Florida Politics: “Citing recent shootings, Daniella Levine Cava asks AG to back off gun preemption appeal”

Miami-Dade County Commissioner and mayoral candidate Daniella Levine Cava is asking Attorney General Ashley Moody to reconsider her appeal of a ruling striking down part of the state’s gun preemption law.

That law bars local officials from approving stricter gun control measures than the state has authorized. In 2011, state lawmakers added penalties — including fines and removal from office — for local officials who violated the preemption.

The preemption itself — which was approved in 1987 — still stands. But a Leon County-based circuit judge struck down the penalties in a late July ruling.

That prompted an appeal from Moody. But following recent mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio, Levine Cava is asking Moody to change course and allow the ruling to stand.

“The massacres our nation witnessed in El Paso and Dayton have been horrific and painful to digest,” Levine Cava’s letter to Moody reads.

“I think you would agree that local leaders, those closest to the ground, should have the tools necessary to keep our communities safe and citizens protected. But as you know, we don’t.”

The letter continues, “Your decision to appeal this ruling regarding an unconstitutional law that punishes local leaders who try and make their communities safer by addressing the scourge of gun violence in our communities was made before El Paso, before Dayton. I respectfully request that you reconsider your decision in lights of these tragic events.”

Should the state drop the appeal, or lose on the merits, local lawmakers would still not be allowed to approve stricter gun control measures.

But some lawmakers argue the definition of “stricter” is something to be sorted out in the courts. With the penalties removed, Rep. Dan Daley, a former Coral Springs City Commissioner, argues local elected officials would be more willing to approve measures and try their luck in court.

“While preemption is within the authority of the Legislature, the punitive provisions prevent local bodies from even considering lawful measures that we believe, in good faith, do not violate preemption just because we are afraid someone else’s lawyer might disagree,” Daley said in his own letter to Moody asking the state accept the circuit court’s ruling.

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