Everytown Litigation Files Suit on Behalf of Florida Cities Challenging Punitive Preemption Penalties; Seeks to Clear Path For Local Ordinances that would Limit Sales of Large Capacity Magazines

April 10, 2018

BROWARD COUNTY, FL. – The Broward County cities of Coral Springs, Coconut Creek and Pembroke Pines today sued the state of Florida and Florida officials as part of their efforts to enact prohibitions on large-capacity magazines, alleging that Florida’s punitive firearms preemption law unconstitutionally and illegally threatens local legislators and municipalities with substantial penalties for enacting ordinances that may later be found to be preempted by Florida state law.

Under the punitive aspect of Florida’s firearms preemption law, if a city passes gun violence prevention legislation that is later found to be preempted, the municipality can be forced to pay up to $100,000 in damages per lawsuit plus unlimited legal fees, and the elected officials who voted to pass the ordinance can be fined up to $5,000 and removed from office if they are found to have acted knowingly and willfully. The lawsuit challenges these punitive provisions as an unconstitutional attempt to silence local officials and their communities, as well as an illegal barrier as the three cities try to prohibit the sale or transfer of most large-capacity magazines.

Everytown for Gun Safety’s Litigation Team and Proskauer Rose LLP are lead counsel in the suit, which also includes as plaintiffs Commissioner Dan Daley of Coral Springs and Mayor Frank Ortis of Pembroke Pines. The complaint can be read here.

Filed in Broward County Circuit Court, the legal challenge includes ten separate claims, including allegations that the punitive provisions violate: (a) legislative immunity, separation of powers and governmental immunity; (b) the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution as well as the constitutional right to due process; and (c) the home rule and other provisions of the Florida Constitution.

The cities have requested expedited review and are seeking a declaratory judgment that the penalties are unconstitutional and illegal, as well as an injunction barring their enforcement.

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