Gun Carry Laws Challenged in Florida

A deadline in Florida for city and county leaders and a warning shot.

Local governments have until October 1 to kick certain gun-carrying laws off the books, laws that block people like Nester Mendez from carrying their guns into public parks and even public buildings.

"Some people will fly off the handle and some people are easily-tempered, as they say, so I can see where it can be a hazard, but, you know, if that's the law, then we should learn to live with it somehow or another," Mendez said.

Local officials can be fined and even removed from office by the governor. Supporters point out, it's not like just anybody can walk around with a gun. Under state law, to carry a gun in public you have to hold a concealed weapon permit anyway.

Caught in the crosshairs of a debate over individual liberty versus public safety, local politicians now may have no choice but to back down on the law, but that doesn't mean the debate won't rage on.

Donna Davis is more than happy to let lawmakers know she's furious about their crackdown on local governments. For her, a walk in the park may soon become anything but.

"There are too many guns around already," she said. "We don't need more, and in a public place like that, I'd like to feel safe if I'm going to the park. If there's a gun there, I don't want to be there."

But Nester says it all comes down to who's holding the gun. Someone who's responsible could actually help improve public safety, and he has one simple message for City Hall.

"You'd better obey the law or you may be put out of office, and rightfully so!"

It's a legal and political showdown, and local governments may have no choice but to holster their laws.

Under the ban passed by lawmakers this spring, local officials can be fined up to $5,000 if they refuse to repeal their gun control laws. That's on top of a possible removal from office.

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