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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Because of new state law, cities and counties are scrambling to get their gun laws off the books



The state of Florida is going after a gang of gun outlaws by threatening them with $5,000 fines, firings and lawsuits.

So who's in the gang?

St. Petersburg, Brooksville, Tampa, Hillsborough County —and other scattered scofflaws.

As a result, city councils and county commissions are now scrambling to rewrite local laws, because they're staring down the barrel at those fines, firings and lawsuits.

St. Petersburg is getting ready to repeal its ordinance against discharging firearms in the city limits. Tarpon Springs made a similar decision in August. Brooksville killed a ban on guns in parks and also deleted a law that could have suspended the sale of ammunition and firearms during emergencies. There are many more.

All those ordinances have been illegal for years because state law prevents cities and counties from regulating guns. But a new law, set to take effect Oct. 1, takes it a step further. It allows judgments of up to $100,000 against local governments that enforce such laws. And, in an unusual move, the law also says local officials could be fired and fined $5,000, with no representation from the city or county attorney.

State Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fort Walton Beach, who sponsored the law, said "There's been plenty of hand-wringing and bed-wetting from local government."

Keep reading the Times story.

[Last modified: Thursday, September 1, 2011 11:59am]


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