Florida is home to more licensed concealed carriers than any other state. Yet it remains one of the handful of states that don’t allow open carry (outside of hunting, fishing and camping).  Although it’s hardly practiced — thanks to law enforcement that’s ready, willing and able to charge open carriers with disorderly conduct or breach of peace — even gun-averse Massachusetts recognizes the right to bear arms in plain view. What’s up with that?

According to wikipedia.org, 4,733,359 registered Democratic voters call Florida home, compared to 4,459,087 registered Republicans. That’s less than a three percent advantage. Donald Trump’s razor-thin victory — 4,617,886 votes to Hillary Clinton’s 4,504,975 — highlights the split. More to the point, it indicates the critical importance of Florida’s  2,949,668 unaffiliated voters.

Even though Florida’s state government is now solidly Republican, gun rights advocates pushing for open carry and the elimination of “gun free zones” ignore voters who are neither hard-core firearms freedom lovers nor gun control advocates at their peril.

The question: how to frame the debate?

If ditching “gun free” zones in the “Gunshine State” was simply a matter of appealing to reason, the argument speaks for itself. More accurately and tragically, the recent carnage at The Pulse nightclub and Fort Lauderdale airport’s baggage claim makes the point without the need for exposition.

Common sense tells voters that if someone (other than law enforcement) had been armed in the club or airport they could have defended themselves. And, perhaps, others. Precious lives may have been saved.

At the same time, it is both factually and logically demonstrable that none of the current gun control laws would have prevented the killing. And, by extension, other homicidal attacks. Ipso facto. It’s also hard if not impossible for the average person to imagine any law that would have forestalled the slaughter.

Which leaves opponents of eliminating gun free zones in a bind. Like this [via miamiherald.com]:

Dania Beach Democratic Rep. Evan Jenne — whose district includes the Fort Lauderdale airport and whose father, Ken, is a former Broward County sheriff — said it’s unrealistic to think armed bystanders could successfully intervene as a hero without consequence.

The more likely scenario, he and gun violence experts argue, would be that when police arrive on scene, they wouldn’t know which person with the gun was the instigating shooter, and that could delay aid to victims.

“You may get lucky and it may work once or twice,” Jenne said, “but I firmly believe in my heart of hearts that you’re just going to end up with a more chaotic situation and more people hurt and killed.”

Armed Americans adding to the death and injury toll during an attack is a more likely scenario? At the moment, it only exists in “gun violence experts'” imagination. Given the real-world coverage of the assaults trying to make that potential scenario more frightening than what actually happened is a strategy that’s, thankfully, doomed to failure.

In many ways, open carry is the heavier lift. It’s one thing to “allow” guns, whether in current “secure areas” or in the wild. It’s quite another to see them.

Even though there haven’t been any examples of open carriers gone wild in the states where it’s legal, the idea of openly armed people in everyday life is compelling to people who don’t own or carry firearms. And not in a good way.

Of course, that’s not an argument against open carry, per se. Which is why open carry opponents lump the elimination of “gun free zones” with open carry and generalize the issue, wringing their hands at the prospect of “guns everywhere.” Like this:

But gun experts and recent studies say easier access to guns won’t lead to a safer state.

“If it were true that having everyone armed all the time in our society was a recipe for a safer America, states that have more guns everywhere would be safer,” said Ari Freilich, staff attorney for the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. “They would have lower rates of gun violence, gun deaths and mass shootings than states that have taken steps to take guns out of the public sphere.”

Gun control advocates are now “gun experts”? Puh-lease.

More importantly, you and I know that these “more guns equals more deaths” studies are biased and entirely misleading — by their own admission. To wit (from the link provided): “this correlation does not prove a causal relationship between stronger gun laws and fewer gun deaths.”

Even so, Freilich’s fake news statement sounds authoritative. It capitalizes on the general public’s general disinterest with statistics. And general ignorance about “gun violence.”

