CORAL SPRINGS, Fla. — Florida Agriculture Commissioner and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Nikki Fried attacked the state's gun preemption law during a Thursday afternoon news conference in Broward County.
Fried was at Coral Springs City Hall, just a few miles away from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, where 17 people were killed and 17 others were wounded in the Feb. 14, 2018, mass shooting.
The Florida Supreme Court is hearing oral arguments regarding a 2011 state law that threatens stiff penalties if municipalities pass their own gun safety ordinances.
"Florida [has] one of the most extreme firearm preemption laws in the entire country," Fried said Thursday. "Not only are local officials and municipalities not allowed to pass any kind of gun regulations that are stricter than state law, but they can actually be punished with harsh personal and financial penalties for just doing their jobs."
More than 30 municipal governments, along with Fried, took the dispute to the state's high court after an appellate court upheld the law.
Florida law prohibits cities and counties from passing gun regulations that are stricter than state laws.
A Leon County judge ruled in 2019 that the state law was unconstitutional, but Gov. Ron DeSantis and Attorney General Ashley Moody appealed the decision.
Fried's office, which licenses firearms in the state, was initially a defendant in the case. But when Fried succeeded Republican Adam Putnam in 2019, she directed Moody to remove the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services from the state's appeal.
"This law just doesn't make any sense," Fried said Thursday. "It makes our state less safe."
Fried was joined by Coral Springs Mayor Scott Brook and Broward County Commissioner Nan Rich, among others, who voiced their support for striking down the law, calling it unconstitutional.