The US Supreme Court refused to take up the court case of Norman v. Florida, officially ending the fight for open carry for the Sunshine State via the judiciary. The case had its beginning when Fort Pierce resident Dale Lee Norman was arrested in February, 2012 for inadvertently when his t-shirt rode up over his holstered handgun. Mr. Norman, who had a concealed-weapons license, was found guilty of a second-degree misdemeanor. The judge imposed a $300 fine and court costs.
The grassroots gun rights group Florida Carry subsequently challenged the constitutionality of the state’s longstanding ban on openly carrying weapons. Both Florida’s 4th District Court of Appeals and State Supreme Court ruled against Mr. Norman.
In a petition for certiorari filed with the U.S. Supreme Court, Mr. Norman’s attorneys, lead by Eric Friday of Florida Carry, pointed to landmark rulings such as Heller and McDonald, arguing that the right to openly bear arms exists outside of homes.
“The Second Amendment provides in part that `the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.’ This guarantees not only the right to `keep’ arms, such as in one’s house, but also to `bear arms,’ which simply means to carry arms without reference to a specific place. When the Framers intended that a provision of the Bill of Rights related to a house, they said so,” said the petition, filed in July and posted on the Florida Carry website.
But attorneys for the state under the direction of Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi (R), argued in a brief that the ban on openly carrying firearms doesn’t violate Second Amendment rights, as people can carry concealed weapons if they’re licensed.
“This [U.S. Supreme] Court has never held that the Second Amendment protects a right to openly carry firearms in public, and the reasoning set forth in pertinent case law supports the proposition that states fully accommodate the right to bear arms when they make available to responsible, law-abiding citizens some meaningful form of public carry,” the state’s brief said. “That is precisely what Florida has done here. Thus, Florida’s law is valid under any arguably applicable analytical framework.”
The only avenue open to open carry in Florida now is the legislative process. But pro-gun bills have been blocked every year with the Republican controlled House and Senate smothering pro RKBA bills in committee.
As reported earlier, Senate Judiciary Chairman Greg Steube, a Sarasota Republican and prominent gun-rights supporter, said he doesn’t plan to file the open carry bill that he himself submitted for the 2018 legislative session, which starts in January.
The reason is that two turncoat Republicans on the committee — Anitere Flores (R) and Rene Garcia — who have sided with the civilian disarmament industry in blocking the bill’s progress.
So Floridians hoping to expand their Second Amendment rights have to wait until at least the November 2018 election to hopefully get some new faces in the legislature before any progress is possible.