DeSantis Signs Bill Restricting Gun Regulations by Local Governments


Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed bill SB 1884 Friday which bans local governments from imposing local gun regulations that are stricter than the state firearm laws. The measure stems from a 1987 preemption law in Florida that originally established a ban on local gun regulations which was then strengthened in 2011 to establish harsher punishments for violating the law.

The 2011 law includes a punishment that involves local governments paying up to $100,000 in damages if they are prosecuted for establishing gun regulations, while local officials could pay up $5,000 in fines or even forced out of office.

The recent signing of SB 1884 broadens the 2011 law by extending the punishment to include “unwritten” policies by local governments that violate the 1987 preemption. It also broadens the law by requiring local governments to pay for court fees and damages for lawsuits filed against a local gun regulation before the local government changes their policy to align with the preemption.

According to the Orlando Sentinel, Republican state Representative Cord Byrd from Neptune Beach, who was the sponsor of the bill, claimed that the bill was needed to protect Floridians’ Second Amendment rights and that it was created to “send a message” to local governments who looked to increase gun regulations.

In contrast, Democrats opposed the signing of the bill and advocated for local gun regulation by citing multiple mass shootings that have happened in Florida’s recent history, including the Pulse nightclub shooting in 2016 and the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in 2018.

Dan Daley, a Democrat and Representative from Coral Springs stated during a debate regarding the bill, “If you want the state to be the only one to regulate the issue of guns and ammunition, when some Floridian gets injured or killed, then that Floridian or their family should have a cause of action against this state,” and “should have the opportunity for compensation.”

After Friday’s approval by DeSantis, SB 1884 will take effect July 1st, 2021.

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Casey Owens is a writer at The Florida Capital Star. Follow him on Twitter at @cowensreports. Email tips to [email protected]











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