New Florida Gun Law - target practice now legal?


PDA






paradox998
September 30, 2011, 09:40 PM
I have been reading about the new Florida gun law which prohibits local governments from enacting laws regulating firearms. This makes gun regulations equal throughout the state. My county prohibits the discharge of of any firearm except at a range. Does this new law mean that I can now do some target shooting on my own property so long as I shoot safely?

If you enjoyed reading about "New Florida Gun Law - target practice now legal?" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
oneounceload
September 30, 2011, 09:42 PM
Depends on county rules. In Marion County, you need a minimum of 10 acres and one really good backstop - then there are the distances to certain institutions like churches and schools, etc.

The laws you are talking about were local gov't can't enact stiffer regs on buying and owning guns than what the state has

tyeo098
September 30, 2011, 10:00 PM
Its state pre-emption.

That means that local gov cant override state laws.

Other silly laws, like the one you mentioned, are perfectly fine.

paradox998
October 1, 2011, 10:04 AM
Sorry if I am being thick, but the Florida State law reads:

"It is unlawful to knowingly discharge a firearm in any public place,
or on the right of way of any paved public road, highway or street or over
any road, highway, street or occupied building, except in defense of life or
property, in performance of official duties or where expressly approved for
hunting."

If a local ordinance cannot contravene the State law, then wouldn't a regulation prohibiting "any discharge of a firearm within the county" be void? If I target shoot on my property and not over a road, into an occupied building, etc., how would I be violating the law? Is my yard a "public place"?

I appreciate the advice.

Rail Driver
October 1, 2011, 10:11 AM
According to FL State law, I can target shoot in my back yard (in the suburbs), but according to Local authorities, it's not ok.

I think in cases like that, things will likely be left as they are. Shooting guns in populated areas (which is what those laws are designed to prevent) is dangerous, stupid unless you're at a properly equipped range, and has consequences that you're simply not ready for if all you're considering is the target shooting aspect.

The reason that type of law is there is so that when your bullet hits a rock in the dirt and ricochets off into the unknown, there are fewer potential "accidental targets".

Ed N.
October 1, 2011, 02:46 PM
This is nothing new. Preemption has been in place for a long time, and several year ago Charlie Crist, when he was attorney general for Fl, issued an opinion on the matter. Local gov'ts ARE NOT allowed to enforce local ordinances about the use of firearms. See the following (emphasis added):


Number: AGO 2005-40
Date: July 12, 2005
Subject: County ordinance re discharge of firearms

The Honorable Roy Raymond
Sheriff, Indian River County
4055 41st Avenue
Vero Beach, Florida 32960-1808

RE: FIREARMS AND WEAPONS–COUNTIES–SHERIFFS–no authority for county to enact ordinance prohibiting discharge of firearms. s. 790.33, Fla. Stat.

Dear Sheriff Raymond:

You ask substantially the following question:

May a county pass an ordinance prohibiting the discharge of a firearm in proximity to persons or property when such discharge endangers the health, welfare, and safety of the citizens of such county?

This office has been advised that Indian River County joins in your request. You have proposed a county ordinance to prohibit the discharge of firearms within 300 yards of a building or public road or right-of-way in order to preserve the life and safety of the general public in Indian River County. The proposed ordinance specifies exceptions.[1] There remains a question, however, as to whether such an ordinance is prohibited by section 790.33, Florida Statutes.

Section 790.33, Florida Statutes, preempts the field of regulation of firearms and ammunition to the Florida Legislature, as follows:

"(1) PREEMPTION.– Except as expressly provided by general law, the Legislature hereby declares that it is occupying the whole field of regulation of firearms and ammunition, including the purchase, sale, transfer, taxation, manufacture, ownership, possession, and transportation thereof, to the exclusion of all existing and future county, city, town, or municipal ordinances or regulations relating thereto. Any such existing ordinances are hereby declared null and void. This subsection shall not affect zoning ordinances which encompass firearms businesses along with other businesses. Zoning ordinances which are designed for the purpose of restricting or prohibiting the sale, purchase, transfer, or manufacture of firearms or ammunition as a method of regulating firearms or ammunition are in conflict with this subsection and are prohibited."

