Pineals County Sheriff Gaultieri (courtesy pcsoweb.com)

Margie Menzel [via (AmmoLand.com] writes:

Acknowledging “momentum” behind a proposal that would allow people with concealed-weapons licenses to openly carry guns, the Florida Police Chiefs Association said Thursday its board of directors had voted to back the controversial measure — as long as changes designed to protect law-enforcement officers are included. A spokeswoman confirmed that the police chiefs’ group had contacted the sponsors of the proposal (SB 300/HB 163), Sen. Don Gaetz, R-Niceville, and his son, Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fort Walton Beach, who both say they’re on board with the changes . . .

“The police chiefs understand that momentum is building,” association spokeswoman Sandi Poreda said. “And because of their concerns for police officers’ safety, they wanted to go ahead and reach out to the bill sponsors and work on these amendments, which they believe will better protect officers.”

If the measure passes, 1.45 million Floridians with concealed-weapons permits would be able to openly carry guns. Opponents — including a number of Florida sheriffs — warn that people who openly display guns could get hurt as a result, either by criminals or law enforcement.

Gun bills will be heavily debated during the 2016 legislative session, which starts Jan. 12. Along with the open-carry proposal, lawmakers are looking at allowing people with concealed-weapons licenses to carry guns on college and university campuses and are considering a proposal to shift a burden of proof in “stand your ground” self-defense cases.

By a vote of 15-7, the police chiefs association’s board of directors — who represent law-enforcement agencies in different districts of the state — agreed to support the open-carry bill when the amendments are adopted.

In a “Red Alert” email Wednesday to association members, Executive Director Amy Mercer cautioned that the police chiefs’ group “reserves the right to oppose the bill in the future, particularly if our amendments are changed or removed or if other amendments are added that are found not to be in the best interest of the FPCA and our members.”

Lawmakers will consider four proposed amendments, which have not yet been filed.

One amendment would add a provision to the Senate bill. The amended version would include House language stating that a person who displays a firearm “intentionally … in an angry or threatening manner, not in necessary self defense” is not covered by the proposed open-carry law.

Second, both current versions of the proposal would allow fines to be imposed on people — including police officers — who infringe on others’ rights to openly carry guns, unless probable cause exists to believe that crimes have been committed. A proposed amendment would ease that standard for law officers, who would be required to have “reasonable suspicion” before stopping people to verify or investigate the carrying of guns.

Third, the current proposal states that no one who infringes on the right to openly carry guns — including police officers — would be immune from legal consequences. However, the agreement between the Gaetzes and the police chiefs association specifies that nothing in the bill would be intended to restrict a law enforcement officer’s ability or authority to conduct investigations as otherwise allowed by law.

“Sovereign immunity is a vital tool that allows law enforcement officers to perform their duties without fear of frivolous lawsuits,” Mercer wrote. “Officers will not fear losing sovereign immunity when investigating a person open or concealed carrying.”

The fourth amendment would require a holster for purposes of openly carrying a firearm.

The original versions of the bills have started moving through House and Senate committees. Matt Gaetz said Thursday he expects the changes to be added when lawmakers return to the issues after the first of the year.

“In the next committee in which the bill is heard, either the House Judiciary Committee or the Senate Judiciary Committee, it is my expectation that those amendments will be adopted,” Matt Gaetz said.

The Florida Sheriffs Association would not comment Thursday. But Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Guiltieri [above], a staunch opponent of open carry, said the four amendments wouldn’t make the bill acceptable to him — or safe for people who openly display their guns.

For instance, he said, if an officer arrives at the scene of a crime and sees someone with a weapon, “At a minimum, they’re going to be thrown down on the ground with a gun pointed at them — or worse.”

And if good citizen with a concealed weapon walks into, say, a bank during an armed robbery, Gualtieri added, “he’s going to take one in the chest because he’s a threat.”

“It’s not good for Florida, it’s not good for the economy, it’s not good for tourism,” he said.

Don Gaetz, however, pointed to the emerging differences between opponents such as Gualtieri and the police chiefs association.

“Well, he now will have the opportunity to debate that issue with his fellow law-enforcement officers who are taking a different view than he is,” Don Gaetz said.

National Rifle Association lobbyist Marion Hammer, who strongly backs the measure, dismissed the critics.

“That’s rhetoric. That’s reaching,” she said. “Every time we do something to protect the rights of law-abiding gun owners, somebody will come up with a ‘what if?’ “

About The News Service of Florida:

The News Service of Florida provides journalists, lobbyists, government officials and other civic leaders with high-quality, comprehensive, objective information about the activities of state government year-round. We’re a five-person, independent, privately-owned wire service, led by David Royse, one of the Capitol press corps’ most respected veterans.

For more information, visit: www.newsserviceflorida.com.

