Florida Senate - 2012                                    SB 1732
       By Senator Altman
       24-00615-12                                           20121732__
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to the regulation of knives and
    3         weapons; creating s. 790.332, F.S.; providing a short
    4         title; providing legislative intent to preempt the
    5         regulation of knives and weapons to the Legislature;
    6         providing definitions; prohibiting state agencies and
    7         political subdivisions from regulating knives and
    8         weapons; providing that certain rules, ordinances, or
    9         regulations of a state agency or political subdivision
   10         regulating knives or weapons are void; requiring the
   11         repeal of rules, ordinances, or regulations regulating
   12         knives or weapons by a specified date; authorizing
   13         civil actions against a state agency or political
   14         subdivision that enacts or fails to repeal a
   15         prohibited rule, ordinance, or regulation; providing
   16         that certain elected or appointed officials are liable
   17         for damages and attorney fees as the result of
   18         violations of the act; providing for the termination
   19         of employment or removal from office of a person in
   20         violation of the act; authorizing the act to be
   21         enforced by an organization whose members are
   22         adversely affected by the act; providing a directive
   23         to the Division of Statutory Revision; providing an
   24         effective date.
   26  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   28         Section 1. Section 790.332, Florida Statutes, is created to
   29  read:
   30         790.332Regulation of knives and weapons; preemption to the
   31  state.
   32         (1)SHORT TITLE.—This section may be cited as the “Uniform
   33  Knife and Weapons Act.”
   34         (2) LEGISLATIVE INTENT.The Legislature intends to occupy
   35  the whole field of regulation of knives, common pocketknives,
   36  and weapons. This section is intended to provide uniformity of
   37  laws by prohibiting state agencies and political subdivisions
   38  from enacting regulations or restrictions on the sale, transfer,
   39  possession, use, and manufacture of knives or weapons. This
   40  section is intended to:
   41         (a) Require the enforcement of uniform state laws;
   42         (b) Mandate the repeal of rules, ordinances, and
   43  regulations prohibited by the section;
   44         (c) Impose penalties for failing to repeal or enacting
   45  rules, ordinances, or regulations that conflict with this
   46  section;
   47         (d) Render void any rules, ordinances, and regulations in
   48  effect on the effective date of this act and prohibit the future
   49  enactment of rules, ordinances, or regulations relating to
   50  knives, common pocketknives, and weapons by any entity other
   51  than the Legislature; and
   52         (e) Compel government officials and governmental entities
   53  to obey the uniform laws of the state and to constrain the
   54  proliferation of regulations and ordinances.
   55         (3) DEFINITIONS.—As used in this section, the term:
   56         (a) “Common pocketknife” means any knife that can be
   57  carried in a pocket, purse, handbag, backpack, briefcase, or
   58  sheath, or similar container.
   59         (b) “Knife” means a cutting instrument that includes a
   60  sharpened or pointed blade, including a sheath knife commonly
   61  used for fishing, hunting, outdoor recreation, or work
   62  activities.
   63         (c) “Political subdivision” has the same meaning as defined
   64  in s. 1.01(8).
   65         (d) “State agency” means a separate agency or unit of state
   66  government created or established by law and includes, but is
   67  not limited to, the following and the officers thereof:
   68  authority, board, branch, bureau, commission, department,
   69  division, institution, office, officer, or public corporation,
   70  as the case may be, except any such agency or unit within the
   71  legislative branch of state government other than the Florida
   72  Public Service Commission.
   73         (e) “Weapon” has the same meaning as defined in s. 790.001.
   74         (4)PROHIBITIONS.—
   75         (a)A state agency or political subdivision may not enact
   76  an ordinance, rule, regulation, or tax relating to, and
   77  including, but not limited to, the transportation, possession,
   78  carrying, sale, transfer, purchase, gift, devise, licensing,
   79  registration, or use of a knife, knife-making components, a
   80  common pocketknife, or a weapon.
   81         (b)A state agency or political subdivision may not enact a
   82  rule, ordinance, or regulation that relates to the manufacture
   83  of a knife, common pocketknife, or a weapon.
   84         (c)A rule, ordinance, or regulation by a state agency or
   85  political subdivision which relates to knives, common
   86  pocketknives, or weapons is void on the effective date of this
   87  act and must be repealed by the state agency political
   88  subdivision by July 1, 2012.
   89         (5)PENALTIES.
   90         (a) A state agency or political subdivision that violates
   91  the Legislature’s occupation of the whole field of regulation of
   92  weapons and knives, as declared in this section, by enacting or
   93  causing to be enforced a rule, ordinance, or regulation or
   94  failing to repeal a rule, ordinance, or regulation impinging
   95  upon such exclusive occupation of the field is liable as set
   96  forth in this subsection.
   97         (b)If a state agency or political subdivision violates
   98  this section, the court must:
   99         1. Declare the rule, ordinance, or regulation invalid;
  100         2. Issue a permanent injunction against the state agency or
  101  political subdivision prohibiting it from enforcing the rule,
  102  ordinance, or regulation; and
  103         3. Order the repeal of the ordinance, regulation, or rule.
  105  It is not a defense that in enacting or failing to repeal the
  106  rule, ordinance, or regulation the state agency or political
  107  subdivision was acting in good faith or upon advice of counsel.
  108         (c)If the court determines that a violation was knowing
  109  and willful, the court must assess the greater of, statutory
  110  damages of $5,000 or actual damages of not more than $100,000,
  111  against the elected or appointed political subdivision official
  112  or officials or state agency head under whose jurisdiction the
  113  violation occurred.
  114         (d)Except as otherwise required by law, public funds may
  115  not be used to defend or reimburse a person found to have
  116  knowingly and willfully violated this section.
  117         (e)A knowing and willful violation of this section by a
  118  person acting in an official capacity for a state agency or
  119  political subdivision or otherwise acting under color of law by
  120  enacting or causing to be enforced an ordinance, administrative
  121  rule, or regulation prohibited under this section is grounds for
  122  termination of employment or similar contract or removal from
  123  office by the Governor.
  124         (f)A person or an organization whose membership is
  125  adversely affected by a rule, ordinance, or regulation, measure,
  126  directive, enactment, order, or policy adopted or caused to be
  127  enforced in violation of this section may file suit against any
  128  state agency or political subdivision for declaratory and
  129  injunctive relief and for actual damages, as limited by this
  130  subsection, caused by the violation. A court shall award the
  131  prevailing plaintiff in any such suit:
  132         1.Reasonable attorney fees and costs, including a
  133  contingency fee multiplier, as authorized by law; and
  134         2.The actual damages incurred, but not more than $100,000.
  136  Interest on the sums awarded pursuant to this subsection shall
  137  accrue at the rate established pursuant to s. 55.03 from the
  138  date on which suit was filed.
  139         Section 2. The Division of Statutory Revision is directed
  140  to replace the phrase “the effective date of this act” wherever
  141  it occurs in this act with the date this act becomes law.
  142         Section 3. This act shall take effect upon becoming a law.