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. 25 26 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida: 27 28 Section 1. Section 790.332, Florida Statutes, is created to 29 read: 30 790.332 Regulation 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. 104 105 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. 135 136 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.