Overcoming this FUD to gain support for open carry requires . . . more gun owners. Only those who know that firearms are safe in their hands can truly understand how they can be safe in other’s hands. “Even” when the guns are in plain view.

There’s one thing missing in the Herald’s article on the debate in Florida over open carry and the elimination of “gun free zones” in Florida. Something that should supersede the pros and cons. The Second Amendment.

Americans have a natural, civil and Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms in any manner they wish. Truth be told, the “argument” over open carry and gun free zones was settled when the Bill of Rights was enacted on December 15, 1791.

The Florida campaign for open carry and the elimination of “gun free zones” is a clear case of gun rights restoration, a return to the principles that form the bedrock of our republic. Principles that can only be altered by amending the United States Constitution, and maybe not even then. It’s a shame that the pro-gun effort isn’t viewed as such.

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38 Responses to Random Thoughts About Florida Open Carry and ‘Gun Free Zones’

  1. “Yet [FL] remains one of the handful of states that don’t allow some form of open carry.”

    Florida does permit open carry while hunting, fishing, camping and other activities, and while going to and from such activities. Florida Open Carry regularly stages marches of open carriers armed with pistols and fishing rods.

    Why OC while fishing? Gators and snakes.

    • And…
      crazy ass feral hogs, Rock Pythons, Monitor lizards, coyote packs, and of course American crocodiles.

  2. I don’t want that BS ‘need a permit to exercise OC’. I’ll give the charging for CC (not a fan, though), but OC should be permit-less just as it is when hunting. Paying $70 to exercising your right to carry ain’t really a right. I will say the easiest way to convince folk is show them the old footage of LEOs saying OC is better then CC and that ‘Shall-issue’ would destroy FL. CC changed nothing, so why would OC be any different especially when they wanted OC before.

    • Having to pay anything in order to exercise a right is unconstitutional according to SCOTUS — think “poll tax”.

      So fees for concealed carry are arguably unconstitutional as well.

  3. Can someone explain why this site auto-hyperlinks to the word hunting? That’s pretty aggressive and invasive for Brownell ad revenue…

  4. Pretty good chance for passage of Open Carry and School Carry this year. Gun Free Zones gone?? Id leave that to our soon to be national legislature to take care of maybe??
    The 2 Rhinos responsible for blocking it last year in the state legislature are thankfully gone. Due to the good people of my geographic location.
    The other largely Dimocratic geographic area of the state in central Florida is also full of transplanted North Easterners. These people have brought their misbegotten beliefs and have spread the infection as best they can. The last 20 years here havent been as good as they should be. Here in the Great Gunshine State.

  5. Anyone remember in the 90’s they brought in a Law that made Concealed Carry illegal? By doing that it meant it was legal to OC. It was chaos as the wanna be Rambos strapped on everything they owned, walking into Publix, bars, it was a mess. In rural areas, yes to OC. In downtown Miami, you have got to be kidding. Look at the road rage incidents and accidents in SFL everyday. You want to allow every hot head to open carry? The chaos lasted 2 weeks while Lawmakers scrambled to repeal it. I am all for CC and the checks that go with it. I have a CC and I am a responsible gun owner.
    IMHO I believe that incidents which will happen in Miami if this goes through, will damage our 2nd Ammendment Rights and long term, affect the 1.5 Million CC holders in the State of Florida.

    • Explain to me how things would be different if open carry was allowed? You question, “Look at the road rage incidents and accidents in SFL everyday. You want to allow every hot head to open carry?” You do realize that the only difference between now and if open carry was allowed is the (possible) location of the gun? Every one of those “hot heads” that you are worried about are perfectly within their rights under current law to have a gun concealed on their person (with a permit), or inside their glove box or their center console (without a permit), if they so choose. Road rage and related shootings are relatively rare occurrences, despite that. How would that differ if they could suddenly legally open carry?

      Your response smacks of the “blood in the streets” fearmongering that is used by anti-gunners anytime there is any hint of relaxation of gun regulations or restrictions. They are wrong when they use it, and you are wrong when you do.

