Florida lawmakers could fine local government officials who try to restrict the sale of guns and ammunition under a state law upheld by the state Supreme Court on Thursday.
Former Democratic Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried and some municipalities sued the state through the law it prevents local governments from imposing restrictions on gun sales, saying it goes too far because it also imposes fines against elected officials who vote for the restrictions.
But conservative Supreme Court justices dissented in a 4-1 decision, saying local officials are not exempt from fines related to gun laws.
“Occupying territory seized by the Legislature is not a primary function of a municipality, and local governments have no legal discretion or authority to enact ordinances that violate preemptive state rights,” the court wrote.
The Preventive Actions Act was revised in 2011 to include penalty provisions — and later challenged by several local governments that wanted to adopt gun safety measures after the 2018 Parkland High School shooting that left 17 dead. Fried, who resigned earlier this month after an unsuccessful run for governor, later joined the lawsuit.
The law provides for a fine of 5,000 dollars for officials who willfully violated the law. In his dissent, Judge Jorge Labarga said the penalty was “an impermissible judicial intrusion into an official’s legislative thought process and undermines his ability to implement the will of the voters.”