Credits:* Marion P. Hammer
USF Executive Director
NRA Past President
URGENT: HB-163 by Rep. Matt Gaetz is on the agenda for the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday, January 28, 2016 at 9:00am.
HB-163 is a bill to allow persons with a Concealed Weapons & Firearms License to carry firearms concealed or openly.
It will prevent CW license holders from being charged with the crime of violating the "Open Carry" law because a concealed firearm, being legally carried, accidentally or inadvertently becomes visible to the sight of another person.
ANYTIME YOU CARRY CONCEALED, YOU ARE IN DANGER OF BEING ARRESTED, CHARGED AND PROSECUTED LIKE A CRIMINAL for violating the ban on open carry of firearms, if your gun is accidentally, unintentionally, briefly exposed to the sight of another person.
Our attorneys tell us that the ONLY WAY to completely stop this abuse, is to legally allow license holders to carry openly -- then they cannot be charged with violation of the open carry ban no matter how brief the accidental and unintentional exposure.
Once again, as they did in 2011, The Florida Sheriffs Association is trying to kill the bill by offering an amendment that is an outright fraud. They claim it will stop CW License holders from being arrested -- THAT IS FALSE. Their amendment is nothing more than a smokescreen to hide their anti-gun, anti-Second Amendment agenda.
We need you to contact committee members immediately and urge them to pass this bill.
PLEASE IMMEDIATELY EMAIL Members of the House Judiciary Committee and URGE THEM TO SUPPORT HB-163 By Rep. Matt Gaetz
In the subject line put: SUPPORT HB-163 - Open Carry by CW License Holders
(Block and Copy All email addresses into the "Send To" box)
It is imperative that you email these Committee members right away.
FACTS ABOUT FLORIDA'S OPEN CARRY BILL
Despite the misinformation peddled to the press, these are the facts:
1. This bill only applies to handguns. Nothing in this bill would authorize the open carry of long guns – rifles or shotguns.
2. Nothing in this bill in any way impacts the private property rights of others – not of businesses and not of private individuals.
3. Only a person with a license to carry concealed may choose to carry openly.
4. The same restrictions that apply to carrying concealed will also apply to open carry. [ s.790.06 ]
5. No person may carry a firearm around in the hand or exhibit it in a rude careless, angry, or threatening manner, not in necessary self-defense. To do so violates existing law. [ s.790.10 ]
6. A license holder is required -- by existing law -- to show the license to any law enforcement officer who wants to see it -- that's in the original law passed in 1987. [ s.790.06 (1) ]
7. Businesses have the right to deny entry, refuse service, and/or evict anyone they wish -- unless it's done on the basis of race, gender, or religion. It is common to see signs that say, "No shoes, no shirt, no service." Businesses should not be reluctant to post signs saying , "No open carrying of firearms."
It's THEIR right.
8. Seventy percent (70%) of the American public live in open carry states from all regions of the country. Many of the 45 open carry states have large and diverse cities just like Florida. No matter where you live geographically, whether it's Trilby, Fla. or Fanning Springs, Fla., you have the same constitutional rights as citizens who live in Miami, Tampa, or Orlando.
9. Forty-five (45) states allow open carry of firearms.
15 of 45 open carry states require a license to carry concealed or openly.
30 of 45 open carry states DO NOT require any license to carry openly
0 of 15 carry license states require additional training to carry openly
0 of 45 states offer a separate "open carry" license
2 of 45 states require a holster to open carry.
0 of 45 states require a special retention holster.
5 of 15 are "may-issue" states where law enforcement issues licenses
15 of 15 states require the license holder to produce the license on lawful demand by a law enforcement officer.
10. Florida is 1 of 5 states that DO NOT allow Open Carry. The others are California, Illinois, New York and South Carolina. It's time for Florida to be in better company.
Allowing concealed carry license holders to also carry openly is THE ONLY WAY to stop abuse by law enforcement officers. License holders continue to be arrested and prosecuted for violation of the law banning open carry when their concealed firearms are accidentally, unintentionally and briefly exposed to the ordinary sign of another person.
Despite efforts in 2011 to stop this abuse continues and it has to stop.
ANYTIME a concealed carry license holder is carrying concealed he/she is in danger of being maliciously and spitefully arrested, charged with a crime and prosecuted like a criminal, if the gun is accidentally seen by another person.
EMAIL COMMITTEE MEMBERS TODAY: Tell them to support HB-163
From: Florida Carry
HB-163 will allow persons with a Concealed Weapons & Firearms License the right to choose to carry firearms openly or concealed.
It will prevent CW license holders from being charged with the crime of violating the Open Carry ban.
In 30 states any legal gun owner can carry a handgun openly without any license or permit. Only 15 states require a license to carry openly. HB163, in its current form, would still make Florida one of the few states that requires a license prior to the exercise of the fundamental right to bear arms.
Florida's Current Open Carry Ban
In Florida, and only four other states, the unconcealed or "open" carry of a firearm is generally a criminal act. This crime is punishable by up to 60 days in jail and a $500 fine. There are some very specific exceptions to an open carry charge. These exceptions are all affirmative defenses, which means that you must admit to violating the law but claim that you were justified in doing so. For example, to avoid criminal penalties you bear the burden of proving in court that you were entitled to carry openly because you were legally hunting, camping, fishing, or shooting or that you were at your own home or place of work.
A new proposal being advanced by the Florida Sheriff's Association attempts to keep Florida's Open Carry firearms policies in line with those of New York, Illinois, South Carolina, and California. While offering Florida's gun owners no additional rights or protection. The FSA's proposed amendment is intended to gut the open carry bill.
Currently, Florida law generally prohibits the open carrying of firearms and certain weapons. Under s. 790.053, F.S., it is a second degree misdemeanor for a person to openly carry on or about his or her person any firearm or electric weapon or device. The bill amends this provision to authorize concealed carry licensees to openly carry firearms.
Section 790.02, F.S., currently authorizes an officer to make a warrantless arrest for the carrying of a concealed weapon in violation of s. 790.01, F.S., when the officer has reasonable grounds or probable cause to believe such offense has been committed. The bill amends this provision to clarify that it only applies to the unlicensed carrying of a concealed weapon and to delete authorization for such warrantless arrests based merely on reasonable suspicion.
The bill creates s. 776.00111, F.S., and amends s. 790.25(4), F.S., to require the judiciary to employ strict scrutiny in reviewing any statute that implicates the right to bear arms or defend one's self. The bill also specifies that the right to bear arms or defend one's self is a fundamental and individual right that exists in any place that a person has the right to be, subject only to exceptionally and narrowly tailored restrictions that employ the least possible restriction on the right in order to achieve a compelling government interest.
The bill also creates s. 790.0015, F.S., to specify that it is a violation subject to liability for any person or entity to infringe on certain rights to bear arms or defend one's self. With respect to this liability, the bill states, "Notwithstanding any other provision of law, no immunity applies to such a public entity or person acting on behalf of such public entity, infringing on such rights in violation of this section." The section also provides that the rights of an owner or lessee of real property or a private employer are not diminished and they may prohibit the possession of a firearm on their property.
The bill creates s. 790.0016, F.S., to provide that no employee will have a cause of action against an employer, including termination of employment, resulting from failure of the employee to comply with the employer's orders regarding the carrying or not carrying of a weapon during working hours.
Finally, the bill amends s. 790.25(1), F.S., to specify that the Legislature finds that the possession and carrying of weapons and firearms by law-abiding individuals for lawful purposes, including self-defense, enhances public safety.
“They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."
- Benjamin Franklin, Historical Review of Pennsylvania, 1759