Wilton Manors Sues State to Get Rid of Preemption Rule

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On the same night Mayor Gary Resnick asked for a moment of silence for the victims of the recent Santa Fe High School shooting, he also talked about the city’s lawsuit against the State of Florida regarding preemption on gun regulations.

Resnick, who is also a plaintiff in the lawsuit, mentioned the Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooting and how there have been a lot of moments of silence in the commission chambers for similar shootings. “It seems like we just keep doing these moments of silence and nothing changes. But hopefully things are starting to change now.”

The city also had a proclamation for National Gun Violence Awareness Day. Vice Mayor Justin Flippen talked about the recent news that more students have died in school shootings in 2018 than the number of U.S. servicemen and women killed in combat. “That is a shameful statistic we really have to take to heart,” Flippen said.

But for now, taking things to heart is just about all city officials can do.

According to state law, local governments are not allowed to pass firearm regulations. If they do, each official who participates can be fined up to $5,000 and be removed from office, and any regulations they pass would just be removed by the state. The preemption has come under more and more scrutiny as local governments have expressed more of a desire to pass gun control laws on the local level in response to gun violence.

“We had an idea that we would pass a regulation that would require a gun dealer, and there’s several in Wilton Manors, that a gun dealer notify our police department if someone is denied a gun permit because they failed a background check,” Resnick said. The idea, however, did not move forward because of the exemption, he added. “We are trying to do what we can.”

Instead, he said the city has joined the lawsuit which is being funded by Everytown for Gun Safety, an organization that advocates for increased gun control. Pembroke Pines and Coral Springs are also a part of the lawsuit.

City Attorney Kerry Ezrol said that were other lawsuits filed by other cities, including Weston, and that there are discussions about all the cities possibly joining one lawsuit.

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