There are two things I noticed today, and both of them are related:
Today, I was in Saint Cloud and decided to stop by the Orlando Utilities Commission office that is there, in order to pay my bill. The office is inside City Hall. Just inside the door of the OUC office is a security guard who is armed with a Glock handgun. (I am assuming a 9mm, since that and .38Spl are the only calibers that armed guards can carry under state law.)
Just behind the security guard, there is a sign on the wall that reads “No weapons, firearms, or knives with a blade greater than 3.5 inches are permitted inside.” (or words to that effect- I will get pictures next time, if possible)
According to the OUC website:
OUC-The Reliable One is a municipal utility owned by the citizens of Orlando. It provides electricity and water services to customers in Orlando, St. Cloud, and parts of Orange and Osceola counties.
This story was running on the local cable news channel:
Anyone who visits the Osceola County Administration building will now have to go through a metal detector. Osceola County Commissioner John Quinones said it’s in response to both local tensions and recent national incidents.
I am not sure if the entire building requires entry, or just the Commission chambers, as the actual press release implies that the magnetometers will only be used for commission meetings.
Why these two stories are important:
The state legislature passed 790.33 some years ago, which states:
Except as expressly provided by general law, the Legislature hereby declares that it is occupying the whole field of regulation of firearms and ammunition, including the purchase, sale, transfer, taxation, manufacture, ownership, possession, and transportation thereof, to the exclusion of all existing and future county, city, town, or municipal ordinances or regulations relating thereto. Any such existing ordinances are hereby declared null and void. (emphasis added)
The law goes on to say:
It is the intent of this section to provide uniform firearms laws in the state; to declare all ordinances and regulations null and void which have been enacted by any jurisdictions other than state and federal, which regulate firearms, ammunition, or components thereof; to prohibit the enactment of any future ordinances or regulations relating to firearms, ammunition, or components thereof unless specifically authorized by this section or general law; and to require local jurisdictions to enforce state firearms laws. (emphasis added)
So, a county that prohibits firearm possession in a county administration building cannot prohibit CCW holders from possession weapons, unless that building is a police station, jail, a meeting of the legislative body, or a school administrative building. The OUC office in City hall, and the general administrative offices of Osceola county do not fit any of those restrictions, therefore the sign and the magnetometers are in violation of state law.
It seems like government offices state wide are beginning to react to the school board shooting in Bay County and to the shooting in Arizona by violating the law themselves. We need to watch this, and do what we can to bring them into compliance with the law.