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59 Responses to FLA Police Chiefs Support Open Carry While Sheriff Warns Open Carrier About ‘Taking One to the Chest’

  1. Looks like open carry bans are going away in all but the most anti civil rights areas of our country. On a completely unrelated but promising note, I have been noticing places that have had no guns signs up for as long as I can remember suddenly removing them at an astonishing rate. Right now the only place I can think of that still prohibits carry is the mall, and only the indoor malls at that.

    • A business has to make a profit. Drive away gun owners and it cuts into your bottom line. Malls are more aimed at the high school crowd. They don’t carry, not legally anyway.

  2. I give the individual Sheriff or LEO the benefit of the doubt, even if I disagree with the conclusions,

    but union reps and faux LEA associations founded and financed by unions I will automatically distrust and despise for all the obvious historical proof. They are some of the most venal and corrupt organizations in our nations history, who now exist only to rob their members and the citizens who are represented by sordid politicians who take union money and anti-freedom orders on bended knee.

    • Any cop who shoots a citizen because he has a gun will face murder charges, and that shit will stop real quick. Any chief/sheriff who says IN ADVANCE that his men will murder armed citizens for no reason should be jailed NOW, for abuse of authority and terroristic threats.

      • And what happens to barney fife when he shoots at some innocent person and they shoot back,just because he has a badge doesn’t make him a better shot,as a matter of fact,the cops are notorious for not being able to shoot straight.

  3. Gualteri is full of crap. There is nothing wrong with open carry. States out West have ALWAYS allowed open carry. It is no big deal. We don’t have blood running in the streets because of it. He needs to train his deputies to deal with legitimate threats, and not harass honest citizens.

  4. General open carry will not come to Floriduh. Too many anti gun Republicans carry the day. One is Senator Diaz de la Portilla, chair of the Judiciary Committee, R-Miami. He also stopped campus carry last year.

    • That was last year. Things aren’t the same with the State Senate. A lot more support now then ever, A republican in Dade County is just another RINO and we all know rinos belong behind bars.

        • The Florida legislative leadership may still be the same, but the winds are now blowing in a new direction.

          OC *is* coming to The GunShine State.

          And *that* is an official Martha Stewart ‘Good Thing’… 🙂

  5. Call me a FUDD but those compromises don’t bother me much. I don’t see a deputy tossing an open carrier to the ground without a reasonable cause, Since its open carry for CWP permit holders only. It wont really change anything. Except and its already been removed here is accidental exposure. Not having open carry for almost 30 years. I don’t remember seeing it or even doing it myself back then. Except when I used to fish by the Everglades. Which technically was 5 miles from my house at the time. Never was anyone but a gator around anyway.
    As usual there will always be someone or group (dumbass sheriffs on the west coat) calling for blood in the streets. It wont happen never does. Will some one do something stupid?? Eventually but I doubt it would even make the news. 1.45 million folks aren’t all about to walk around with an exposed firearm here. And if they do. So what…..

  6. The only way an open carrier is going to take one in the chest from a cop at a bank robbery is if the poor innocent bastard ends up a hostage. But hey, cops have immunity, so its all good. Well, its not all good for the hostages, but who cares about them?

    You know what we need? A hostage union.

  7. “Sovereign immunity”, Florida, all hail your King!

    Allowing an entity to steal the exercise of your natural right to keep and bear arms away and then license it back piecemeal to you is a recipe for tyranny. We allowed it in Ohio and we will probably never fully regain the rightful exercise through negotiated politics. The pro-CHL groups used open carry to get the right to conceal made into a privilege. Now, the right to openly bear arms is just starting to take a back seat to the State sanctioned privilege of licensed carry through CHL carve-outs. Once you allow the statist bastards to gain control of the exercise of a natural right, the stage is set for a protracted fight that you might not win in the end.

    That isn’t to say that I think Florida should not accept open carry with a license. What I’m cautioning is to constantly remind those in power that the People’s acceptance of privileged carry is quite temporary and that the People are anticipating a speedy return to the free exercise of the natural individual right to bear arms openly. Don’t let such an imprudent compromise stick around long enough to become acceptable.

  8. I support open carry, not my choice of edc but i believe times call for improvements to be made for self defence.
    Getting one to the chest sounds like his officers shoot first and ask questions later.
    A response from a ccw inside a bank would be done and over with either bad guy shot or good guy shot most likely before officers arrived, don’t officers demand to drop the gun anymore?
    Or do they just go trigger happy and execute people?

    • 10 months of open carry and not once for me (*knocks on wood door*), it’s winter now even being warm I still wear a hooded sweat shirt so unless I am really trying it’s concealed.

  9. Qualified Immunity is necessary…

    …because cops need to do their jobs however they want to, without fear of penalty if they violate the law.

