Tags: Florida | gun | laws | fines

Florida Cities, Counties Scramble to Avoid Gun Law Fines

Thursday, 01 Sep 2011 04:22 PM

By Andra Varin

Cities and counties across Florida are scrambling to erase local gun ordinances before they face big fines.

St. Petersburg is planning to repeal its ordinance against discharging firearms in the city limits, while Brooksville is eliminating a ban on guns in parks, the St. Petersburg Times reported today.

The local rules already were moot because state law prevents cities and counties from regulating guns. But under a new law that takes effect Oct. 1, local governments that enforce local gun restrictions could be subject to judgments of up to $100,000.

The new law also says local officials could be fined $5,000 and fired from their jobs if they try to enforce gun ordinances, the Times reported.

St. Petersburg Police Chief Chuck Harmon said going after individuals in such cases seems extreme.

"I think they went overboard. I understand if they want to regulate state gun laws as the Legislature has the authority to do. But what happens to an officer who may misapply an ordinance? That seems like an awful lot of penalties for something that may be unintentional," Harmon told the Times.

State Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fort Walton Beach, who sponsored the law, said, "There's been plenty of hand-wringing and bed-wetting from local government."

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