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By Brandon via

“A person licensed to carry a concealed firearm or weapon pursuant to this chapter may openly carry such firearm or weapon,” reads an amended lines recently submitted in a bill to the Florida House of Representatives. If Republican House member Matt Gaetz has his way, Florida concealed carriers may just be the first class of citizens allowed to openly carry firearms — an issue oft debated within the Sunshine State but not clearly illustrated in law . . .

According to WFTV, Gaetz also added a five page addendum which would serve as a warning to members of the judiciary branch that the issue of gun rights in Florida is not something to be tread upon.

“The judiciary shall employ strict scrutiny in reviewing any statute that implicates the right to bear arms…subject only to exceptionally and narrowly tailored restrictions,” reads an excerpt released through WFTV.

While Gaetz is in the House, his father sits in the Florida Senate and signed on as a co-sponsor of the bill.  It’s certainly a bold move to recognize that legally-armed individuals provide an added service to the community by being armed.  If criminals are the only ones allowed to walk around brandishing firearms — that sends the wrong message to Floridians.

This bill still has a long way to go before it reaches the governor’s desk and it is expected to be vigorously debated on both the floors of the House and Senate.  In the end, the language may change drastically between submittal and enactment but it all serves (hopefully) to expand the rights of concealed carriers in Florida.

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  1. We can only hope and pray that. Comes around here in Florida For no other reason but just to expand the rights that are guaranteed to us under the Constitution.

      • They won’t. Florida generally prohibits the unconcealed carry of rifles and shotguns. They are treated the same as handguns and other weapons under the Firearms Act.

        • You can carry longarms openly during and while going to and from hunting or fishing here in Florida.

          Rather than carrying fishing tackle, I’d advise hog-hunting — legally they are vermin and its always open season … and they are in every county in the state. Dangerous prey, wild pigs … tasty, too…

      • Let’s hope the Nervous Nellies don’t spend an entire legislative session whining, crying, clutching their pearls, clenching their buttocks, declaiming their little hearts out and decrying the EFFECTIVE efforts of 2A activist others who are actually out there in the battle.

        At least one Nervous Nellie is already off to a shaky start.

      • Chipotle Commandos are the only reason Oc has happened, anywhere…. But biting the hand that feeds you is pretty common. Hippies burn the flag all the time. Count yourself among them.

      • That any POTG still believe this MDA propaganda about what happened at Chipotle is simply inexcusable. It’s the fault of either ignorance or stupidity, neither of which helps our cause.

        • “…about what happened at Chipotle…”

          I don’t have to believe anyone. I saw the photo that sparked it all, that wasn’t made up, because we know the guys’ names that were in it. There’s no arguing that they couldn’t have been much worse ambassadors for our cause without actually pulling the trigger.

        • You know the picture to which I’m referring. Two guys, one of looking particularly slovenly, as I recall, with their rifles slung in front of them. One of them basically had it hanging on a lanyard from his neck like it was a name badge at a corporate team-building exercise, and the other had it better slung, but was holding it at low ready as if he was about to snap it to his shoulder and spring into action. The latter’s finger was either on or in the immediate vicinity of the trigger.

          As someone who knows something about guns, I wouldn’t consider them a threat of anything except a negligent discharge or a fashion emergency, but it was not a look that was destined to win friends and influence people, at least not the kind of influence you’re hoping for. To give those two yahoos any credit for any advances that have been made on the open carry front is to do a great disservice to those who actually have made inroads.

          If you’re trying to change minds, perception is reality, and the perception is that these two nincompoops are not “squared away,” and thus make the hoi polloi a bit nervous.

        • Hey, I like that first line. Sounds like something I would and have said.

          Honestly, I didn’t know that the two guys in the photo were part of the same group from the “staged” photo that MDA had been using. But that doesn’t negate my point. From the article, I give you: The picture illustrates that people in the open carry movement have to be diligent in the images that they present to the public, because the images may be used to foster a narrative completely at odds with what actually happened.

          I have no issues with the “staged” photo. It’s a normal looking photo of a group of people posing for a group photo. The fact that MDA may have requested it and then used it doesn’t change that. For that matter, the photo at the end of that post is the same thing. It’s a group photo, and one guy happens to have a rifle.

          The photo of the two guys is a whole ‘nother animal, and they should never have let it be taken. A photo of the same two guys, sitting at a table or booth eating with their rifles nearby would have (should have) drawn no raised eyebrows. In all the examples I’ve given, the people are the subject of the photos, the guns are ancillary. It that one very famous photo, in my opinion, the guns are the focus. I’ve said it before, and I’ll repeat it. You want to go to open carry rallies, fine. Sling your rifle. My beef all along has been the haphazard nature in which some people practice their open carry. If he’s not walking a guard post, he’s got no business walking around carrying at low ready. If the gun bangs into everything because you don’t have it slung properly, square your shit up and sling it right.

          So I go back to my original point. I’m not believing what someone else told me, I’m using my own eyes and forming my own opinions. That particular picture did more harm than good in the grand scheme of things. It promotes a more visceral negative reaction than either of the other two photos at your link. It was an error in judgement, a misstep. It should not have been taken.

