Skip to main content

Florida Anti-Gunners Looking to Skirt State's Preemption Law

Florida Anti-Gunners Looking to Skirt State's Preemption Law
Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Like many states, Florida has a strong firearms preemption law designed to keep municipalities from passing more restrictive gun laws than the state observes. Such laws are very important, since cities passing their own gun-control statues could result in a confusing patchwork of different laws that would be nearly impossible for law-abiding gun owners to navigate.

Unfortunately, an ongoing court case could render the preemption law useless, paving the way for just such a problem for law-abiding Florida gun owners.

The state’s First District Court of Appeals ruled about a year ago that the law was unconstitutional. The state immediately appealed the ruling, and arguments are now underway in the appeals case.

As my former long-time associate Cam Edwards mentioned recently over at, in courtroom recently, Edward Guedes, an attorney representing the elected officials who filed the original suit nearly a decade ago, argued that local lawmakers should have “absolute legislative immunity” for their official actions—an unbelievable contention to most.

During the hearing, Judge Brad Thomas questioned Guedes’ contentions: “Let’s go back to my hypothetical, where the local government knowingly passes and ordinance in violation of state law, imposes a 60-day potential jail time on a citizen, a citizen is arrested and put in jail under a county ordinance that was clearly preempted,” Thomas said. “Does the legislature not have a right to prevent that kind of evil?”

Guedes replied: “Not at the expense of constitutional principles.”

It’s not hard to see how dangerous such a notion is, since it would let any municipality or county pass any restrictive gun law it chooses, even if those passing the law know it violates state law. They could even jail a law-abiding gun owner for violating that statues, yet those same decision-makers would be immune from any type of legal action.

Florida gun owners can only hope that the state prevails and the firearms preemption law is recognized for what it is—a way to ensure petty local politicians don’t tread on the Second Amendment rights of Florida citizens. We’ll keep you posted as the case progresses.

Freelance writer and editor Mark Chesnut is the owner/editorial director at Red Setter Communications LLC. An avid hunter, shooter and political observer, he has been covering Second Amendment issues and politics on a near-daily basis for the past 20 years.

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

Recent Videos

Firearms News Magazine Covers Print and Tablet Versions

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!


Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services


Buy Digital Single Issues

Magazine App Logo

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the Firearms News App

Other Magazines

See All Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get the top Firearms News stories delivered right to your inbox.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Firearms News subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now

Enjoying What You're Reading?

Get a Full Year
of Guns & Ammo
& Digital Access.

Offer only for new subscribers.

Subscribe Now