    All other workers, well, they can obey the laws or get arrested.

  10. Most of my thoughts have been seen in the comments above, what I do want to point out is compromise. The gun grabbers used to toss that out a lot, “Compromise with us,” they would scream, while their compromise was our infringement.

    These amendments show some real compromise, like Hey if you want to open carry that’s fine, but you have to use a holster.” That’s actual compromise.

    • Yup, and as soon as I read that I instantly thought of a video review from IraqiVetran about the Henry Mares leg 44 mag, he had a drop leg like velcro holster for that thing, now that would be open carry with style!

  11. This shouldn’t even be in the damn legislature. This issue was settled in 1791 and, other than the ‘black codes’ in some southern states that forbade freed black slaves from owning firearms, was never an issue until 1934 because some gangsters decided to kill people on St. Valentines Day instead of making love to their women.

    ” warn that people who openly display guns could get hurt as a result, either by criminals or law enforcement.”

    Not likely by criminals. Criminals tend to cower at the site of an armed individual. As for law enforcement, if a LEO is so out of control and so out of touch with individual rights that he opens fire on a person open carrying with a firearm in a holster, that’s a failure of law enforcement and their training.

    I know there’s the crowd that says ,”open carrying makes you the first target”, but this tends to be the same crowd that says, “criminals don’t want resistance”. From experience, personal and from family, the sight of a citizen openly carrying a firearm makes people think twice. (guns and knife put away very – very quickly)

    There are plus and minuses to open carry. I only do it for a quick trip to the neighborhood store, mainly and unfortunately to avoid any confrontation from a LEO,outside of my neighborhood, who was called by an anti that doesn’t understand the 2A. I open carry where I am known by business owners and many neighbors. It has sparked some very interesting and wonderful conversations in which other people have learned about their rights, even gun owners, and have sense taken a more proactive stance to their personal protection and their families protection.

  12. Isn’t it time to see a goofy picture of what’s her face….damn, oh Shannon Watts? And what about really rich nanny guy Bloombag? This mega change in gun rights for the worse, as they see it, must have gotten their collective knickers soiled a little.

    That just breaks my little heart.

  13. I live in the gold star open carry state of NORTH CAROLINA, I frequently open carry, see many other open carriers when out and about , NO PROBLEMS EVER. You good folks in FLORIDUH need to amp up your efforts and “GIT ER DONE” Good luck and GOD speed.

    • This Sheriff comes from a county here that has a lot people from up north that put the “duh” in Florida. Miami has the same problem.

  14. And if good citizen with a concealed weapon walks into, say, a bank during an armed robbery, Gualtieri added, “he’s going to take one in the chest because he’s a threat.”

    That sounds an AWFUL LOT like premeditated murder.

    If any police employee at any level opposes any measure that would hold them accountable for their actions, that employee should be terminated with immediate effect.

  15. Same tactic cool undies in a bunch by some LEOs over Open Carry when debated in Texas. The old “how will police know the difference between a responsible open carrier and a bad guy? Well your basic thug does not open carry, usually “Mexican carry”, wedged in the small of back, covered with T-Shirt or Hoodie. Blood in the streets thing. But after 140 yrs., finally Open Carry legal in Texas again.

    Good luck Florida, nice to enjoy a choice of OC or CC

  16. Speaking as a Florida resident whose IWB holster is putting some wear marks on his G19, I’m very happy with this, and I don’t mind the proposed amendments to the bill (I especially don’t mind the holster requirement. That one you can actually sell as a public safety issue).

    Yes, I get it: we shouldn’t have to fight for this. But the NRA and other gun rights supporters let this all go a long time ago, and we’re now clawing it back. Each step we take in the right direction is another step on the road to Constitutional carry. If we get this now, in 10 years time Constitutional Carry will be a realistic option. And then the nation’s 3rd most populous state might no longer have a permit requirement.

    Does it suck that we have to wait? Yes. But that’s because we let the Left take over the culture. Now we are paying the price, and if we want to win it back, we have to fight for it. So consider this our penance, and a hard lesson to never let it go again.

    • “So consider this our penance, and a hard lesson to never let it go again.”

      Wow. You’re an optimist.

      The general public has a long-term memory an awful lot like an end-stage Alzheimer’s patient.

      They will forget with astonishing speed.

    • I have to disagree with you per the “holster requirement”. It smells like the exact sort of compromise that got us into this mess in the first place.Infringement under the guise of public safety is still infringement, it just tastes a little different going down. Last time I checked, the second amendment makes zero mention of holsters, which means the state has zero ability and zero right to demand I use one (I do, for the record).

      • I agree. We’ve seen where giving an inch regarding the RKBA has gotten us. It says “shall not be infringed”… let it ever shall be so.

