By: Michael Demyan
In 2011, changes to a previous law were made that would result in local government officials being removed from office and fined up to $5,000 if they passed any kind of gun control regulations. Currently, members of the state government are the only ones able to create gun legislation in Florida.
Since the Feb. 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, many South Florida cities have called for some type of additional gun control laws, but since local governments cannot actually make those changes, all they can do is lobby the state to do it.
The Boca Raton City Council voted 4-1 Tuesday to join the lawsuit, which would remove the penalties, but not remove the law banning cities from passing gun control legislation.
The only council member to vote against joining the lawsuit was Jeremy Rodgers, who noted that the move would be costing taxpayers.
“I’d rather take a wait and see approach,” he said. “This is moving forward with or without us and there’s a cost to our taxpayers in going forward with this, so I don’t plan to support this at this time.”
That cost to taxpayers will be $10,000 in legal fees.
Other council members, however, believe that it is something that should be done regardless, citing that local government should be able to make decisions that they think are best for their community, something that state government is unable to cater to. Boca Raton Mayor Susan Haynie feels that the state is taking away the power of local governments to best govern their cities.
“The state of Florida needs to stop pre-empting local government,” she said. “We are the closest level of government to the people. We are here 24/7 for our residents and it’s important that we have the ability to govern and to regulate.”
The lawsuit, which was filed on April 2 by the city of Weston, currently includes cities such as Coral Gables, Miami Beach, Miami Gardens, Miramar, Pompano Beach and Weston.