WESTON, FLA. (WSVN) - - Ten mayors from across South Florida filed a lawsuit against Gov. Rick Scott and Attorney General Pam Bondi over a law that prevents city councils and commissions to take action when it comes to gun reform.
Gun violence concerns were the main topic at Weston City Hall on Monday, as Broward and Miami-Dade officials conveyed the urgency of the matter from their constituents.
“We get phone calls every day, ‘What are you going to do?'” said Miramar Mayor Wayne Messam.
Messam said Florida mayors’ hands are tied when it comes to gun violence in their communities.
“As elected officials, we should have the ability to explore all possible constitutional regulatory options,” he said.
But the mayors filing the lawsuit said a 1987 law prevents them from doing so, because it puts guns squarely in the hands of the legislature. It prohibits local ordinances, even when it comes to regulating firearms in city buildings.
The legislation also places severe penalties on any elected official who tries. “First, a penalty of up to $5,000 against the individual elected official,” said attorney Jamie Cole. “Second, the potential removal from office by the governor, and third, unlimited lawsuits by any interested person.”
“The purpose of [proponents of the 1987 law] was to chill and deter us from even having conversations,” said Weston Mayor Daniel Stermer.
“In my own city hall, somebody can walk in with a concealed weapon, and there’s legally nothing I can do about it, nothing,” said Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber.
The mayors placed the blame in part on the National Rifle Association’s influence over state lawmakers, but they said the climate has now changed, after the Feb. 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
“I’m prepared to put my office where my mouth is,” said Stermer. “I invite the governor, I invite [NRA lobbyist] Marion Hammer, I invite the NRA, if you want to have the conversation, come have the conversation.”
“Enough is enough, ladies and gentlemen,” said Pompano Beach Mayor Lamar Fisher. “That’s all we want to do, is to be able to talk, to be able to structure ordinances that will protect ultimately our residents and our cities in this state.”
It is against the law to carry a weapon into a commission meeting, but only because it is stipulated by a separate law.
The NRA did not immediately respond to 7News’ calls for comment.
The law was filed Monday in Tallahassee, in Leon County. No hearing dates have been set yet.
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