City Commission will dance around gun control resolution

Historic City News readers will want to take note that during the regular meeting of the St Augustine City Commission Monday evening, time has been set aside for public input in the wake of the school shooting in Parkland, Florida last month.  Some communities around the state are lobbying their local government to enact ordinances regulating firearms and ammunition.

  • During its last meeting, the City Commission extended an open invitation to members of the St. Augustine community to come to the March 12th meeting to share their concerns in a public forum. 

Should a passionate plea move the city commission to draft any ordinance that would regulate firearms, it would be illegal.  That is because the Florida Legislature enacted laws in 2011 that preempt local governments from establishing any regulation of firearms and ammunition.

So, why are they taking time on the agenda to discuss it, when they have no legal authority to act on any resolution that they might reach?  When Historic City News asked the question, we were told that “the input received from the community may be reflected in a future resolution by the City Commission stating support for particular actions or policies”.  In other words, the City of St Augustine may send a “strongly worded letter” to the Florida Legislature and the Office of the Governor?  Really?

Like most poorly conceived ideas in government, this one came from the outside.  A “political think tank” called The Florida League of Mayors, loosely disconnected from the Florida League of Cities, Inc., is lobbying mayors around the state to consider floating such a resolution.

The City of St Augustine has distributed a “news release” in support of this agenda item, suggesting the following topics for consideration:

  • Raise the minimum age for the purchase of guns to 21;
  • Set the minimum age for the purchase of high-capacity magazines at 21;
  • Eliminate the loopholes in the private transfer of weapons and require full background checks for all sales and transfers of firearms;
  • Repeal the prohibitions and penalties in Section 790.33(3), Florida Statutes;
  • Enact legislation regarding Red Flag Law to allow Extreme Risk Protection;
  • Provide additional funding for mental health issues.

Prior to public input, city staff will present examples of resolutions and statements drafted by other governmental entities.  Additional ideas suggested by The Florida League of Mayors and part of their gun control agenda include the following:

  • Urge Florida Governor Rick Scott to take action to pass gun reform, even if it means extending the 2018 legislative session,
  • Enact legislation regarding Red Flag Law to allow Extreme Risk Protection Orders such as those proposed in House Bill 231 and Senate Bill 530;
  • Enact legislation set forth in Senate Bill 196 and House Bill 219 to place constitutional restrictions on the sale and transfer of assault-style weapons and high-capacity magazines.

The Commission’s meeting is Monday, March 12, 2018 starting at 5:00 p.m. in The Alcazar Room, City Hall, 75 King Street.  As with all meetings of the City Commission, this meeting will be available for live viewing on GTV/Comcast Channel 3 and at www.CityStAugTV.com where it may also been seen on-demand at any time after the day following the meeting.

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