It just got a lot easier to tote a gun to the beach in one Florida county — and harder to bounce there.
On September 5, local officials in the Florida Panhandle county of Okaloosa lifted a ban on the carrying of guns at beaches, parks, and recreation areas. The same ordinance that allowed guns in those spaces also banned trampolines and bounce houses.
It’s the second gun restriction the Okaloosa Board of Commissioners has nixed this year. In February, the board struck down a law prohibiting public employees from carrying guns on the job.
The move appears to have attracted scant media attention, and only came to our notice via a letter to the editor of the Northwest Florida Daily News. The author, a resident of the town of Shalimar, fretted over where exactly beachgoers in the tourist-friendly town are expected to conceal their guns — “in a man’s Spandex or a woman’s bikini?” — and wondered why “flying trampolinists” are more dangerous than firearms.
The reader correctly pointed out that Florida law restricts cities and towns from regulating guns, putting such rulemaking firmly in the purview of the state Legislature and courts.
In 2011, the pre-emption statute was augmented to allow people to sue individual cities for crafting gun laws stricter than the state standard, and to collect damages and legal fees from the municipalities — and their elected officials — if those municipalities lost. In 2014, two gun groups sued the city of Tallahassee over laws that banned the firing of guns in public parks. In February, an appellate court ruled that it couldn’t compel the city to repeal its gun ordinances.