Mayor Gillum being sued by gun lobbyists

Mayor Gillum discussing Kearney Center
Posted at 5:10 PM, Jan 05, 2017
and last updated 2018-02-21 08:23:41-05

TALLAHASSEE, FL (WTXL) -- Mayor Gillum and his colleagues are being sued by gun lobbyists after they refused to repeal an ordinance that prevented the shooting of guns in public parks.

Thursday morning, the mayor posted a web article saying that this lawsuit against him and his colleagues is just another form of bullying the local government. 

WTXL ABC 27 was able to speak with a representative of the National Rifle Association and Mayor Gillum to discuss this lawsuit.

First off, Marion Hammer, an NRA representative, said that the NRA is not suing the mayor, but they do support the lawsuit against him. In fact, the NRA hopes to appear as a "Friend of the Court" to support those organizations suing the mayor.

As far as the lawsuit is concerned, prior to 2011, Tallahassee had an ordinance that banned the discharging of firearms in public parks. Then in 2011, the Florida Legislature passed a law that says firearm regulation is to be left only to the state, not the local government. Any official that knowingly violates this can be penalized with a fine of up to $5000, and could be removed from office.

Moving forward to early 2014, then Commissioner Gillum and some of his colleagues received a petition from Florida Carry, a non-profit organization supporting gun rights. This petition asked for the original city ordinance to be removed. After refusing to remove the ordinance, Florida Carry and a second non-profit, Second Amendment Foundation decided to sue.

For Mayor Gillum, this isn't a lawsuit about gun control. Instead, he feels this this is a way for the state government to bully local leaders into having less and less power for deciding what is best for their individual communities. 

"Leaving the power to make the decisions about local issues should remain with local communities," says Mayor Andrew Gillum. "That's what we're fighting for. That's what we're trying to defend. That's what's under attack through this lawsuit and through the numerous bills I anticipate we'll see through this legislative session."

Mayor Gillum and his colleagues are pushing back against the lawsuit in hopes of appealing to the judges that the law passed in 2011 is unconstitutional. Gillum thinks that local governments should be able to decide on measures they feel are appropriate for their community.