      • Smacks of the same type posts from every pinheaded anti open carry FUDD posted here on T-TAG during the open carry debate here in Texas. Where in Hades do these maroons come from. Just burns my socks off! 🖕

    • @TruBrit
      At least get your facts straight. In 1987 the Florida legislature repealed the previous law and replaced it with shall-issue for concealed carry, unintentionally leaving open carry unregulated. A television station in the Miami area hired an actor to parade around in public with a gun in an openly visible holster. The Florida cuck-is-lature promptly amended the law to prohibit open carry except in very limited circumstances. There never was a problem. Visit any open carry state and see for yourself.

    • Here we go again. Sir, I believe your heart is in the right place, but observe: There ARE NO SECOND AMENDMENT RIGHTS. The Second Amendment only offers Constitutional protection to our natural right to keep and bear arms. At least that was the intent.

      As for: “You want to allow every hot head to open carry?” Read the Second Amendment. Better yet, here it is:

      “A well regulated militia being necessary for the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”

      Where do you find in that declaration any implication that you, or plural “you” or anybody, much less the government, has the authority to decide who may carry, much less open carry, hot head or not?

      The Second Amendment is an BLANKET prohibition against government infringement of the natural, civil and Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms. Limiting away those rights in any manner is an infringement. The Second Amendment specifically does not prohibit people who scare you, or me, or especially the government, from bearing arms. That’s the point.

  6. You answered your own question. Right now they have to have a Permit, that will change if they OK OC. I am not talking about the responsible gun owners, I am talking the idiots and wanna be’s. Go to any range in SFL and look at some of the people who are shooting, what they are shooting, and how they dress. I lived in SFL for the past 25 years, still go there on business. Now I carry when before I never felt I needed to. Times are changing. Wake up and look at the possible consequences before you spout about ‘this is our right’ and other BS. I don’t want to lose those rights due to idiots going to extremes. Not ‘fear mongering or blood in the streets’, simple facts. Go online and do the research on what happend when they allowed OC. That was in the 90’s. Think on how it will be now and the current population.

    • You didn’t fully read my answer. The ones with a permit could have a gun on their person, but all the ones WITHOUT A PERMIT would still be perfectly within their legal rights to have a gun in their glove box, or their center console, or any of several other places. AND YET, it does not result in the daily bloodbath of which you are so afeared.

      So again, how would things be different if all the ones WITHOUT A PERMIT could suddenly legally open carry? The gun would (MAYBE, because most people wouldn’t open carry even if they could) go from their glove box/center console/etc to their belt, and that would result in bloodshed on a scale heretofore unheard of?

      I don’t think so.

    • Trubrit please explain the lack of all those roadrage incidents and accidents in the other 35 states that do not prohibit Open Carry.

    • And north of the Florida border, in Georgia, they allow open carry with a permit. Oh my goodness, blood runs in the street all the time /sarc. Oh, wait, in Alabama, they’ve NEVER required a permit for open carry! What in the world! Omagerd! Yep, things work just swimmingly. No problems whatsoever. And that’s JUST across the border. Simply because you THINK someone might do something stupid doesn’t mean you get to choose to prohibit it. Plenty of other states get along just fine.

      Oh, and we’re trying to get Alabama’s racist ‘gotta have a permit to carry in a vehicle’ law off of the books for the third or fourth year in a row… sheriffs can’t seem to get the idea through their heads that carrying in a vehicle isn’t so dangerous to them… as other states show year after year.

    • I’m a framer. I don’t wear a suit and tie every day. Because of that, I shouldn’t be able to exercise my second amendment rights to protect my family? You sir are a hipocrite.

  7. My understanding of the proposed law is that it wont adopt permitless open carry as many other states do, but rather remove the requirement for those with carry permits to conceal their firearm.
    And from some reading I’ve done this is for the most part a result of the actions of law enforcement. Since permit holders are required to conceal their forearm, they can be charged for failing to do so.
    In a world of reasonable people, this worked fine. But as time went on, permit holders started getting charged for inadvertently exposing their firearm. As this continued and grew more frequent, they attempted to remedy this issue. They passed a law specifically decriminalizing inadvertent exposure. This took place back in 2011.
    And this halfway measure still didn’t result in law enforcement getting the message.

