Florida Supreme Court uphold anti-gun control law

ABC News reports that Florida’s top court has just upheld a state law that punishes local government officials who try to place certain restrictions on gun and ammunition sales. 

This is being viewed as a big win for state Republicans and others who support the Second Amendment rights of Americans.

The law

The Florida law that was at issue in this particular case was passed back in 1987.

The original version of the law preempts laws by local Florida cities and counties that place greater restrictions on gun and ammunition sales. In other words, if the local law places a more stringent restriction on gun or ammunition sales than the state law, then the local law is preempted by the state law.

More recently, in 2011, this law was revised. Under the revised version, a local official who violates the law by voting for a more restrictive law on gun or ammunition sales could face a civil penalty or fine.

A Florida official, under the revised version of the law, who willfully violates the law by voting in favor of a preempted gun control law could face a fine of $5,000.

The lawsuit

Several years later, the state law was challenged. The challenge came after the mass shooting that left 17 people dead at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, in 2018.

This lawsuit against the state of Florida would be joined by several Florida municipalities and Former Democratic Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried – the same Fried who just recently left office, earlier this month, after failing in her attempt to unseat Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R).

In their lawsuit, Fried and the municipalities took issue with fine. Their main argument was that imposing such fines on government officials who vote for preempted gun laws is unconstitutional.

The decision

This past week, Florida’s top court – the Supreme Court of Florida – rejected Fried and the municipalities’ arguments by a vote of 4-1.

The court wrote, “It is not a core municipal function to occupy an area that the Legislature has preempted, and local governments have no lawful discretion or authority to enact ordinances that violate state preemption.”

The lone dissenter is Justice Jorge Labarga. He claimed that the fine is “an impermissible judicial intrusion into the official’s legislative thought process, and it undermines the official’s ability to effectuate the constituents’ will.”

A “big win”

On social media, Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody (R) called the court’s decision a “big win.”

“Big win for our office in the Florida Supreme Court,” she tweeted. “Our attorneys fought hard to make sure local governments can’t trample on your 2nd Amendment rights.”

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