In 1987, the Florida Legislature preempted the whole field of regulation of firearms and ammunition to the state, including the purchase, sale, transfer, taxation, manufacture, ownership, possession, storage, and transportation. Local government ordinances, rules, or regulations were declared null and void.
In 2011, the legislature established penalties for local governments, elected officials, and public employees that adopt or enforce regulations that violate the state preemption on firearms and ammunition. For example, if a city adopted or enforced an ordinance prohibiting guns in parks, or the discharge of guns within city limits, the 2011 legislation imposed personal liability (civil penalties) on officials and employees and imposed liability for damages upon the city.
- The amendment establishes a statewide regulatory floor for guns and ammunition and gives local communities the flexibility to craft solutions tailored for their community.
- Public venues such as city parks and city sports and entertainment venues are crowded places where the public could be at risk for gun violence. Cities need flexibility to protect residents and visitors.
- Broad preemption statutes ignore important local variations that may necessitate distinct approaches to the problem of gun violence. A regulation in a densely populated urban area may not be appropriate in a rural setting, and vice versa.
- In addition to hindering local flexibility, preemption statutes also deny access to innovative gun violence prevention policies.
- Imposing personal liability on elected officials for actions taken in their official capacity as elected officials contradicts the well-established legal standard that hold legislative bodies absolutely immune from civil liability for their legislative activities.