The School Board of Sarasota County wants to regulate firearms

Tom Barwin

In June of 2016, Sarasota City Manager Tom Barwin famously decided that the city should pass a resolution calling on state and federal officials to ban “assault weapons” and “high-capacity” magazines.

Barwin, a Chicago-area native with extreme anti-gun views, learned a hard lesson back then about regulating firearms in Florida, when his own city attorney, Robert Fournier, told him and the city commissioners the bad news about the state’s powerful preemption statute — that if they even voted on the resolution they could all be looking for work.

“I wouldn’t recommend that you take action,” Fournier said at the time of Barwin’s resolution.

Fournier knew the preemption statute only allows the state legislature to regulate firearms.

Any public official who violates preemption can face up to a $5,000 fine and removal from office. State law even specifies that public officials must pay the fines personally, with their own money. No public funds can be used to pay for their misdeeds.

And Fournier knew that merely voting on a resolution to ask for an “assault weapon” ban was enough to violate the preemption statute.

Now, some members of the School Board of Sarasota County want to regulate firearms too, but their resolution calls for much more than an “assault weapon” or “high-capacity” magazine ban.

In fact, banning modern sporting rifles and standard-capacity magazines is just the start of what certain school board members have in mind.

According to an internal school board document, the members are calling on Congress to ban the “manufacture, sale, possession and use of assault weapons and large-capacity ammunition cartridges” — whatever those are — “except those needed by the military and law enforcement.”

They also want Congress to “require and strengthen” universal background checks, and they’re calling on the President to charge “all agencies of the federal government with the task of reducing the number of gun-related deaths in America.”

But wait, there’s more.

The members reject the law that now allows Florida schools to arm teachers, and they want Congress to extend the perimeter of gun-free school zones, although they don’t say how far.

Marion Hammer

They also want Congress to require every state as well as the federal government to “collect whatever data is necessary to track, monitor, understand and prevent the extent of gun-violence in America.”

The School Board is scheduled to discuss the resolution at their workshop Tuesday, Oct. 15.

Marion Hammer is a past-president and current board member of the National Rifle Association, and she also serves as executive director of the Unified Sportsmen of Florida — the state’s NRA affiliate.

“You can be sure that pro-gun organizations will be monitoring the actions of elected public officials who seek illegal actions that do nothing to solve the problem of violence in America,” Hammer told me Friday night. “If they really want to stop violence in America, why don’t they support legislation that deals with people who commit violence rather than inanimate objects. One would expect more of educators than politically motivated actions based on ignorance.”


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. paul Vincent zecchino on

    Leave it so Sarasocialist County to push this garbage. City manager Barwin’s another one down from chicongo. That awful ‘slouch cap’ he wears tells the tale, doesn’t it? Every turn of the last century Marxist sported them.

    He’s a hard core leftist and his anti-Second Amendment stance is of a piece with his ‘road diets’ by which he confiscates road lanes and hands them to psycholists who are out playing bicycle while the rest of the citizenry is trying to get someplace.

    Barwin wants to make the City of Sarasota ‘Seattle on the Gulf.’ One wonders whether he’ll import ANTIFA and decorate the streets with needles and feces, always great tourist draws.

    The school board’s language indicates their self-righteousness and their absolute pig-ignorance as to firearms. “High capacity bullets” or some such putrid noise? What’s that, other than their abject pious stupidity yapping?

    And these ‘resolutions’, Heaven forbid they pass into laws will stop some school shooter, how?

    In another time, they’d be legally committed patients of a psychopathic hospital. Today, they fancy themselves our exalted rulers.

  2. where is this photo from, and is it displayed somewhere official, seems guy on the left is making the racist white power hand signal, should be called out on it, he’s a racist.

  3. Peter Stephens on

    “An Unarmed Man, Is An Enslaved Man!” “A Disarmed Man, Is a Conquered Man!” ” I shall not be, Enslaved or Conquered!” Sic Semper Tyrannis !

  4. WOW ! I live up in Pasco and now I FEEL so much safer, If there ever is a bad guy with a gun I hope he abides by these resolutions.

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