While this office recognizes the need to protect the safety of the county’s citizens against the dangerous discharge of firearms in proximity to people and property, the Legislature has expressed its intent to preempt the regulation of firearms and to provide uniform firearms laws in the state. Any ordinance or regulation attempting to regulate firearms is stated to be null and void when enacted by jurisdictions other than the state or the federal government.[2] Relative to the discharge of firearms, section 790.15(1), Florida Statutes, states:


"Except as provided in subsection (2) or subsection (3), any person who knowingly discharges a firearm in any public place or on the right-of-way of any paved public road, highway, or street or whosoever knowingly discharges any firearm over the right-of-way of any paved public road, highway, or street or over any occupied premises is guilty of a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083. This section does not apply to a person lawfully defending life or property or performing official duties requiring the discharge of a firearm or to a person discharging a firearm on public roads or properties expressly approved for hunting by the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission or Division of Forestry."

"Thus, in addition to expressly preempting the field of firearm regulation to the state, the Legislature has enacted legislation making it a crime to discharge firearms in any public place, with specified exceptions. It is well settled that absent a general law stating otherwise, local governments have no authority to regulate firearms in any manner.[3] Attempts to circumvent this preemption of firearm regulation have not been allowed.[4] Thus, despite the county’s concerns for the health, safety and welfare of its citizens, it may not enact an ordinance regulating the use of firearms.[5]

Accordingly, it is my opinion that a county ordinance prohibiting the discharge of a firearm in proximity to persons or property when such discharge endangers the health, welfare, and safety of the citizens of such county would be preempted by section 790.33, Florida Statutes."

Sincerely,

Charlie Crist
Attorney General

oneounceload
October 1, 2011, 08:12 PM
geez dude, let's get it right...........you cannot supercede state law, but local regs CAN say yes or no when it comes to actually shooting your gun...the law is very simple

Birch Knoll
October 1, 2011, 08:23 PM
geez dude, let's get it right...........you cannot supercede state law, but local regs CAN say yes or no when it comes to actually shooting your gun...the law is very simple

Not in Florida, they can't. The Legislature has preempted all local regulation of firearms. As the FL AG said, such a local ordinance is a violation of the state preemption law.

Ed N.
October 1, 2011, 08:26 PM
>but local regs CAN say yes or no when it comes to actually shooting your gun...

No, they can't. Read the state law, and read the opinion from the Florida Atty General's office.

I posted above an opinion from Crist when he was AG. Pam Bondi, the current AG, also issued an opinion on 9/21/11 that you can read at http://www.myfloridalegal.com/ago.nsf/Opinions/C272B9B92DA6C965852579130048CF56 .

In part, this new opinion says (emphasis added),
1. Santa Rosa County may not regulate the recreational discharge of firearms in residentially zoned areas as the regulation of firearms is preempted to the state pursuant to section 790.33, Florida Statutes.
.
.
.
Particularly in light of its recent reaffirmation by the Legislature, section 790.33, Florida Statutes, provides a clear answer to your principal question: a county may not regulate the recreational discharge of firearms in residentially zoned areas when the discharge is not on a "shooting range," but merely recreational shooting on private property.


>the law is very simple

Yes, it is. The law says "...the Legislature hereby declares that it is occupying the whole field of regulation of firearms and ammunition..."

This is not a new law. The only thing new is that there is now a penalty for violating the preemption law. And two Florida AGs have now explained to different counties that they may NOT restrict you from target shooting on your own property.

Sebastian the Ibis
October 2, 2011, 02:49 PM
paradox998 the simple explanation is this:

You are now free to ignore all city and county gun laws in Florida
You must obey all State laws and Federal laws

The state of Florida has forbidden local governments from enforcing local gun laws for years, but there were no penalties. In the past municipalities could harass you by not approving your building permits or even having you arrested. A judge would straighten it out if it ever got that far but you would still be inconvenienced with a ride to jail for the night. Florida just changed the law to create penalties for municipalities and individuals that enforce these laws. No cop is going to arrest you for violating a law he knows is unenforceable if there is a state law saying he will be fired and personally liable to you for $10k.