        • Thank you Chip; I found this Gun Watch article very persuasive – even inspiring!

          My thinking about OC has evolved from being somewhat skeptical -> toward being quite supportive. I want to mention this to clarify where I’m coming from with the rest of my comments.

          That I am persuaded (by the apparent validity in the Gun Watch article) means nothing. What really matters is whether it MIGHT BE TRUE! I.e., that the Anti’s efforts to complain about OC are backfiring. Could this be true? If so, then how do we exploit this possible truth to our best advantage?

          We need some input from people with real credibility in sociology and media to weigh-in here. What you or I think doesn’t matter. What would be really valuable is to get some credible guidance. “. . . when people who are inside the gun culture buy into the false narrative promoted by the MDA . . .” We ought to recall the wisdom in the quip: “We are our own worst enemies”. It is ENTIRELY POSSIBLE that the only people we really need to convince are PotG who denounce OC!

          (Think about how pathetic our community would be if PotG who are too conservative to advocate for our cause were our greatest obstacle to pursuing our just cause. Recall the history of nay-sayers among blacks who cautioned against protesting segregation.)

          Before reading the Gun Watch article I had denounced the 2 infamous Chipotle guys who were sloppily dressed and created a bad image for the PotG. I was shocked to find that I’m now wondering whether these two guys ought to be awarded the Legion of Merit with a kiss on both cheeks!

          Suppose the following hypothetical. We assemble a cadre of PotG to do an OC event at Chipotles. We recruit a dozen doctors in white coats, lawyers in suits with power-ties, moms with babies, all readily identifiable pillars of the community with their AR-15s and AK-47s. Now, we pick-out a couple of these respectable people (the local Dr. Ben Carsons of their community) and dress them up from the wardrobes of these two Legion-of-Honor medal winners.

          We make sure our press release gets to the Moms who show up with their camera men. What image do they take away? The two sloppily-dressed pillars of the community.

          After the images appear on the nightly news we invite the news media to come and interview Dr. Joseph Q Schmo waring his white coat in his clinic. Dr. Schmo explains that he is a 2A supporter. He just returned from his vacation in Hawaii and rushed to attend the Chipotle demonstration. That is why he was dressed the way he was dressed. Then, we give the reporters OUR video showing the rest of the crowd in suits and ties, mothers with babies, etc.

          My hypothetical is quite contrived for purposes of illustration. As a practical matter, we would have to tone it down to make it seem less like an “ambush” on the Moms. Moreover, we could only get away with doing this once so overtly.

          I have previously written that our OC demonstrations need to be executed carefully with a combination of respectability + flamboyance. Respectability won’t get us any TV cameras – the media won’t cooperate with our agenda. We have to feed them some of the red-meat that will get them to come and give our events publicity. We have to put some chum in the water to attract the sharks.

          Our OC demonstration needs to include a couple of people dressed-up in some sort of costume. A clown costume would be counter-productive. How about an Indian warrior and a 18th century cavalry soldier to bring to mind how the Federal government waged war against the native Americans. How about the Yazidi 14 year old girl with her AK-47 and another guy in an ISIS costume? (We need lots of better and different ideas to avoid repetition that would give the media an excuse not to show our images.)

          I am absolutely convinced that Americans will – in the main – consider just about anything when staged as a political demonstration – especially one wrapped in the “flag” of a claim to civil rights. They don’t need to agree that the claim of a civil right is legitimate – merely accept that the claim is made plausibly. Recall the demonstrations against segregation, for abortion – against abortion, for gay rights.

          The OFWGs among us should remember images of thousands of marching black people – although dressed in white shirts/blouses and dress trousers/skirts – men with ties – women with hats. How scary must these images have struck Southerners. Remember the pro-abortion demonstrators with their coat hangers? How about the anti-abortion demonstrators with their photographs of fetuses? How about the gay rights parades?

          Are we prepared to believe that adverse public reaction to such optics undermined these previous civil-rights efforts? Could be that images of Sheriffs with their dogs and fire-hoses did more than Dr. King could have ever accomplished alone. Did the coat-hangers trigger a back-lash that stopped Roe v. Wade? Did the images of fetuses bring Pro-Life to a standstill? Did the rainbow boas and boxers cause the gay rights movement to implode. (I’m taking no position on the merits of any of these movements. I’m merely pointing out that even scary, distasteful, objectionable optics did NOT result in counter-productive backlash.)

          Are Gunzzzzzzzz really different? Remember, we are still in America. This isn’t Australia or the UK. There isn’t a single American who can recall ever seeing a uniformed police-officer without his gun! Everybody goes about his business in a perfectly normal manner when a guy gets out of his Brinks truck waring a gun – and no one harbors the delusion that the Brinks driver is a cop. Everybody is perfectly well-aware of the fact that the 2A of the Constitution guarantees the right of citizens to keep and bear arms. There are LOTS of folks who do NOT LIKE the 2A; but there is NO ONE who argues that it does NOT EXIST.

