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Intersection: The Battle Over Gun Rights

A gun sits in a holster.
File photo: gun in holster

A group of South Florida cities sued the state over the right to set local gun ordinances. Now Orlando and St. Petersburg have signed onto the lawsuit.  So how is the story playing out in the rest of the country?

"There have been some challenges in other states around the country regarding gun laws and also regarding other kinds of laws," says Dr. Robert Spitzer, chair of the political science department at the State University of New York College at Cortland.

"The National Rifle Association, dating back to the 1980s, waged a very low visibility but significant political campaign among most of the states to have their state legislatures enact  preemption laws," says Spitzer.

"This strategy unfolded in over 40 states, between the 1980s and today, and that has allowed state governments to exercise a great deal of authority over and to limit the ability of localities to enact tougher gun laws," says Spitzer.

"There may well be strong grounds for localities to move ahead in the way they are right now," says Spitzer.

"One thing we do know is that most of the kinds of gun measures that large majorities of Americans support and that large majorities of gun owners support are well within legal bounds," says Spitzer.

Spitzer says other states will certainly be watching the Florida lawsuit.