The new law regarding firearms says that Florida law will pretty much override or void any existing county or local ordinances. In some places, it will loosen standards. In others, it will tighten them.
The law is sparking controversy. For example, Angela Williams, the founder of the Mothers Against Murderers Association says, "In 2003, January 1st, New Year's Day, my nephew, Torrey, was murdered and it had devastated my entire family." Williams says she was so devastated by the loss of her nephew to gun violence, she founded the victims' organization. That's why she says she can't support the new Florida law if it's going to loosen standards.
Basically, the law says that the entire regulation of firearms in Florida will rest with the state when the law takes effect.
Bob Weisman, the Palm Beach County Administrator says, "You still can't endanger people." However, he goes on to say, "The county cannot have any separate rules."
So now, local governments like Palm Beach County are scrambling to make sure they'll be in compliance with the state law.
Gregg Stephens, the owner of Gator Guns and Archery Center says his customers are happy about the new law. He says it'll make things uniform and bring more money to Palm Beach County.
Stephens explained his reaction to hearing about the new law by saying, "I thought it was great. We're not in competition with Martin County anymore for selling guns. Before you could drive to Martin County and just buy it. They didn't have a county ordinance."
Penalties will be stiff for local authorities who don't follow the state law.
Weisman says, "County commissioners and people like myself, if we don't properly enforce the law the state has set up, we are subject to fines ourselves, even removal from office."
The law goes into effect October 1st. However, there will be a public hearing here at the Palm Beach County Commission building August 16th at 9:30 a.m. and another public hearing in September.
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