LAKELAND — It's your Second Amendment right to bear arms, but how far does it stretch?
A Lakeland man is learning the hard way that's it's not cut and dry.
He can own guns, sells them, but has been told by Polk County he can't build them for a profit.
Here's the thing -- a man who lives just miles from him is allowed to.
10News WTSP is finding out what gives.
“I have to have this license to start,” said businessman Charlie Mondale. “I can't even begin seeing if my ideas will work until I legally have the ability to do so. 'Cause it's a $10,000 fine per silencer if they're not tagged.”
Here's the thing. Mondale - he likes guns. And he wants to use the machine shop on his property to build silencers. He thinks he can make a profit from a new design. But he can't.
“Yeah, they kinda hamstrung me at this point,” he said.
Why can't he? The county says "no" despite the fact that his neighbor, just a few miles away is doing the same thing.
Mondale showed 10News a letter from the county. It authorizes his Lakeland neighbor to do the exact same thing Mondale wants to do.
It says Polk County is pre-empted by relevant statutes from the state and has no authority to regulate home manufacturing of firearms.
Double standard much?
“It's a little discouraging that some people are allowed to do it but i'm being excluded from it,” Mondale said.
This issue went all the way up to the state's Attorney General. Pam Bondi said the county has the power to allow Mondale just like his friend to make his silencers. So since the county denied him - what gives?
“It seems strange that if you meet all of the federal criteria but yet the county can say you can do it, but you can't. That's the thing that I don't understand.”
10News contacted Attorney General Bondi's office and the Polk County Attorney Michael Craig involved in this case.
Neither of them wanted to comment to me on the record.
But Mondale, he says he is going to take this fight back to the county -- to do exactly what his friend already can. Manufacture and sell guns - and silencers - from this home.