Florida Enacts Individual Liability for Violations of Firearm Preemption but Will Pennsylvania Follow Suit?
Effective October 1st, 2011, Florida has enacted individual liability for violations of its firearms preemption laws but will Pennsylvania follow suit? Similar to Pennsylvania, since 1987, Florida law contains a preemption statute which prohibits any county, municipality, or township from enacting any regulation, policy or ordinance that limits the ownership, possession, and transfer of firearms. Pennsylvania’s preemption statute can be found at 18 Pa.C.S. 6120 .
Similar to Pennsylvania’s preemption statute, Florida’s preemption statute, prior to this new legislation, lacked any form of enforcement mechanism, as there was no penalty for non-compliance. That all changed with Florida’s HB 45, which now provides for individual liability of $5000 for any public official who passes or enforces gun regulations contrary to the statute. The Governor also has the power to remove any public official for enacting or enforcing any local gun laws.
But, will Pennsylvania follow suit? Representative Metcalfe has already proposed a similar amendment to PA’s preemption statute, known as HB 1523. If enacted, this would provide for the reimbursement of actual costs and reasonable attorney fees of the aggrieved party. Moreover, depending on whether the municipality rescinds the ordinance prior to a court decision or goes to decision, the municipality will have to pay two to three times the sum of the actual damages, reasonable attorney fees, and costs.
If you have questions about Pennsylvania’s preemption law or live in a municipality that is unlawfully enacting ordinances or regulations limiting your right to keep and bear arms, contact me today to discuss your issue.