    “The car he was riding in the back seat of was stopped and everyone ordered out. As he got out, Hueris raised his hands and told the officer “I have a concealed carry license, and I have a gun on me.” This is exactly what law enforcement asks that law-abiding concealed carriers do when stopped by police.
    When he raised his hands above his head, his shirt rode up exposing his properly holstered handgun. The gun was only exposed because he raised his hands to surrender to the officer and inform him that he was armed. He was arrested and prosecuted months after SB234 was passed clarifying that “brief” exposure is not illegal. The officer and State Attorney used that subjective “briefly exposed” language and the requirement that a licensee be “carrying a firearm in a concealed manner” in to justify the arrest and prosecution.”

    https://www.floridacarry.org/flcinews/54-florida-gun-owners-still-face-arrest-and-prosecution-for-innocent-exposure-of-handguns

    So since the halfway measure doesn’t appeared to have worked, they are going to fix it by removing all possibility of problems. My home state of Minnesota didn’t include a requirement to conceal when it passed its shall issue permit law specifically to avoid this issue and it works well. The vast majority of permit holders still conceal.
    The areas where lawful carry is banned are also very limited. We can even carry in the Capitol complex. Carry in bars is allowed providing the venue doesn’t ban carry as is allowed if properly posted. We do however have a law prohibiting carry while intoxicated. The BAC threshold is .04%, half of what the DUI limit is.

    • “My understanding of the proposed law is that it wont adopt permitless open carry as many other states do, but rather remove the requirement for those with carry permits to conceal their firearm.”

      Why that is not unconstitutional on the face of it baffles me. Not everyone wants to carry concealed, so requiring a concealed license in order to carry openly is inequality before the law, besides making it a requirement to go through hoops and pay money in order to exercise a constitutional right.

  8. “The more likely scenario, he and gun violence experts argue, would be that when police arrive on scene, they wouldn’t know which person with the gun was the instigating shooter, and that could delay aid to victims.”

    A fantasy scenario which has happened exactly NEVER, because when police eventually, finally arrive on scene that weren’t there when it started, either the killer is out of bullets, still killing unopposed, left the scene, or already taking the Room Temperature Challenge because of an armed citizen, who had put his own gun away 8 minutes ago.

    • Sian beat me to it!

      A mass murderer only has four options when an armed defender opposes him/her:
      (1) abscond
      (2) surrender
      (3) ignore the armed defender
      (4) engage the armed defender

      If the mass murderer absconds or surrenders, there will be no confusion or delay when police finally arrive minutes or three hours later. This is an excellent outcome.

      If the mass murderer ignores the armed defender, the armed defender will promptly shoot and incapacitate the mass murderer — within seconds — and there will be no confusion or delay when police finally arrive minutes or three hours later. This is an excellent outcome.

      If the mass murderer engages the armed defender, the mass murderer will no longer be executing victims like fish in a barrel. This will drastically reduce the casualty count which is an excellent outcome.

      Continuing with the scenario that the mass murderer engages and armed defender, there are three possible situations when police finally arrive minutes or three hours later:
      (a) The armed defender prevailed and the mass murderer is incapacitated. No confusion or delay for police.
      (b) The mass murderer prevailed and the armed defender is incapacitated. No confusion or delay for police.
      (c) The mass murderer and armed defender are still engaged in a gunfight minutes or three hours later when police arrive. Granted this could be confusing for police and delay their response. Having said that, the odds of this scenario are exceedingly slim.

      At any rate, in just about every possible outcome and in every probable outcome, there is no delay or confusion for police who arrive minutes or three hours later. Rep. Evan Jenne’s assertion is demonstrably FALSE.

