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REPORT: Florida Governor Rick Scott Signs Two Pro-Gun Bills into Law

Thursday, June 2, 2011

HB 155 - Privacy of Firearms Owners and HB 45 - Preemption Penalties
HAVE BEEN SIGNED

DATE:       June 2, 2011
TO:            USF & NRA Members and Friends
FROM:      Marion P. Hammer
                  USF Executive Director
                  NRA Past President

Governor Rick Scott SIGNED two priority Second Amendment bills yesterday.

House Bill 155, Privacy of Firearms Owners, sponsored by state Representative Jason Brodeur (R-33) and Senator Greg Evers (R-2) will STOP pediatricians from invading privacy rights of gun owners and bringing anti-gun politics into medical examining rooms was signed into law  on June 1 and will take effect IMMEDIATELY.

Houses Bill 45, Penalties for Violating Firearms Preemption Law, sponsored by state Representative Matt Gaetz (R-4) and Senator Joe Negron (R-28) will STOP local politicians and governments from violating Florida law by providing penalties for willful violations was also signed into law on June 1 and will take effect on October 1, 2011.  The delay in the effective date is to allow agencies and local governments to REPEAL any and all regulations, policies, and ordinances that violate Florida’s firearms preemption law.  Beginning October 1, citizens and organizations may bring actions against agencies and governments for violating Florida’s firearms preemption law.

ALSO SIGNED:  Governor Scott signed House Bill 7161, sponsored by state Representative Jimmy Patronis (R-6), which will retain the exemption of personal identifying information of Concealed Weapons & Firearms license applicants and license holders from public records.  This bill maintains the privacy rights of gun owners.

The American Academy of Pediatrics and the Florida Pediatric Society waged an unsuccessful campaign to get Governor Scott to veto HB 155.  In a letter they threatened to sue Governor Scott if the bill became law.

Anti-gun local government officials and bureaucrats also unsuccessfully urged Governor Scott to veto HB 45.

SB 234, Concealed Weapons License reform, has not yet reached the Governor's desk.  When it is delivered to the Governor he will have 14 days to sign it.

BACKGROUND ON HB 155
Doctors need to treat illness, not guns.  Pediatricians and other physicians, in growing numbers, are prying into our personal lives, invading our privacy and straying from issues relating to disease and medicine by questioning children or their parents about gun ownership.

We take our children to physicians for medical care, not moral judgment, political harassment and privacy intrusions - and that is what HB 155 prohibits.

This bill comes in answer to families who are complaining about the growing political agenda being carried out in examination rooms by doctors and medical staffs - and the arrogant berating if a patient refuses to answer questions that violate privacy rights and offend common decency.

Horrified parents have described nurses entering the answers to gun questions into laptop computers to become a part of medical records. Parents have become concerned about whether those records can be used by the government or by insurance companies to deny health care coverage because a family exercises a civil right in owning firearms.

As parents, we are responsible for our children's safety. We don't need doctors pushing their anti-gun politics on us or our children. We need them to spend their time practicing medicine and not prying into our personal lives on issues that have nothing to do with disease, its cure, or its eradication.

BACKGROUND ON HB 45
In 1987, the Florida Legislature passed a firearms preemption statute  (f.s.790.33) to provide uniformity of gun laws -- in fact, it is called the "Joe Carlucci Uniform Firearms Act."

It was intended to stop local governments from making criminals out of law-abiding citizens just because they simply crossed a city limit or county line.  It was intended to provide uniform gun laws so that no matter where in the state you live and no matter where in the state you travel, the same gun laws apply. 

Unfortunately, the law contains no penalties for violations because no one ever imagined that local elected officials and government workers would willfully and knowingly violate state law. 

The absence of penalties has lead to many intentional violations and has resulted in subsequent lawsuits to protect the rights of law-abiding citizens.

Over and over again, NRA attorneys have written letters to local governments informing them that proposed ordinances violate state law.  Unfortunately, when their lawyers confirm that the ordinance would be illegal, they usually also explain that there are no penalties for violating the law -- consequently, some jurisdictions have arrogantly thumbed their noses at state law and have passed illegal ordinances anyway.

In 2000, the City of South Miami was one of the cities that NRA lawyers wrote concerning a proposed ordinance that violated state law.

The City's external counsel confirmed that it was a violation, but also noted that there were no penalties.  We were informed that city Commissioners were told that without penalties, they could do what they wanted to do.  Further, an illegal ordinance would stand until the City was sued and a court declared the ordinance void. 

The rights of law-abiding gun-owners were being violated, so NRA sued.

NRA won the lawsuit and, in fact, the appellate court even noted in its opinion that the court had previously ruled that local ordinances violate state law.

It is not the NRA's responsibility to enforce state law, but nobody else will do it because there are no specified penalties.

This has to stop. 

This bill provides penalties for local officials and local governments that willfully violate the Florida firearms preemption law.  These penalties are designed to stop violations.

 

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