Monday, 15 August 2011

Florida State Law Eliminates Firearms Restrictions

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The Florida State legislature has taken steps towards securing Second Amendment rights by eliminating restrictions on firearms. The measures, which will be enacted on October 1, will impose penalties on public officials who pass or enforce gun regulations at the state level. Violators face a $5,000 personal fine and may risk being removed from office by the governor.

Florida already had a law that made it illegal to pass gun regulations beyond those imposed through state statutes since 1987. The Blaze explains the necessity for this new law:

While Florida has had a law on its books since 1987 that makes it illegal to pass gun regulations beyond state statutes, there was no enforcement mechanism in place. As a result, towns and cities have created ordinances at will. In the process, many of them have criminalized otherwise completely law-abiding citizens who unintentionally ran afoul of arbitrary, localized gun rules.

As a result, Governor Rick Scott (pictured) has signed into law the Penalties for Violating Firearms Preemption Law, which forces the repeal of all regulations and policies that violate the firearms preemption law of 1987.

According to the Orlando Sentinel, changes are already underway in the Sunshine State as a result of the newly signed law:

Orange County employees have started removing ‘no firearms’ signs at county parks, and soon they’ll probably black out the same words on brochures. In Groveland, leaders recently erased from the books an ordinance that banned firing a gun into the air….in Boca Raton, the “no guns allowed” sign has come down at City Hall. In Lake County, commissioners recently deleted a provision in an ordinance that would have banned firearms on public lands, including its parks.

Supporters of the new law tout the consistency that it will create across the state, as the highly interpretative nature of some Florida gun laws have caused confusion in the past. For example, four years ago, a Florida man was arrested for carrying a concealed firearm in his vehicle, but the charges were dropped because case law shows that a gun owner does not need a concealed weapons permit in order to carry a firearm in a vehicle. Once the charges against the gun owner were dropped, he filed a lawsuit against the two arresting officers, asserting that they violated his constitutional rights. According to the Herald Tribune, the lawsuit forced the courts to try to decipher and clarify the ambiguous state statute that governs the carrying of concealed weapons in the state of Florida.

While it does not affect rules that are already in place, nor does it expand gun rights, it will “greatly clarify legal firearms possession, transport, and use-eliminating inevitable confusion for law enforcement and citizens alike,” observes The Blaze. Guns will continue to be banned in schools and bars, and into government buildings so long as a meeting is not taking place. Private businesses are permitted to make their own determinations as to whether they will allow guns.

Meanwhile, the United Kingdom, which has banned all citizens from possessing firearms, has shown a 6000 percent increase in the sale of aluminum baseball bats as a result of the riots taking place in the U.K. this week.

The Raw Story reports:

Figures from show that sales of self-defense items like bats have skyrocketed in recent days.

The Rucanor Aluminium Baseball  was at the top of Amazon's "Movers and Shakers in Sports & Leisure" list, showing a 5,149 percent increase.

Paywell's Military Police Telescopic Tonfa also saw a rise of more than 5,000 percent.

Some wooden bats were up as much as 3,664 percent.

In 1997, the United Kingdom imposed a ban on ownership of handguns as a result of the Dunblane massacre, when Thomas Hamilton opened fire at a primary school, killing 16 children and a teacher. Since the ban was implemented, however, gun crimes in the United Kingdom rose. Likewise, according to the Centre for Defence Studies at Kings College in London, there were no links between areas that had a high percentage of lawful gun possession and high levels of gun crime. Still, however, the handgun ban has remained in place, leaving citizens unarmed.

Now those citizens are clearly interested in protecting themselves in the wake of the violent protests and are having to resort to alternative means to do so.

The situation in the United Kingdom and the fact that citizens are relatively defenseless during the shocking and sudden onslaught of violent riots should certainly put Second Amendment Rights into perspective for American citizens.

The recently signed bill has already garnered the support of Florida Carry, which contends that the law is a good one, since “passing good state laws is a hollow victory when local governments ignore them.” As a result of the new law, however, only the Florida legislature can curb concealed weapons.

In fact, according to Florida Carry, Richard Nascak, co-executive director of Florida Carry, “worked tirelessly throughout 2010 to bring the abused preemption issue to light and was a genesis” for the law signed by Governor Scott.


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