The only exception to this I can think of is the 5 day waiting period for gun purchases since that is in the Florida Constitution. (Article 8 section 5). However, there is an exemption for CCP holders and gun stores never let anyone violate the law anyways.

Owen Sparks
October 2, 2011, 03:43 PM
As I understand it, the problem is that most of Florida is very flat and there are no natural backstops therefore any suitable cliff or steep hilside is man made "range".

brickeyee
October 2, 2011, 03:43 PM
Not in Florida, they can't. The Legislature has preempted all local regulation of firearms. As the FL AG said, such a local ordinance is a violation of the state preemption law.

And an AG opinion has no force.

It is just that, an opinion issued by a non-judge.

You will notice the state preemption law makes NO mention of discharge.

If the AG was a good attorney he would be in private practice making a lot more money.


Until a competent court issues an actual ruling the AG is blowing hot air.

Ed N.
October 2, 2011, 03:48 PM
Two AGs have now issued similar opinions, years apart. The counties take these opinions seriously; otherwise, they wouldn't request them in the first place. BOTH opinions I listed were in response to requests from counties.

I guess we'll see if some local gov't decides to let the state enforce its law and it goes to court, but I doubt it will happen.

This isn't a new law; it's just adding penalties to an old law.

Birch Knoll
October 2, 2011, 04:21 PM
And an AG opinion has no force.An AG opinion does not have the force of law, no. But inferior officers ignore an AG opinion at their peril; the opinion represents the State of Florida's official interpretation of the law.


It is just that, an opinion issued by a non-judge.
It's an opinion issued by the Constitutional officer whose job is it to enforce the law. To violate it is to fairly beg to be sued, prosecuted, compelled, or otherwise corrected, punished and reprimanded.

You will notice the state preemption law makes NO mention of discharge.That's right. And since the Legislature has reserved the entire field of firearms regulation to itself, local governments may not enact any additional laws in that field, including any area on which the Legislature has chosen to remain silent. That's what preemption means.

If the local governments need restrictions on the discharge of firearms, they will need to get the Legislature to enact them. They do not have the power to do so themselves. That's the law.

If the AG was a good attorney he would be in private practice making a lot more money.Yet, somehow, your legal skills are superior?


Until a competent court issues an actual ruling the AG is blowing hot air.Actually, until the law is tested in court, the AG's opinion is the gold standard for the law's meaning.

brickeyee
October 3, 2011, 12:19 PM
including any area on which the Legislature has chosen to remain silent. That's what preemption means.

That is NOT what preemption means.

The legislature clearly called out the areas they are preempting.

Adding to them by omission is not correct (they did NOT mention discharge, so it would NOT be included in preemption).

The AG can blow all the hot air he wants.

A county can then challenge him in court.
That is how judicial decisions are rendered.

barnetmill
October 3, 2011, 12:47 PM
I wonder how the law applies to a private indoor shooting range in Florida.

I have an offgrade house in Florida made of steel-concrete reinforced blocks. The perimeter of the house is also surrounded by a 5 inch thick reinforced concrete wall for support of the porches and I also added more concrete thickness to the wall section behind the angled 5/16" steel plate that I use for a backstop. I have closed off the area vents so little sound gets out and I mainly shoot .22 rimfire but occasionally do fire center pistols mainly for sighting in.
I assume that the county if they learn of what I am doing can do nothing about it. I am in the Northwestern part of Florida and the county is not antigun, but recently a fellow living in the south of the county with a private range next to housing developments was told to shut down. I think the new law change allows him to resume his shooting, but he has found another area in a more rural area to shoot.

Birch Knoll
October 3, 2011, 01:21 PM
That is NOT what preemption means.

