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Florida Groups Unite to Take on Preemption

August 7, 2019

Next City,

Zoe Sullivan,

August 7, 2019-

In late July, a Florida county circuit court struck down some of the penalties added in 2011 to Florida’s law banning local governments from regulating firearms. Those penalties included the ability to remove local elected officials from office, fining them up to $5,000 and suing them personally while prohibiting that government funds be used for their defense. This ruling, more than a year after the mass shooting at Marjorie Stoneman-Douglas High School, did not address the underlying ban on local regulation of guns.

This ruling may seem like a watered-down response to the wave of youth activism the Stoneman-Douglas shooting unleashed, but Florida activists see it as a victory. Florida was second only to Texas this year in the number of preemption laws introduced into the state legislature. Those bills circumvent local decision-making authority by prohibiting local laws on certain topics. At the end of July, the Local Solutions Support Center issued a report analyzing how preemption bills, which “pre-empt” local authority in favor of a statewide law, have gained ground in state legislatures across the country.

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