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State urges dismissal of challenge to gun law

Attorney General Pam Bondi’s office this week urged a circuit judge to dismiss a challenge to a law that imposes strict penalties on local governments and officials who violate a restriction on regulating guns and ammunition.

Numerous local governments and officials are plaintiffs in the lawsuit, which was filed in April in Leon County circuit court. The case is rooted in a decades-old law that gives the state power to regulate firearms and ammunition and “preempts” the ability of local governments to approve such regulations.

In 2011, the Legislature approved stiff penalties for local governments and officials who violate the state preemption law, including potential removal from office and fines. The municipalities allege in the lawsuit that the penalties are unconstitutional. But Bondi’s office this week filed a motion to dismiss the case on a number of grounds, including that the local governments’ arguments are “speculative” because the state has not threatened to enforce the law against the plaintiffs.

“Plaintiffs do not allege that any of the defendants named in these actions (or any other state official) has ‘actually threatened’ them (or anyone else) with enforcement of the challenged provisions,” the motion said. “Instead, plaintiffs allege only that, because they wish to enact and enforce ordinances that may be preempted … they are concerned that they may, at some indeterminate point in the future, be threatened with enforcement by some entity or individual they do not identify. Accordingly, these actions should be dismissed for a lack of judiciable case or controversy.”

The case has been assigned to Leon County Circuit Judge Charles Dodson.

The News Service of Florida provides journalists, lobbyists, government officials and other civic leaders with comprehensive, objective information about the activities of state government year-round.

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