Earlier this year, two bills were filed in the Florida Legislature that will wreak havoc in our State should they become law. These bills, Senate Bill 672 filed by Senator Annette Taddeo and the companion bill filed in the State House, House Bill 6033 by Representative Dan Daley, seek to turn the clock back 34 years by repealing Florida’s preemption law.
Florida’s Preemption Law was passed in 1987
Originally passed in 1987, Florida’s Preemption law, which is found in Florida Statutes §790.33 reads:
Except as expressly provided by the State Constitution or general law, the Legislature hereby declares that it is occupying 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. Any such existing ordinances, rules, or regulations are hereby declared null and void.
This law ensures that lawful gun owners are not caught by surprise by local draconian ordinances that severely curtail their rights when they cross the street and happen to leave one municipality or city and enter a different one.
Florida’s Preemption Law Keeps Local Communities From Violating Our Constitutional Rights
When interviewed about this proposed change to the law, Representative Daley indicated that the change was needed because, “local elected officials, those who know their community best, have been prevented from doing what their residents demand.” In response to this, it should be noted that since the beginning of our democracy, local communities have not had a right to do whatever they wanted. For instance, a local community can not keep people of any race or religion from living in that area, regardless of whether or not it is what the majority of resident’s demand. Additionally, local communities cannot ban speech that they disagree with from their neighborhoods. Local governments do not have the power to infringe upon constitutionally guaranteed rights because it “is what their residents demand.”
“Common Sense Gun Laws” – double speak for illegal Infringment!
Additionally, Senator Taddeo argued that the preemption law needed to be repealed because it, “circumvents the will of the people to have elected officials pass common sense gun laws in their communities.” The term “common sense gun laws” is simply another way to say laws that infringe upon the Second Amendment rights of all Americans. It is a term used by anti-gun advocates to convince those opposed to restrictions on their rights that what they are proposing is reasonable. However, it should be noted that the 2nd Amendment is the only one that specifically reads, “shall NOT be infringed.” No other Amendment in the Bill of Rights or elsewhere has such powerful and direct language. What is common sense to Senator Taddeo, does not make any sense to many others.
Florida’s Preemption law prevents the chaos of patchwork regulations!
Finally, creating a patchwork of different laws throughout the state guarantees that law-abiding gun owners will eventually make a mistake and unknowingly cross into a county or city with strict gun laws, violating the law without even realizing they had entered the restrictive area. Unfortunately, jurisdictional boundaries are not drawn on the ground and most people do not realize when they are leaving one city and entering another, except in very general terms. Almost no one knows the exact boundaries of each municipality in Florida. It makes no sense to have a single state with laws that vary depending on where you are standing. There are some places in Florida that you would be able to conceal carry a firearm on one side of the street, but if you crossed the street, you would be entering a different city where concealed carry might be illegal.
Florida’s Preemption Law is here to stay (at least for now)!
With the makeup of the current Florida Legislature, this bill likely has no chance of passing the Florida House and we would certainly expect that it would be vetoed by Governor DeSantos if it reached his desk. Last year, a similar set of bills died in committee and did not reach the floor of either chamber for a vote. What do you think of this proposed law?
To learn more about the very limited powers of local governments to regulate firearms in Florida, click here!
To learn about all the proposed upcoming legislation in Florida, join us for: The 2nd Amendment in Peril – Florida Legislative Update.