Ten Florida municipalities and their elected officials filed a lawsuit in Florida on Monday challenging a Florida state law that imposes penalties on municipalities and their officials when they are found to knowingly and willfully impinge on the State Legislature’s exclusive jurisdiction over firearm and ammunition regulation.
The plaintiffs assert that in light of the recent mass shootings, they have considered: (i) banning firearms in municipal-owned facilities and parks; (ii) regulating holsters and high capacity magazines; (iii) creating “gun safe zones;” and (iv) “other possible measures.” The municipalities are barred from enacting these measures, however, because Florida’s Joe Carlucci Uniform Firearms Act (“UFA”) nullifies all firearm and ammunition ordinances and regulations which have been enacted by local jurisdictions. Additionally, public officials risk civil penalties of up to $5,000 for their “knowing and willful” violation of the UFA, and the municipalities can be sued for civil liability damages up to $100,000 and attorneys’ fees.
The Complaint alleges that the UFA is vague and ambiguous, which makes it difficult for officials to determine if their actions relating to firearms would be in violation of the UFA. The Complaint alleges that because the UFA is vague, the penalties imposed on them for violating the UFA is unreasonable; “chills” their free speech rights; violates their constitutional authority to represent the interests of their constituents; and impinges the rights of their constituents to petition and instruct their elected officials.
Plaintiffs seek a court declaration allowing them to independently regulate firearms and ammunition on “municipally owned property” and to nullify the UFA’s penalties imposed upon them when they violate the UFA.
Renzulli Law Firm will continue to monitor the status of the lawsuit.