Case Information: Florida Carry, et al. v. City of Tallahassee, et al., No. 2014-CA-1168 (First District Court of Appeal brief filed May 26, 2016).
At Issue: This case involves a Florida preemption law that limits local regulation in the field of firearms and purports to impose harsh penalties on local officials found to violate the law. The City of Tallahassee argued that the law is unconstitutional, but the Florida Circuit Court held that it did not need to reach this question because Tallahassee legislators did not violate the law. The case is now on appeal with the First District Court of Appeal.
The Law Center’s Brief: Our brief explains that under Florida’s dangerous law, local legislators can be personally punished if they vote for a local ordinance that impinges upon the field of firearms regulation. We argue that this unprecedented approach to enforcing a preemption law, since followed by other states, is unconstitutional because it deprives legislators of constitutionally-guaranteed immunity from civil liability for their legislative activities. Further, we argue that fining and removing legislators from office for voting will discourage people from seeking elected office in Florida, chill democratic participation, and deter enactment of non-preempted laws.