The legislature clearly called out the areas they are preempting.You're just plain wrong, and the highest authority to speak on the issue, the AG, disagrees with you. The preemption statute reads:

790.33 Field of regulation of firearms and ammunition preempted.—(1) PREEMPTION.—Except as expressly provided by the State Constitution or general law, the Legislature hereby declares that it is occupying the whole field of regulation of firearms and ammunition, including the purchase, sale, transfer, taxation, manufacture, ownership, possession, storage, and transportation thereof, to the exclusion of all existing and future county, city, town, or municipal ordinances or any administrative regulations or rules adopted by local or state government relating thereto. Any such existing ordinances, rules, or regulations are hereby declared null and void.
(2) POLICY AND INTENT.—(a) It is the intent of this section to provide uniform firearms laws in the state; to declare all ordinances and regulations null and void which have been enacted by any jurisdictions other than state and federal, which regulate firearms, ammunition, or components thereof; to prohibit the enactment of any future ordinances or regulations relating to firearms, ammunition, or components thereof unless specifically authorized by this section or general law; and to require local jurisdictions to enforce state firearms laws.
Emphasis mine, to highlight the central idea. The Legislature has occupied the entire field of firearms regulation. The entire field. Period.

Have you any argument, other than your unsupported assertion that it just ain't so, that the law means anything other than what the AG has opined? Please specifically address how you can interpret the words "the whole field of regulation of firearms and ammunition" to mean "not the whole field".

brickeyee
October 3, 2011, 03:49 PM
including the purchase, sale, transfer, taxation, manufacture, ownership, possession, storage, and transportation thereof,

Notice discharge is NOT listed?

Wonder why?

Other states with laws with similar wordings do NOT cover discharge at the state level.

Does Florida examine legislative intent (not all state do) in deciding cases in court?

The AGs opinion has no legal weight.
He is NOT a judge in a court of record.

Birch Knoll
October 3, 2011, 03:58 PM
Notice discharge is NOT listed?

Why, yes, I do.

That does not mean that the law preempts only local ordinances which deal with those topics; it merely calls out those topics in particular. As the statute says, it applies to "the whole field of regulation of firearms and ammunition". The "including" clause does not limit the scope of the statute.

The AGs opinion has no legal weight.
He is NOT a judge in a court of record.

So you keep saying, and so I have agreed. However, until a judge rules otherwise, the AG's opinion is the State of Florida's official interpretation of the law.

When a judge says otherwise, then you can be right. For now, you're wrong.

oneounceload
October 3, 2011, 09:25 PM
Not in Florida, they can't. The Legislature has preempted all local regulation of firearms. As the FL AG said, such a local ordinance is a violation of the state preemption law.

I live here in FL - and in a subdivision on 1/4 acre lots - if I discharged ANY of my guns in this "congested" area, only ugly things are going to happen, good backstop or not. You can be the Beta test, I am not willing to risk losing what I have for something like that.

Birch Knoll
October 3, 2011, 09:35 PM
Luckily, there's a statute for that:

790.15 Discharging firearm in public.—
(1) Except as provided in subsection (2) or subsection (3), any person who knowingly discharges a firearm in any public place or on the right-of-way of any paved public road, highway, or street or whosoever knowingly discharges any firearm over the right-of-way of any paved public road, highway, or street or over any occupied premises is guilty of a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 (http://www.leg.state.fl.us/Statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&Search_String=&URL=0700-0799/0775/Sections/0775.082.html) or s. 775.083 (http://www.leg.state.fl.us/Statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&Search_String=&URL=0700-0799/0775/Sections/0775.083.html). This section does not apply to a person lawfully defending life or property or performing official duties requiring the discharge of a firearm or to a person discharging a firearm on public roads or properties expressly approved for hunting by the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission or Division of Forestry.
(2) Any occupant of any vehicle who knowingly and willfully discharges any firearm from the vehicle within 1,000 feet of any person commits a felony of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 (http://www.leg.state.fl.us/Statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&Search_String=&URL=0700-0799/0775/Sections/0775.082.html), s. 775.083 (http://www.leg.state.fl.us/Statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&Search_String=&URL=0700-0799/0775/Sections/0775.083.html), or s. 775.084 (http://www.leg.state.fl.us/Statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&Search_String=&URL=0700-0799/0775/Sections/0775.084.html).
(3) Any driver or owner of any vehicle, whether or not the owner of the vehicle is occupying the vehicle, who knowingly directs any other person to discharge any firearm from the vehicle commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 (http://www.leg.state.fl.us/Statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&Search_String=&URL=0700-0799/0775/Sections/0775.082.html), s. 775.083 (http://www.leg.state.fl.us/Statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&Search_String=&URL=0700-0799/0775/Sections/0775.083.html), or s. 775.084 (http://www.leg.state.fl.us/Statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&Search_String=&URL=0700-0799/0775/Sections/0775.084.html).

