Florida Carry, SAF file lawsuit against Tallahassee for gun restriction

Alan Gottlieb, founder of the Second Amendment Foundation. (Photo credit: SAF)

Alan Gottlieb, founder of the Second Amendment Foundation. (Photo credit: SAF)

The Second Amendment Foundation along with Florida Carry, Inc. filed a lawsuit against the city of Tallahassee for violating the state’s preemption laws with respect to firearms.

The suit targets a city ordinances which outlaws the discharge of firearms and air guns and makes no exception for lawful instances of self-defense, according to Alan Gottlieb, the founder and executive vice president of the SAF.

Under Florida’s preemption laws, cities and municipalities are not allowed to enact or maintain tougher gun laws that what the state requires.

“Clearly,” Gottlieb explained in a press release, “Tallahassee has way over-stepped its authority under state preemption. The Florida Legislature has exclusive domain over firearms regulation. When the law was passed, it nullified all existing, and future, city and county firearm ordinances and regulations.

“[Tallahassee] Mayor Marks and his colleagues on the city commission knew all of this,” he added, “but they rejected an opportunity to bring the city into compliance. Their stubbornness really left us no choice but to join Florida Carry in this action.”

Mayor John Marks and City Commissioners Nancy Miller, Andrew Gillum and Gil Ziffer are named as the defendants in the case, which was filed in the Second Judicial Circuit Court for Leon County.

At a Mayors Against Illegal Guns demonstration last month, Marks spoke about his opposition to the preemption law, arguing that cities and local government’s have a better understanding of what gun restrictions are needed and wanted by their residents.

Cindy Lerner, Mayor of the Village of Pinecrest in Miami-Dade County, speaks about the state’s preemption laws that prohibit local governments from creating gun ordinances inconsistent with state law. She and Tallahassee Mayor John Marks, right, were joined by other members of Mayors Against Illegal Guns and Moms Demand Action For Gun Sense in America. (Photo by Karl Etters/Democrat)

Cindy Lerner, Mayor of the Village of Pinecrest in Miami-Dade County, speaks out against the state’s preemption laws. She and Tallahassee Mayor John Marks, right, were joined by other members of Mayors Against Illegal Guns and Moms Demand Action For Gun Sense in America. (Photo by Karl Etters/Democrat)

“The cities know how to protect their citizens. They are closest to their citizens,” Marks, a self identified gun owner, told Tallahassee.com. “They are the ones that see those citizens on a daily basis and we want to protect our citizens.”

While Marks believes that tougher regulations on firearms would help keep guns out of the wrong hands, Florida Carry believes quite the opposite, that such measures only make it more difficult for law-abiding gun owners to exercise their Second Amendment rights.

“Since 2011, Florida Carry has prompted the repeal of anti-gun ordinances and regulations in over 200 Florida jurisdictions, including municipalities, counties, colleges and state agencies,” said Florida Carry Executive Director Sean Caranna.

“Usually the jurisdiction is responsive to our notification that there is a problem and no lawsuit is necessary. It is a rare and unfortunate circumstance when local government leaders decide to willfully break state law, despite the personal penalties. When local officials are willing to knowingly violate the law in order to suppress the rights of law-abiding gun owners, they can expect that we’re going to make them pay for it.”