A resident of Coral Gables throughout most of his adult life, Mas is a former banker and wealth manager turned radio host on Spanish-language Americano Media/Radio Libre 790 AM in Miami.
I am sure many Gables Insider readers will recall former Mayor Raul Valdes-Fauli’s 2018 attempt to pass an “assault weapon” ban in Coral Gables. It failed because several residents— myself included—challenged the Commission and reminded them that the State of Florida had reserved to its legislature all laws concerning firearms in Florida (the so-called “preemption statute”). Valdes-Fauli’s proposal failed to get the necessary votes from the Coral Gables Commission. Then Commissioner Vince Lago argued eloquently against Vales-Fauli’s proposal, pointing out that the very clear language in the Florida statute made it a non-starter.
However, to placate the frustrated Valdes-Fauli, the Commission later took a second vote to join more than two dozen municipalities in a lawsuit challenging the personal financial penalties that city commissioners could incur if they voted for their own gun laws. This second vote received little publicity or public comment. As I recall, the entire Coral Gables Commission voted unanimously to join the lawsuit. Mind you, this was a city-funded lawsuit designed to shield elected officials from personal financial liability for violating Florida law.
This lawsuit has been going on for over four years now and the City has continued to pour good money after bad in a series of appeals after unfavorable court rulings. Coral Gables and other municipalities took this Quixotic lawsuit all the way to the Florida Supreme Court.
The Florida Supreme Court has now reached a decision. They rejected the argument that city commissioners should NOT be personally penalized for breaking state law by attempting to pass their own gun laws. Here is a link to the Court’s 4-1 decision:
I suspect that considerable dollars have been spent by the City of Coral Gables in this lawsuit. Coral Gables and many of the other municipalities were represented by the law firm of Weiss Serota Helfman Cole & Bierman, P.L. It would be useful to see a full accounting of the all the expenses incurred by Coral Gables— and of course funded by taxpayer dollars— in this failed effort to challenge the laws of the State of Florida.
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