DATE: March 4, 2013
MEDIA CONTACT: Kimberly Maroe, Public Information Manager
Broward County Commission
Broward County Commissioners are asking the state Legislature for permission to allow local governments to make decisions about where people can legally carry guns in public places such as parks, government owned facilities and government owned property.
Currently the Florida Constitution prevents counties and local government from regulating firearms.
“There is no good reason for a person to be carrying a gun into a governmental center, or on a playground where there are children. This resolution simply asks our state legislature to readdress this issue and give us and other local governments back our home rule power,” said Mayor Kristin Jacobs.
“As a mother of two children, when I took my children to the park, it was comforting for me to know that you could not have a weapon in that park. State law on this is hypocritical. In Florida, you can’t carry a gun into a hospital, but you can carry a gun into a sexual assault treatment center. All we're asking is to be able to regulate this so that the laws are even and evenly applied,” said Commissioner Stacy Ritter.
Commissioners voted 8 to 1 in support of the measure. Commissioner Chip LaMarca cast the dissenting vote. “I'm a strong supporter of the second amendment and the first amendment and without our second amendment we would not have a first amendment in this country. I don't want to follow some of the comments that have been made here about the federal government and politicize the issue of guns. I want to vote against this to keep me from having any rights infringed just like anybody else,” LaMarca said.
The approved resolution refers to the mass shootings that have taken place in Connecticut, Colorado, Wisconsin and Arizona and states that the resolution is intended only to regulate or prohibit firearms in public parks and other local government owned facilities and property within the County’s jurisdiction. Several Broward County cities have approved similar resolutions.
In 2011, the State Legislature voted in favor of a new State Statute that imposed heavy fines and penalties on local governments that attempted to enforce local firearm ordinances.