Two Broward County elected officials on Friday called for local leaders to defy a state law that puts politicians at risk of being removed from office if they pass any local limits on gun rights.
The comments, made during at a Facebook Live session at the South Florida Sun Sentinel, came from Broward County Commissioner Michael Udine and Weston Mayor Daniel Stermer.
State law calls for local politicians to be removed from office and personally face legal fines and legal costs if they pass any rules that regulate the sale or use of firearms.
But Udine, who represents Parkland on the County Commission, and Stermer said they are willing to take those risks if it means moving limits on assault weapons forward as quickly as possible.
It’s meant to help keep them out of the hands of people like Nikolas Cruz, who used an AR-15 in the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School that killed 17 people.
All of Broward’s cities should meet April 1 and pass the assault-weapons ban at the same time, Udine said.
“Let them come and remove all of us.”
Stermer said the Weston City Commission is discussing an item that would get him kicked off the commission: banning firearms on city property. “I am prepared to put my office where my mouths is,” he said. “Until enough of us pick up our heads, open our mouths, nothing is going to change.”
The two politicians were also joined by Carlos Verney, executive director of Broward County Charter Review Commission, which proposes charter amendments for consideration by local voters.
Verney, a 2004 graduate of the Parkland high school, said his commission will discuss changes to the county charter that could run afoul of the state law. They’ll talk about pursuing a ban on assault weapons, high-capacity magazines, bump stocks and gun shows.
All three men said they felt the time is ripe for a change in gun laws that might be too fleeting to last until next year’s legislative session.
“Enough is really enough on this,” Udine said, criticizing the FBI’s failure to act on tips about the shooter as well as the Broward Sheriff’s Office’s response.
Udine called for another layer of review. Already, the governor ordered the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to perform a review, and the Legislature began a task force for a similar effort.
“We need to have a full, independent, high-level impartial investigation,” he said.
He said the Legislature’s task force on Hurricane Irma hasn’t yet produced any changes.
“They talked about a lot of things, but nothing was ever done,” Udine said. “We owe it to the people who are grieving and suffering to take a longer look at this.”
Udine said he knew some of the slain students or their relatives, even recalling giving them soccer trophies.
His daughter and niece were at Marjory Stoneham Douglas High School that day, he said. His niece hid in one of the classrooms as first responders figured out what to do, he said.
“It’s been incredibly difficult to watch our little piece of suburbia get blown up,” he said.
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