State Watch

DeSantis signs bill banning gun regulations by local governments

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) signed a bill on Friday that bans local governments from imposing gun regulations.

The bill expands a 2011 law that allows citizens or gun groups to sue local governments for enacting gun restrictions and demand up to $100,000 in damages, according to the Florida Sun-Sentinel.

The bill, which takes effect July 1, expands the 2011 law in two ways, according to the newspaper: It will allow legal action for “unwritten” local policies that go against the regulation preemption, and it allows for local governments to still be forced to pay damages and attorney fees even if they alter their gun-related policies after the lawsuits are filed.

The Florida Senate passed the legislation by a 24-16 vote on April 26. Two days later, the bill cleared the state House in a 78-39 vote.

A Florida House sponsor of the bill, Rep. Cord Byrd (R), said during a floor debate in April that the legislation is intended to protect Second Amendment rights and “send a message” to local government, according to the Sun-Sentinel.

Democrats, however, argued that cities and counties should not be reprimanded for spearheading efforts to limit gun violence, the newspaper noted.

DeSantis’s signing of the bill comes around a month after a panel of the 1st District Court of Appeals upheld the 2011 law, which was challenged by dozens of local governments and officials in February 2018 following the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, which left 17 people dead.

Lawyers for the local governments, however, filed a motion on April 23 requesting that the 1st District Court of Appeals send key issues in the case to the Supreme Court, the Sun-Sentinel reported.

According to the newspaper, the Florida-based appeals court had not acted on the request as of Monday morning.

Tags Florida Gun control gun laws Local laws Ron DeSantis Second Amendment shootings

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