North Miami Beach officials have learned that if they challenge Florida gun statutes, it will be a losing battle. Florida’s pre-emption law withstood the city’s objection after a case involving a sporting goods store that sold guns was decided in the store owner’s favor.
The city five years ago passed a zoning ordinance that restricted the location of gun stores to industrial areas of the municipality. It was a zoning law that largely went unchallenged until Glatze Militum came into the picture.
According to the Miami New Times, The dispute started in late 2016, when Glatze first tried to open as a store that would sell guns, knives and accessories. The zoning board denied the permit for such a business to open in a shopping plaza. After the rejection, Glatze modified its application, describing the shop as a sporting goods outlet.
In late 2017, code enforcement officers cited the store for selling guns and the owner’s business permit was revoked. The businessman consulted with representatives from the gun-rights group Florida Carry and they partnered for the lawsuit.
“This is the first [city] we’ve had to sue over a zoning ordinance,” Eric Friday, an attorney for Florida Carry, told the Miami New Times. “They were trying to treat gun stores, which are selling an item every American has the right to own under the Constitution, as a heavy industrial business or something akin to strip clubs and tattoo parlors.”
At the heart of the matter is a 1987 state law that bars localities from passing their own gun regulations. The state won out, and the city negotiated a $12,000 settlement with the owner of the gun store.
“I think they made a compelling case,” said Jose Smith, the city attorney. The city is required to follow state law, he said afterward.