Florida Senate - 2014 SB 458 By Senator Altman 16-00607-14 2014458__ 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 or ordinances of 9 a state agency or political subdivision regulating 10 knives or weapons are void; requiring the repeal of 11 rules and ordinances regulating knives or weapons by a 12 specified date; authorizing civil actions against a 13 state agency or political subdivision that enacts or 14 fails to repeal a prohibited rule or ordinance; 15 providing that certain elected or appointed officials 16 are liable for damages and attorney fees as the result 17 of violations of the act; providing for the 18 termination of employment or removal from office of a 19 person in violation of the act; authorizing 20 enforcement by an organization whose members are 21 adversely affected by the act; providing a directive 22 to the Division of Law Revision and Information; 23 providing an effective date. 24 25 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida: 26 27 Section 1. Section 790.332, Florida Statutes, is created to 28 read: 29 790.332 Regulation of knives and weapons; preemption to the 30 state.— 31 (1) SHORT TITLE.—This section may be cited as the “Uniform 32 Knife and Weapons Act.” 33 (2) LEGISLATIVE INTENT.—It is the intent of the Legislature 34 to occupy the field of regulation of knives, common 35 pocketknives, and weapons. It is the further intent of the 36 Legislature to provide uniformity of laws by prohibiting state 37 agencies and political subdivisions from enacting rules or 38 ordinances on the manufacture, sale, transfer, possession, and 39 use of knives and weapons. It is the further intent of the 40 Legislature to: 41 (a) Require the enforcement of uniform state laws; 42 (b) Mandate the repeal of rules and ordinances prohibited 43 by the section; 44 (c) Impose penalties for enacting or failing to repeal 45 rules or ordinances that conflict with this section; 46 (d) Render void any rules and ordinances in effect on the 47 effective date of this act and prohibit the future enactment of 48 rules and ordinances relating to knives, common pocketknives, 49 and weapons by any entity other than the Legislature; and 50 (e) Compel government officials and governmental entities 51 to obey the uniform laws of the state and to constrain the 52 proliferation of rules and ordinances. 53 (3) DEFINITIONS.—As used in this section, the term: 54 (a) “Common pocketknife” means a knife that can be carried 55 in a pocket, purse, handbag, backpack, briefcase, sheath, or 56 similar container. 57 (b) “Knife” means a cutting instrument that has a sharpened 58 or pointed blade, including a sheath knife commonly used for 59 fishing, hunting, outdoor recreation, or work activities. 60 (c) “Political subdivision” has the same meaning as 61 provided in s. 1.01. 62 (d) “State agency” means a separate agency or unit of state 63 government created or established by law and includes, but is 64 not limited to, the following and their respective officers: an 65 authority, board, branch, bureau, commission, department, 66 division, institution, office, or public corporation, except any 67 such agency or unit within the legislative branch of state 68 government other than the Florida Public Service Commission. 69 (e) “Weapon” has the same meaning as provided in s. 70 790.001(13). 71 (4) PROHIBITIONS.— 72 (a) A state agency or political subdivision may not enact a 73 rule, ordinance, or tax relating to knives, knife-making 74 components, common pocketknives, or weapons, including, but not 75 limited to, the use, transportation, possession, carrying, sale, 76 transfer, purchase, gift, devise, licensing, or registration of 77 such knives or weapons. 78 (b) A state agency or political subdivision may not enact a 79 rule or an ordinance that relates to the manufacture of a knife, 80 common pocketknife, or weapon. 81 (c) A rule or ordinance by a state agency or political 82 subdivision which relates to knives, common pocketknives, or 83 weapons is void on the effective date of this act and must be 84 repealed by the state agency or political subdivision by July 1, 85 2014. 86 (5) PENALTIES.— 87 (a) A state agency or political subdivision that violates 88 this section by enacting or causing to be enforced a rule or 89 ordinance, or failing to repeal a rule or ordinance, is liable 90 as provided in this subsection. If a state agency or political 91 subdivision violates this section, the court shall: 92 1. Declare the rule or ordinance invalid; 93 2. Issue a permanent injunction against the state agency or 94 political subdivision prohibiting it from enforcing the rule or 95 ordinance; and 96 3. Order the repeal of the rule or ordinance. 97 98 It is not a defense that in enacting or failing to repeal the 99 rule or ordinance the state agency or political subdivision was 100 acting in good faith or upon advice of counsel. 101 (b) If the court determines that a violation was knowing 102 and willful, the court shall assess the greater of statutory 103 damages of $5,000 or actual damages of up to $100,000 against 104 the elected or appointed political subdivision official or state 105 agency head under whose jurisdiction the violation occurred. 106 (c) Except as otherwise required by law, public funds may 107 not be used to defend or reimburse an individual found to have 108 knowingly and willfully violated this section. 109 (d) A knowing and willful violation of this section by an 110 individual acting in an official capacity for a state agency or 111 political subdivision or otherwise acting under color of law by 112 enacting or causing to be enforced an ordinance or 113 administrative rule prohibited under this section is grounds for 114 termination of employment or similar contract or removal from 115 office by the Governor. 116 (e) An individual or organization whose membership is 117 adversely affected by a rule or ordinance, measure, directive, 118 enactment, order, or policy adopted or caused to be enforced in 119 violation of this section may file suit against the state agency 120 or political subdivision for declaratory and injunctive relief 121 and for actual damages, as limited by this subsection, caused by 122 the violation. A court shall award the prevailing plaintiff in 123 any such suit: 124 1. Reasonable attorney fees and costs, including a 125 contingency fee multiplier, as authorized by law; and 126 2. The actual damages incurred, up to $100,000. 127 128 Interest on the sums awarded pursuant to this subsection accrue 129 at the rate established pursuant to s. 55.03 from the date on 130 which the suit was filed. 131 Section 2. The Division of Law Revision and Information is 132 directed to replace the phrase “the effective date of this act” 133 wherever it occurs in this act with the date this act becomes a 134 law. 135 Section 3. This act shall take effect upon becoming a law.