Sarasota City Attorney warns commissioners about “assault weapon” resolution

Lee’s note: This just in from my colleague Zach Murdock.

Zach and I will be covering tonight’s hearing on the controversial “assault weapons” resolution, with updates posted live of Twitter, Facebook and this site.

Click here for a copy of the City Attorney’s warning letter.

Published: Monday, June 20, 2016 at 1:12 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, June 20, 2016 at 3:06 p.m.

SARASOTA – City attorney Robert Fournier is cautioning the City Commission against a resolution calling for new gun control measures limiting “military-grade, high-capacity magazine assault weapons” at its meeting Monday night.

The city risks opening itself to a lawsuit by the National Rifle Association or some other organization if it passes the resolution, which would ask state and federal lawmakers to pass a ban on assault rifles for civilians.

Per Florida’s pre-emption laws, the city is not authorized to regulate firearms or ammunition in any way.

City of Sarasota, City Attorney, Robert (Bob) Fournier. Photographed Tuesday evening September 6, 2011. (Herald-Tribune Staff Photo by Thomas Bender)

City of Sarasota, City Attorney, Robert (Bob) Fournier. Photographed Tuesday evening September 6, 2011. (Herald-Tribune Staff Photo by Thomas Bender)

The resolution offered Monday would not create any regulations, and therefore is not subject to those pre-emption rules, Fournier wrote to commissioners late last week.

However, state law provides more latitude for “a person or an organization whose membership is adversely affected” by any city, rule, order or policy to sue the city under pre-emption laws, Founier wrote.

“The City Commission will have to decide whether adoption of the Resolution is worth the risk of a lawsuit in which the City would be the guinea pig in the first legal test to determine whether the pre-emption statute will be more broadly construed and applied to extend to ‘measures, directives or policies’ that fall short of the regulatory activity,” Fournier wrote.

“I question the value of a public debate on the subject before the City Commission when the City Commission isn’t really in a position to take any final action on it,” he continued.

Click here to read the rest of Zach’s story.

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About Author

Lee Williams can’t remember a time in his life when he wasn’t shooting. Before becoming a journalist, Lee served in the Army and worked as a police officer. He’s earned more than a dozen journalism awards as a reporter, and three medals of valor as a cop. He is an NRA-certified law enforcement firearms instructor, an avid tactical shooter and a training junkie. When he’s not busy as a senior investigative reporter, he is usually shooting his AKs, XDs and CZs. If you don’t run into him at a local gun range, you can reach him at 941.284.8553, by email, or by regular mail to 1777 Main St., Sarasota, FL 34236. You can follow him on Twitter: @HT_GunWriter and on Facebook @The Gun Writer.

1 Comment

  1. I say NO, my Constitutional Right is not up for debate! Especially @ the hands of a few politicians (any really), they have absolutely no authority for such an obscene overreach. Who decides what the definition of “Assault Weapons” are & a hand gun can do more damage & just as fast as an long gun. No, first it may be 1, then another & another, when does it stop?! They are just trying to deflect the act of terrorism & the powers that be which has failed to properly keep Americans safe. The 1st & foremost job requirement, instead they want to blame the American Citizen. Therefore we must protect ourselves. Keep your change & we’ll keep our firearms.

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