  9. The more likely scenario, he and gun violence experts argue, would be that when police arrive on scene, they wouldn’t know which person with the gun was the instigating shooter, and that could delay aid to victims.

    False.

    The more likely scenario is that “Gun Free Zones” would no longer be an attractive target to wanna-be mass shooters, because such places would no longer exist.

    But, even allowing that attempted mass shootings would still take place, responding law enforcement would be able to tell the friendlies from the foes easily enough: the foes will be the ones shooting at defenseless victims.

    Oh, and the Pulse nightclub was a “Gun Free Zone”. The only person inside of said “Gun Free Zone” was the bad guy. And the victims still had to wait about three hours for aid to be rendered. Somehow, the “Gun Free Zone” designation did not facilitate rendering of aid to victims.

    • Oh, and the Pulse nightclub was a “Gun Free Zone”. The only person inside of said “Gun Free Zone” was the bad guy. And the victims still had to wait about three hours for aid to be rendered. Somehow, the “Gun Free Zone” designation did not facilitate rendering of aid to victims.

      Actually it prevented that aid. The cops had guns, after all. And being law-abiding citizens, they knew they weren’t allowed in.

      Yes, I know it’s too soon.

  10. Bottom line is that real life scenarios almost always validate the truth that a good guy with a gun can stop or stall a bad guy with a gun and that gun control advocates don’t care about the real world, facts, or anything else that goes against their ideology. A rational discussion is rarely, if ever, possible…

  11. I’m just glad here on the gulf coast of Florida more Midwesterners are moving down. I like the Midwest people. I hope they continue to out number the NYers moving down.

    • If Florida would go constitutional on this so no permit is needed for open carry I might consider moving there. My doctors insist I need more sunshine, and I already speak Spanish with a Cuban accent.

      • “If Florida would go constitutional on this so no permit is needed for open carry I might consider moving there. ”

        Baby steps. We’re slowly getting there. As Mr Woodcock says, we have a whole lot of carpetbaggers and their sheeple mentality to overcome.

  12. “Dania Beach Democratic Rep. Evan Jenne — whose district includes the Fort Lauderdale airport and whose father, Ken, is a former Broward County sheriff…”

    The Herald apparently forgot that Ken Jenne is a former sheriff because he resigned while facing corruption charges. He was eventually convicted and served prison time. While he may have been a respected LEO at one time, invoking the name of a prohibited person to give weight to the opinions of someone against lawful firearms possession and use probably isn’t a good idea.

    Then again, the Herald hasn’t been much for insight and objectivity since Dave Barry retired. The Sun Sentinel is much worse.

  13. FL is a interesting state and the demographics are very different depending on where you live. North FL has more in common with GA and AL from a culture standpoint to a degree and is solidly pro 2A. Once you move to Cenral FL it changes again with increasing numbers of transplants from other states. Miami and S FL are basically another country and nowhere I would want to live (no offense to my S FL brethren!!!). These extreme differences and the influx of libtards from the Notheast is why 1) FL Has quickly moved from red, to purple….now almost blue 2) because of #1 pro 2A legislation will continue to struggle. FL is experiencing the same demographic change that CO is seeing with the fruits and nuts from CA. Not good in this guy’s opinion.

    I love my home state but unfortunately I don’t see it getting better in FL for POTG. GA is much better, even with state income taxes that FL does not have.

  14. The upcoming Constitutional Revision Commission is our best option for getting rid of bans on open carry and gun free zones in Florida. The only involvement the legislature has is nominations (I asked Rick Scott to nominate my former state legislator that I have in writing from he’d repeal the NFA and GCA if elected. Unfortunately he lost) and Democrats never show up at midterms.

  15. Looking forward to Florida’s SB 140 being passed WITHOUT being watered down by any “compromise” amendments.

    If you’re going to stand for Constitutional Rights, then do it honestly!

    The bill should also be strengthened to include K-12 schools for licensed carriers. Why only protect college students? Don’t younger students also deserve to be protected?

    http://PursuitOfPatriotism.Blogspot.com

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