By: Mariel Carbone
January 5, 2017
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV)-- Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum is launching a campaign he calls the "Campaign to Defend Local Solutions."
The Mayor, launching the campaign in response to what he calls bullying by the National Rifle Association.
This, as the City of Tallahassee is set to head to appeals court on Tuesday, in an ongoing battle with the gun lobby. Members of the 2014 Tallahassee City Commission- including Commissioner Nancy Miller, Gil Ziffer, Andrew Gillum and then Mayor John Marks- are being sued by Second Amendment Foundation and Florida Carry, after the Commission's refusal to repeal a city ordinance that bans the shooting of guns in a public park.
The gun lobby said that state law preempts city law; However the City is calling the laws being thrown at it, unconstitutional.
The City officials are being sued for $5,000 per vote, $100,000 in damages and the possibility of the Governor removing them from office.
The debate sparked Gillum to publish the article "How to Fight the NRA," Thursday.
In the letter, he states:
"Although nobody should be against these types of common sense laws, this lawsuit isn’t about guns. It’s about huge special interests, in this case the National Rifle Association (NRA), spending big money to take away local voices and local control, using tactics called preemption and super-preemption."
In an interview with Eyewitness News, Gillum said this is about more than just this specific case.
"We're not going to be bullied around by the Florida Legislature, or the Governor, or more powerfully, the special interest," he said. "Local matters. And who else is to say what else they will tell us not to touch. They've done it in all these other instances- on noise ordinances, on landlord tenant mediation, on water rights issues."
He said other threats loom too, like on minimum wage and health benefit issues.
Gillum said he believes the lawsuit stems from these special interest groups trying to cause a "chilling effect" on local government.
Some local residents are standing by the Mayor.
"Public citizens in a public capacity such as our mayor need to be championing our viewpoints," said Caroline Klancke, of Tallahassee.
On Twitter, user @DJnutmeg said, "Very proud of our mayor! Excited to join him in his efforts."
@Wakullawriter said, "Pre-emption influenced by any lobby group that restricts local governance on health and safety should concern us all."
But, not everyone agrees.
Twitter user @Beckylannon said, "He is being sued because the City of Tallahassee is breaking the law."
The Chairman of the Leon County Republican Party Evan Power also called out Gillum, releasing a statement saying Gillum is only launching the campaign to further his own political goals.
But, Gillum said he stands by his efforts.
"You elect local government officials because you want to empower them to make the decisions that are necessary to govern local communities."
Eyewitness News has reached out to the NRA for comment. It has yet to hear back on this issue.