Under a new Florida law that takes effect Oct. 1, all cities and counties must repeal local rules limiting gun ownership, which means handguns may be turning up more often in places like parks and city halls, reports the Miami Herald. Although the state has claimed sole right to regulate firearms since 1987, this year's new law adds fines for local officials who fail to comply, and gives gun owners a right to sue for damages if they believe their rights have been violated.
Local leaders have begun to comply, cancelling laws that kept guns out of parks and community buildings, and taking down signs warning visitors not to bring firearms to such places. The law highlights differences between those Floridians who see guns as tools of criminals and those who see them as sporting goods, tools of self-defense or symbols of freedom. Guns still aren't allowed in schools or bars. They may be brought into government buildings, although an exception allows them to be excluded while a city council, school board or county commission is meeting. Private businesses still get to decide whether to allow guns inside.