targets “extremism.”
Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy and California Congressman Mike Thompson brought forward legislation on March 2, 2021 that aims to broaden the federal background check system on firearms sales, according to a report by The Hill.
Under The Background Check Expansion Act, gun sales and purchases between all unlicensed sellers and buyers would be subject to a mandatory background check. The background checks would not be applicable for law enforcement officers, lending out firearms for the purpose of hunting, temporary transfers for self-defense, or family members gifting a firearm.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and 43 Senate Democrats have co-sponsored this bill. Thompson, who is the chair of the House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force, reintroduced this legislation in the U.S. House
“For years, the bipartisan House-passed background checks bill languished in the Senate under Republican Leader Mitch McConnell. Now, with Senate Democrats in the Majority, we have the opportunity to act on this overwhelmingly popular, lifesaving legislation to protect American communities,” Schumer declared in a press release.
According to a CBS News report, President Joe Biden has repeatedly called on Congress to pass stiffer gun control laws. This gun control bill will not pass so easily given how it will need 10 Republican senators to vote in favor of it.
Against the backdrop of the January 6 storming of the Capitol, such a background check will likely feature provisions that target so-called “extremists.” The ruling class has routinely lumped average gun owners with domestic extremists and will most certainly use recent events to justify encroachments on people’s right to bear arms.
Biden is a veteran of the gun control movement, as evidenced by his sponsorship of the Gun-Free School Zones Act of 1990 and the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban. With Democrats in control of all branches of the federal government, they will certainly move to pass gun control. However, their success is not guaranteed due to moderate Democrats like Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema and West Virginia Joe Manchin not being completely receptive to radical gun control that could alienate them from their more right-wing constituents.
Nevertheless, the Left has shown that it’s willing to act regardless of the political context. Keeping this in mind, gun owners must be ready to beat back any kind of gun control coming from D.C. Such fights will allow the Right to rebuild its forces and make a splash in the 2022 midterms and the 2024 presidential race.
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