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Florida Supreme Court Asked To Weigh Gun Law

TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/NSF) – A coalition of local governments and Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried want the Florida Supreme Court to take up a dispute about a 2011 state law that threatens tough penalties if city and county officials approve gun-related regulations.

Attorneys for the local governments and Fried filed notices Wednesday that are initial steps in asking the Supreme Court to hear the case.

As is common, the notices do not provide detailed legal arguments. But they stem, in part, from a decision last month by the 1st District Court of Appeal to deny a request to send the case to the Supreme Court – a request known as certifying "questions of great public importance."

The efforts to get a Supreme Court hearing have come after the Tallahassee-based appeals court in April upheld the constitutionality of the 2011 law.

Florida since 1987 has barred cities and counties from passing regulations that are stricter than state firearms laws, and the penalties in the 2011 law were designed to strengthen that "preemption."

The law, for example, could lead to local officials facing $5,000 fines and potential removal from office for passing gun regulations.

Attorneys for local governments have contended the threatened penalties infringe on types of immunity that help shield public officials from lawsuits over their decision-making and actions.

Local governments and officials filed three lawsuits challenging the 2011 law after the February 2018 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland that killed 17 people.

The local governments and officials did not challenge the underlying 1987 preemption law but contended the penalties in the 2011 law were unconstitutional.

(©2021 CBS Local Media. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The News Service of Florida's Jim Saunders and Jim Turner contributed to this report.)

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