Birch Knoll
October 3, 2011, 09:42 PM
And another:

790.19 Shooting into or throwing deadly missiles into dwellings, public or private buildings, occupied or not occupied; vessels, aircraft, buses, railroad cars, streetcars, or other vehicles.—Whoever, wantonly or maliciously, shoots at, within, or into, or throws any missile or hurls or projects a stone or other hard substance which would produce death or great bodily harm, at, within, or in any public or private building, occupied or unoccupied, or public or private bus or any train, locomotive, railway car, caboose, cable railway car, street railway car, monorail car, or vehicle of any kind which is being used or occupied by any person, or any boat, vessel, ship, or barge lying in or plying the waters of this state, or aircraft flying through the airspace of this state shall be guilty of a felony of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 (http://www.leg.state.fl.us/Statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&Search_String=&URL=0700-0799/0775/Sections/0775.082.html), s. 775.083 (http://www.leg.state.fl.us/Statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&Search_String=&URL=0700-0799/0775/Sections/0775.083.html), or s. 775.084 (http://www.leg.state.fl.us/Statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&Search_String=&URL=0700-0799/0775/Sections/0775.084.html).

Carl N. Brown
October 3, 2011, 10:25 PM
In Tennessee, in absence of a court ruling on a law, one requests the state Attorney General's office for an attorney general opinion and you follow that in absence of a court ruling to the contrary. It is not just hot air.

I suspect the same is true in most states, including Florida.

Why have county or city laws duplicating the state law on discharging firearms, which has been posted at least twice in this thread?

Put it another way: should the city or county have their own laws on murder or any other offense adequately covered by state law?

Save the trees: eliminate overlapping or redundant laws on the books.

oneounceload
October 3, 2011, 11:29 PM
I wasn't talking about shooting over or into occupied buildings - just shooting my gun is going to get me a visit from the Sheriff - and not in a good way

Birch Knoll
October 3, 2011, 11:42 PM
You realize that discharging a weapon in such a populated area probably violates at least half a dozen State laws, right? From nuisance to culpable negligence to improper exhibition of a firearm to breach of peace and who knows what else, firing a weapon in your subdivision is already well and truly illegal.

1776dave
April 18, 2013, 10:38 AM
I am a newbie to this topic and to Florida
I have 5 acres and the 10 next door are my brothers who will shoot also if i put up a bullet back stop, this will be family only [ not open to public as it will be fenced off]
and so was wandering if there is if there have been any changes in the last year as i don't want to be cross wise with any LEO or the Marion co. zoning..
so again I would ask Ed or Burch or any one with knowledge with this subject to please comment as to if there has been any changes or additions to this information or better yet to send me a email !!!
thanks in advance !
ps
we hear the dove and coyote hunters all the time round here so i know shooting for hunting is allowed thus thought a back stop would be allowed
but some one did suggested i google to find out any thing on the topic ..

Frank Ettin
April 18, 2013, 11:52 AM
Preemption of local laws by state law can be a complicated and non-intuitive subject.


Legal advice on the Internet is worth what you pay for it.


Rely on Internet legal advice at your own risk.


If you really want to know where you stand, pay some money to a qualified, local lawyer and get a real legal opinion. And given the foregoing discussion, if I lived in Florida I would not consider shooting on my property unless/until I had done so.

If you enjoyed reading about "New Florida Gun Law - target practice now legal?" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!