  17. “And if good citizen with a concealed weapon walks into, say, a bank during an armed robbery, Gualtieri added, “he’s going to take one in the chest because he’s a threat.”

    Um… how would someone with a CONCEALED weapon be identified as a threat?

  18. Tough talking statist is mighty brave behind that badge.

    I’m not even sure what meaning his malicious boast was supposed to convey. He envisions some concealed carrier swooping into a live bank robbery, attempting to intervene during the police siege or shootout? So they’re a threat and will get shot in the chest by police?

    First of all, I doubt his deputies could hit a hound’s chest at more than ten feet distance, let alone some armed person. More importantly, who the hell swoops into the middle of shootouts???!!!! Never happens.

    This sherrif deserves to take one (boot) in the ass.

  19. In OC states, open carry is no big deal. I’ve been to many states where it’s legal, and to be honest, I didn’t see a lot of people doing it. Gualtieri has this delusion that all 1.45 million CWFL holders will be running around with rifles slung over their shoulders. In reality, you’ll see some guys and girls OC, and even then, no one will care. After the initial BS, open carry becomes a non-issue. Some do it, some don’t. Everyone should have the right to do so, though.

  20. In Illinois when they were debating the new concealed carry laws the media and the Democrats were all over the topic of “It’s going to be the Wild West again!” Over a year later we can see that this scenario did not materialize. The fact of the matter is, it was a big non-event. There have been very few events where someone with a concealed carry permit acted incorrectly. There have been only a few permits revoked to date.

    The sheriff making the comments about “taking one in the chest” is following the same sensationalist train of thought. He simply has a personal agenda and will say anything to advance it.

  21. It’s very simple: if Guiltieri isn’t comfortable working among free people, he can either work in a prison, or else live there.

  22. Interesting. According to law enforcement, the biggest threat to citizens exercising their rights comes from criminals and LAW ENFORCEMENT.

  23. The sheriffs that oppose open carry sound a lot like the police chiefs in Illinois who opposed concealed carry by claiming the streets would turn red from the blood, which would be caused by “cowboy” civilians or “cautious” police. Both can be countered by pointing to the states that currently allow both concealed carry and open carry, such as Michigan. Last time I checked there were no cases of licensed concealed carriers shooting people because the cut in line at McDees, or of police driving up and just opening fire on someone who is wearing a pistol in a holster on their hip.

  24. Don’t roll up in plain clothes in an unmarked car, or you might take one [magazine] to the unit. Thanks for clarifying. Now let’s help YOU out, no one’s expecting you to “help” now. Late to the party = second wave of attack.

  25. Police are afraid of frivolous lawsuits? Boo Hoo – get in line with other industries that fear those very same lawsuits.

    Hospitals, doctors, restaurants, schools – all have been victims of frivolous lawsuits. It’s up to the courts to decide what is frivolous in nature and what isn’t.

    ALL professions have to adhere to the law – INCLUDING law enforcement. If you break the law doing your job, you should get sued or thrown in prison.

    No one should have “sovereign immunity”.

  26. It must be rough to be an off duty cop in Gualtieri’s neighborhood, knowing that he’s going to murder you if you attempt to stop a crime. I’m guessing there’s a pretty high turnover rate on that force.

  27. “The fourth amendment would require a holster for purposes of openly carrying a firearm.”

    So, no openly carried longarms?

    “Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Guiltieri ”

    There’s always at least one in every crowd.

  28. A proposed amendment would ease that standard for law officers, who would be required to have “reasonable suspicion” before stopping people to verify or investigate the carrying of guns.

    Perhaps the police chiefs should read Terry v Ohio and US v Black, so that they would understand that the mere lawful carry of a firearm, where such carry is lawful, absent any other unlawful activity, does not inherently constitute grounds for reasonable suspicion of unlawful activity.

    If they don’t support that, then screw them.

    And the same thing with “sovereign immunity”. Seriously? Police in Florida have sovereign immunity?

    Sovereign immunity, or crown immunity, is a legal doctrine by which the sovereign or state cannot commit a legal wrong and is immune from civil suit or criminal prosecution. This principle is commonly expressed by the popular legal maxim “rex non potest peccare,” meaning “the king can do no wrong.”

    I thought we were a constitutional republic and a nation of laws, not a monarchy.

    • Good post.

      If you haven’t noticed, the King can do no wrong in America today. The government and anyone acting as an agent of that government are treated as sovereignty. It’s blatantly obvious anymore. Government merely gives lip service to this idea of a republic and a constitution. That ship sailed a long time ago. We are no longer considered free individuals. We are treated like subjects. The flow of power is seen as flowing from government to the people and not the right way round.

      The The Tree of Liberty…

  29. If somebody wants to open carry that’s their business. I prefer concealed on the premise that, to me, open carry is a big billboard to the bad guys that says, “Shoot me first”.

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