Earlier this year, Florida’s Tea Party Gov. Rick Scott (R) signed a law drastically reducing local governments’ power to regulate firearms. Among other things, the law strips local governments of their authority to require a waiting period before someone may purchase a gun. The bill’s most radical provision, however, gives Scott the power to unilaterally fire lawmakers who do not share his absolutist view of gun policy:
A knowing and willful violation of any provision of this section by a person acting in an official capacity for any entity enacting or causing to be enforced a local ordinance or administrative rule or regulation [regulating firearms or ammunition] shall be cause for termination of employment or contract or removal from office by the Governor.
It’s tough to view this law as anything other than a direct assault on Florida’s democratic process, since it would lead to democratically elected lawmakers being stripped of their office simply because they enacted policies that the state’s current government disagrees with.
Moreover. as a lawsuit filed last week explains, the law also runs headlong into Florida’s constitution. That constitution provides only six grounds by which an official can be suspended and eventually removed from office: “malfeasance, misfeasance, neglect of duty, drunkenness, incompetence, permanent inability to perform official duties, or commission of a felony.” None of these six grounds are “passing a gun law that Rick Scott disagrees with.”