Specifically, DeSantis signed SB 1884, which expands on an existing Florida law that restricts local governments from implementing their own gun control regulations.
SB 1184 Prohibits Local Governments From Enacting Their Own Gun Laws
DeSantis signed SB 1184 into law, which will take effect July 1. Local governments will have to pay up to $100,000 in damages if residents sue them for imposing gun regulations.
The governor signed it a month after a 1st District Court of Appeals upheld Florida’s 2011 law. This law imposes penalties to cities and counties if they approve their own gun laws that are stricter than state laws.
According to SB 1184, any individual or organization may sue any Florida local government if the latter’s written or unwritten policy adversely affects them.
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Consequently, plaintiffs can collect incurred damages of up to $100,000. Interest on the sums awarded will also figure into the total. Since 1987, Florida banned local governments from imposing their own gun control laws if they are stricter than state laws.
Sending A Message
Representative Cord Byrd, a Neptune Beach Republican, is the House sponsor of SB 1184. He said he filed the bill to “send a message” to local governments.
“I brought this forward so that local governments will once and for all stop violating the rights and stop wasting taxpayer money,” said Byrd, who is a Second Amendment rights attorney.
Under the 2011 law, local governments are on the hook for up to $100,000 in damages and attorney fees if found guilty of violating the 1987 preemption on gun regulations.
In addition, local officials face $5,000 fines and potential removal from office for passing gun regulations. SB 1184 will broaden the 2011 law in two ways.
Also, it allows lawsuits even for unwritten laws and policies that violate gun regulation. Plus, the new law will force local governments to pay damages and attorney fees even if they reverse their policies. This potentially blocks arguments about the mootness of lawsuits.
Democrats Oppose SB 1184
Expectedly, Florida Democrats fussed about the new law. They argued that the state government shouldn’t penalize cities and counties for trying to enact their own gun laws.
In addition, they pointed to incidents such as the 2016 mass shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando. “If the state doesn’t want to take any action against the gun lobby, stop prohibiting local governments from doing that,” Rep. Anna Eskamani (D-Orlando), said during the debate.
Earlier, attorneys for the local governments filed a motion on April 23 requesting that the 1st District Court of Appeal send key issues to the Supreme Court. This request, also known as “certifying questions of great public importance,” has yet to hear from the appeals court. As of Monday morning, the Tallahassee appeals court has not issued any replies.
DeSantis Doing Things Right In Florida
Meanwhile, Governor DeSantis continues to ride a wave of national popularity as he guns for a possible 2024 Republican presidential nomination.
DeSantis gained positive points for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic. Many of his policies run counter to what the federal government wants with regard to placing COVID-19 restrictions.
However, Florida ended up enjoying the relative freedom of movement while reporting fewer cases of coronavirus.
In addition, DeSantis awarded bonuses to Florida’s first responders and sent a strong message to rioters that they’re not welcome in Florida.
Also, he slammed the Biden administration for not following the science on reopening schools and banned biological males from competing in women’s sports. He also refused to recognize vaccine passports as a virtual license to travel.
Watch the CBS news video reporting that Florida Governor Ron DeSantis Signs Bill Banning Local Gun Regulations:
Do you support DeSantis’ decision to ban local governments from implementing stricter gun controls? Or, do you find this decision restrictive?
Let us know what you think of SB 1184, and of Governor Ron DeSantis. Share your comments below.