Kriseman to Join Suit Against Scott on Gun Control
Mayor Rick Kriseman said St. Petersburg will join south Florida cities in a lawsuit that seeks to strike down a law that penalizes local officials who enact gun control regulations.
ST. PETERSBURG – Mayor Rick Kriseman announced today (April 11) that he would join with 10 other Florida cities and mayors in a lawsuit filed against Gov. Rick Scott seeking the power to regulate firearms locally.
Under the punitive aspect of Florida’s firearms preemption law, if a city passes gun violence prevention legislation that is later found to be preempted, the municipality can be forced to pay up to $100,000 in damages per lawsuit plus unlimited legal fees, and the elected officials who voted to pass the ordinance can be fined up to $5,000 and removed from office if they are found to have acted knowingly and willfully.
In the lawsuit, Weston vs Scott, the plaintiff cities argue that the current law oversteps restrictions on a governor’s limited ability to remove a local elected official from office. The suit also claims the current law infringes on the free speech rights of elected officials and interferes with their ability to perform their official duties without fear of legal penalties.
“I served in the Florida House of Representatives when Gov. Scott and legislative leaders decided to overstep their authority and use fear and intimidation as a tactic to preserve the NRA’s agenda. I am proud to join this suit and look forward to the end of state interference in local government,” Kriseman said.
Other cities in the suit include: Weston, Miramar, Pompano Beach, Lauderhill, Miami Gardens, South Miami, Pinecrest, Cutler Bay, Miami Beach and Coral Gables.
Tallassee also joined the lawsuit Wednesday. Led by Mayor Andrew Gillum, commissioners voted unanimously to join the lawsuit. Commissioners also voted unanimously for a resolution urging repeal of the “onerous and overbearing state preemption of local governments.”
Michael Alfano, campaign manager for the Campaign to Defend Local Solutions, issued the following statement on the St. Petersburg and Tallahassee decisions:
“Cities across Florida are banding together demanding a return to local control, common sense, and the ability to take meaningful local action on gun violence. The Florida Legislature overstepped its bounds with unconstitutional efforts to punish local officials. People deserve to feel safe in their communities, and we thank these mayors and commissioners for standing strong in defense of local democracy.”
Kriseman’s decision comes a day after a second lawsuit was filed by the Broward County cities of Coral Springs, Coconut Creek and Pembroke Pines against the state of Florida and Florida officials as part of their efforts to enact prohibitions on large-capacity magazines, alleging that Florida’s punitive firearms preemption law unconstitutionally and illegally threatens local legislators and municipalities with substantial penalties for enacting ordinances that may later be found to be preempted by Florida state law.
Like the Weston case, the Coral Springs case challenges the punitive provisions of state law as an unconstitutional attempt to silence local officials and their communities, as well as an illegal barrier as those three cities try to prohibit the sale or transfer of most large-capacity magazines.
Filed in Broward County Circuit Court, the legal challenge includes ten separate claims, including allegations that the punitive provisions violate: (a) legislative immunity, separation of powers and governmental immunity; (b) the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution as well as the constitutional right to due process; and (c) the home rule and other provisions of the Florida Constitution. The cities have requested expedited review and are seeking a declaratory judgment that the penalties are unconstitutional and illegal, as well as an injunction barring their enforcement.
Rick Kriseman | Gun Control | Lawsuit | Rick Scott | Weston vs. Scott | Tampabay News
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