Signs saying “No Guns Allowed” are being stripped from many Florida government buildings, libraries, and airports, reports the New York Times. Local ordinances that bar people from shooting weapons in their yards, firing up into the air, or taking guns into parks are coming off the books. Since 1987, local governments in Florida have been banned from creating and enforcing their own gun ordinances. Few cities and counties paid attention, though, believing that places like Miami might need to be more restrictive than others.
This year the legislature passed a new law that imposes fines on counties and municipalities that do not do away with and stop enforcing their own firearms and ammunition ordinances by Oct. 1. Mayors and council and commission members will risk a $5,000 fine and removal from office if they “knowingly and willfully violate” the law. Towns that enforce their ordinances risk a $100,000 fine. State lawmakers who supported the bill, which was backed by the National Rifle Association, said local governments were overreacting, particularly since the original law that pre-empted local gun ordinances was passed in 1987. “The notion that a city ordinance stops violence is patently absurd,” said State Representative Matt Gaetz, who sponsored the bill. “People lawfully carrying weapons with permits are rarely part of the problem.” The law seeks to protect licensed gun owners who travel from county to county and may not be familiar with the patchwork of rules that dictate where they can carry and shoot a gun.