We Asked, You Answered: Should Your City Have Stricter Gun Laws Than The State Of Florida?

Apr 9, 2018

Last week, several cities announced they were suing Gov. Rick Scott to overturn a 1987 state law that bans cities from passing tougher restrictions than the state on guns..

Weston Mayor Daniel Stermer initiated the lawsuit. "If not now, when?" he said in an interview with WLRN's The Florida Roundup. "The horrific events of February 14 once again brought into focus the need to have reasonable and responsible measures with regard to firearms on the local level." 

He's not the only elected official who wants to make changes in his town. The mayor of Miramar wants to make a new 5,000-seat amphitheater a gun-free zone. Miami Beach’s mayor wants to keep guns out of City Hall. The mayor of Coral Gables wants to ban the sale of assault weapons. 

 

The 1987 state law that was beefed up in 2011 does not allow local governments to enact their own gun laws. 

Read more: Is Your City One Of 10 Suing The State Over Gun Control Laws?

WLRN asked you about your thoughts on this issue: should your city have stricter gun laws than the state of Florida? In 24 hours, at least a dozen listeners responded to us via text message. Here's some of the responses you shared with us:

Vivian B. from Hollywood thinks there will be major changes this election season. But she would still like her community "to be able to to ban assault rifles, have extensive background checks and be able to remove guns from people who are mentally ill or exhibit violent behavior.” 

Eric D. from Boca Raton says that if communities could create their own localized laws, then legal gun ownership would be "near impossible." "The variation in laws as you travel through these local communities would set up a legal nightmare in trying to abide by them."

Omi D. from Palmetto Bay: "While I would prefer the entire state to have sensible gun laws that protect our children and public places, I would be in favor of my community having the ability to do so."

David H. from North Miami believes local governments should be have the right to enforce their own gun laws.

"I do believe local communities should be able to enact local gun measures to protect the people without taking anyone’s right to own a gun. I’m for banning assault weapons, enacting higher taxes on guns an especially bullets to make it too expensive to own excessive weaponry. I think we should require a medical certificate and a psychological exam to own a gun."

Michael G. from Miami doesn't want separate laws, at all. "The new law can be rolled back with or without the local prohibition privilege and should be. 18 to join the military, 18 to go to jail, 18 to purchase and possess a firearm."

Jeanette L. from Boca Raton already has some ideas about what kinds of local gun laws she would like to see in her city.

"Some changes could be anything that allows for high velocity and high capacity rounds to be banned from the city, such as, of course AR-15s and bump stocks. Another would be that any Boca Raton resident who own or purchase guns have their identity information be registered into a local city or law enforcement database which law enforcement can access when they need to. That would go along with a civil penalty or fine that goes to be applied if a resident is found to own firearms without registering them.  Next, a small tax to be applied to all resident gun owners. For example, a $25 dollar annual gun ownership tax. This collected tax revenue could then be used by the city for arms-related safety needs like schools and for implementing and managing a database of any of those civil penalties.” 

Abby from Miami: "They should be different. The laws should be written in a way where there is no monetary influence, if that is even possible."

Row I. from Fort Lauderdale: "I think that some minimum statewide standards for all is best and for individual districts to build on that (or not) if required. Statewide, or city and countywide, I support universal background checks, three-day waiting period, a registry, banning of bump stocks and assault rifles. Put these minimums into place and tweak per region as necessary. If it has to start in cities one by one, so be it."