Florida Carry suing the City of Gainesville

Published: Jul. 19, 2018 at 6:55 PM EDT
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A non-profit organization called Florida Carry is suing the city of Gainesville because of specified "No gun zones" during the Richard Spencer event last year.

Here's what Florida Carry's legal counsel has to say about why they're suing and the ultimate goal they want to see.

Before Richard Spencer spoke at UF last year the city declared a weapons ban for downtown Gainesville, something the Florida legislature says is illegal.

Eric Friday is Florida Carry's lawyer, he explained: "State law is very clear, the constitution is clear and the first ECA has affirmed cities do not have the right to regulate firearms or where you can possess firearms in the state of Florida. The city flat out cannot make rules and regulations regarding weapons or firearms."

Both Mayor Lauren Poe and City Manager Anthony Lyons were served an order to appear in court last month, both have filed a motion to dismiss. Still, Friday says somebody needs to be held accountable.

"The law does hold the elected or the appointed head of a city responsible for actions under their jurisdiction for a violation of the preemption statute. It creates a problem when you have a city like Gainesville which has a city manager and a mayor, one signs on a set of orders another does something else who is really the head of the city."

TV20's Landon Harrar reported "When we initially heard of the lawsuit we reached out to Mayor Lauren Poe and City Manager Anthony Lyons. Both declined to comment stating it was in the middle of a litigation process and that's not something they normally comment on. I reached out again today and I did not receive any word back from the office of the city manager or Anthony Lyons himself but Mayor Lauren Poe did give me one small sentence about his thoughts on the matter.

In a text message, he said: "The city will vigorously defend our residents from all lawsuits, no matter how frivolous."

Friday says there's a reason the Florida Legislature doesn't let every city decide their own rules for concealed weapons.

"We've got some cities in Florida that think they can make their own rules and if a concealed carry licensee had to follow 67 different county's rules plus another 300 municipality and township rules in Florida there's no way concealed carry licensees could know what the law is. For that reason, the legislature said we're going to have a uniform law throughout the state of Florida."

And as for the outcome Florida Carry wants to see come out of their lawsuit?

"All we are asking for is for the court to declare a declaratory judgment that the city has violated state law and to award us our attorneys fees and costs for doing so."