House Bill 45, sponsored by Rep. Matt Gaetz and it's companion, Senate Bill 402, sponsored by Sen. Joe Negron. is a long-overdue initiative to rectify an serious oversight made twenty-four years ago by the Florida legislature.
In 1987, §790.33 Florida Statutes became law. This law, referred to as the preemption statute, declared that the Florida legislature was occupying the entire field of regulation relating to firearms and ammunition, and declared that all existing and future ordinances, rules, and regulations passed by counties, cities, and municipalities were null and void. Lacking any way to enforce the statute led to these local jurisdictions to ignore it and continue passing local laws in violation of it.
HB45/SB402 has the following provisions:
- Specifically prohibits local jurisdictions from regulating storage of firearms and ammunition.
- Eliminates local jurisdictions from enacting firearms business zoning ordinances.
- Clarifies that no entity other than the state legislature may regulate firearms.
- Eliminates waiting periods imposed by local jurisdictions.
- Establishes penalties for violations of the statute enacted by local authorities including conviction of a third-degree felony, withholding of public funds to defend such violators, a fine of up to $5 million for willful violation, investigation by the state attorney, possible removal from office of willful violators by the governor, and award of actual and consequential damages and attorney's fees.
In view of the fact that this bill will restore the Florida legislature's orginal intent in occupying the entire field of regulation of firearms and ammunition, Florida Carry, Inc. fully supports this bill. We urge the committees to approve the bill, the legislature to approve it, and encourages the Governor to sign this bill into law at his earliest opportunity.