Tue 23 Aug, 2011 06:00 pm
Local gun laws up for repeal in Jacksonville, Clay County
Posted: August 22, 2011
Local gun laws that were written decades ago could be retired
in a few weeks to meet new state rules that leave Tallahassee
in sole charge of gun policy.
Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown is asking the City Council to repeal
local ordinances that banned gunfire inside the city's pre-1968
boundaries and set other rules that were largely echoed in state law.
The repeal bill (2011-559) is being introduced at today's 5 p.m.
Also today, Clay County Commission members are scheduled to have
public hearings on repealing their own shooting ordinance and one
about licenses to carry guns. Commissioners are also being asked to
change an ordinance about weapons possession during emergencies.
Communities across the state are making similar changes because
of legislation Gov. Rick Scott signed in June that overturns local ordinances,
said Cragin Mosteller, a spokeswoman for the Florida Association of Counties.
That legislation set an Oct. 1 deadline for cities and counties to stop
enforcing local gun rules. The law says anyone knowingly violating
the deadline could be removed from office,
and groups affected by the old rules are free to sue agencies
that keep enforcing them. [THAT is a freedom-loving statute. David]
"We have to comply with state law or risk being fined," Brown
spokesman Abel Harding said. "We're just trying to be compliant."
Mosteller said that while counties are getting ready for the deadline,
her association opposed the bill during this year's legislative session.
"We certainly feel this does not follow the fundamental principle of
home rule," which would leave more decisions about gun controls
to local communities, she said.
Backers of the bill said during the session that having consistent gun laws
from one town to another protected gun-owners' rights and that had
been a goal of state law for almost 25 years.
Jacksonville's repeal bill asks council members to keep one local
ordinance in place, a rule forbidding anyone from targeting people
or animals with laser pointers, which are sometimes used with guns.
The bill would move that rule to a different city ordinance
regulating public safety.
[All emfasis and red text has been added by David.]