New gun store endangers Washington Shores

Residents of west Orlando and the students who survived the massacre in Parkland, Florida have a common enemy: The National Rifle Association (NRA).

The gun lobby -- commonly known as the NRA -- worked behind the scenes with state Republican lawmakers to shape the law that prohibits local governments, such as Orlando, from banning gun stores from locations that are zoned for commercial use.

That’s how B&H Police Supply gun store was allowed to open their store at the corner of Goldwyn and Orange Center in Washington Shores. The city has been told that access to the store is limited to those with credentials as police, firefighters, first responders and airline pilots. However, the store could change its policy and open it to the public.

Many people residents oppose the store at that location because of its proximity to day-care centers, churches, and homes. In addition, there have been violent crimes committed near the store.

This store was the subject of a well-attended meeting on Wednesday night. Many at the meeting were frustrated that neither they nor local elected officials knew about the store before it opened. However, the city processes dozens of business licenses daily and a gun store is an accepted use in an area zoned commercial. Those businesses don’t need City Council approval.

During Wednesday’s meeting several local elected officials – including State Rep. Bruce Anton and City Commissioners Sam Ings and Regina Hill – told the crowd about the Joe Carlucci Uniform Firearms Act of 1987.

That state law not only prohibits city and county governments from restricting where gun shops can open, but it also sets severe penalties for governments and officials who attempt to regulate gun stores.

Provisions in the law:
·        Make local gun-shop ordinances null and void.
·        Officials who try to regulate local gun stores face a fine of up to $5,000. The fine and their court costs cannot be paid from public funds.
·        Local governments can be sued up to $100,000
·        Local officials – including elected officials -- who try to limit gun stores will be fired, or removed from office by the governor.

This law was put in place by the NRA, working hand in hand with state lawmakers.

In 2016 the NRA spent more than $400 million to help politicians that support their agenda to fight firearms regulations.

Earlier this year after the slaughter at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, students across the country launched a campaign to improve firearms safety and keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people. 

Their efforts were largely shot down by the NRA and Republican elected officials -- including President Trump.

The NRA has already endorsed Republican Ron DeSantis for governor.

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