          Where Americans are DIVIDED is on the DETAILS of: who is excluded from the class “the People”; the definition of protected “arms”; and the latitude (if any) of place-and-time restrictions on keeping or bearing. We are UNITED in believing that we have a right of free-speech to DEBATE these details.

          Gunzzzzzz really ARE different. Ours is the ONLY civil-rights cause fighting for an ENUMERATED right. Think about that.

          The black people had to fight for de-segregation against a backdrop of Plessy v. Ferguson. They only got support from SCUTUS in Brown v Board of Education where that decision only addressed PUBLIC schools, not Woolworth’s lunch counters. The Pro-abortion advocates had to fight State laws and religious conviction that feticide was difficult to distinguish from infanticide and the latter was clearly murder. The Pro-Lifers have to fight SCOTUS, Congress and a majority of legislators. The gay-marriage advocates have to fight SCOTUS with very little support from the 14A.

          And, what do we have? “. . . shall NOT be infringed.” The legislative history behind the 14A clearly stating a principle purpose was to guarantee illiterate freedmen that 2A right. Heller. McDonald. Shall-Issue marriage certificates for interracial couples and gays.

          Is there anyone in America who is really convinced that we don’t have a legitimate claim to a Constitutional right? Is there anyone in America who is really convinced that we don’t have a right to demonstrate in advocating for our right? Even if we supposed a super-majority of voters were against our cause – these same opponents would hold a deeply-seated conviction in support of our free-speach right to demonstrate.

          Bear clearly in mind that no one engaging in an OC exercise has been convicted of a serious crime. Perhaps “disorderly conduct” but not a weapons violation. The most serious charge being placed against OC demonstrators is “poor taste”.

          Is our fear of coming out-of-the-closet rational in light of the above argument?

  2. Tersely debated?
    I wish.
    The battle of words is going to be anything other than short and concise.

    I still can’t figure out how OC ever became an issue of contention in gun friendly states like Texas and Florida, so I find the whole thing mind-boggling. Here in Michigan we were one of the pioneers of handgun ownership by permission slip from the cops and universal handgun registration with felony grade penalties for unlicensed pistols (even BP pistols must be registered and need gov’t permission to transfer), but we never had any wide spectrum curbs on the open carry outside of a vehicle of ‘properly registered’ handguns.

    • I still can’t figure out how OC ever became an issue of contention in . . . Florida

      Janet Reno lobbied for and won the ban on OC. She was helped by the usual gang of Democrats, a few sheriffs and other assorted lowlifes. Leading the pro-2A forces was Marion Hammer, who later became the first female President of the NRA.

  3. I don’t understand. Is the direction to the Judiciary to use strict scrutiny a mere bill to be enacted as a statute? Or, is it a proposed amendment to Florida’s constitution? This is not at all clear from the OP.

    How could the Florida legislature issue dictates to the Florida judiciary? Where are these “narrowly tailored restrictions” to be written? In Florida statues? Or, Florida case law?

    I encourage my fellow PotG to take-note: incrementally, we are making progress in the fight to raise the 2A to the status of a respectable civil right. As impatient as we all are, I think it’s important for us to coalesce around every effort that – if successful – would mark an increment of progress no matter how inconsequential it might be.

    Think of the problem we conservatives and libertarians face. On the one hand, we want it ALL and we want INSTANT gratification! Suppose that were possible in a different kind-of-America than the one we inherited from our parents/grandparents/etc. Would this be a good thing? If it were so than the Progressives, or fascists or communists (or theocrats, etc.) might be equally capable of achieving ALL THEIR objectives INSTANTANEOUSLY.

    Perhaps we are fortunate that INSTANT and COMPLETE gratification are not available to us; nor are they available to our opponents.

    Our parents and grandparents were asleep at the switch as gun-control swept the country during the first 3/4 of the 20th century. If we are diligent in making our case to our fellow voters consistently and persistently we may succeed in preserving the RKBA for another couple of generations.

    • The “strict scrutiny” and “narrowly tailored” language is from an addendum to a proposed bill. Nothing to do with the state constitution. The bill, if it becomes law, is the rule, and the addendum portion is to provide more specific direction to the judiciary as to the legislators’ intent, should it be necessary for the judiciary to provide interpretation of that law.

    • My thoughts exactly. Begging for instant gratification is not how things will ever work in the US even if it in theory should when it comes to civil rights. We need to be a united front, not a scattered group that can’t plan an effective campaign.

  4. We would have had OC 5 years ago. But Marion Hammer (past president of the NRA) with Unified Sportsmen of Florida (State level NRA) torpedoed it. The guys at Florida Carry have been great at working towards getting our rights restored.

    • Could you recite the history of her decision not to push for OC at the time? In particular:
      – did she believe that OC was objectionable for some reason?
      – did she believe that OC would be a “bridge too far” and would delay or jeopardize passage of CC?

      The reason for my interest is to find support or a refutation of the tactic of incrementalism.

      From my understanding of the history of Shall-Issue laws, Florida was one of the early adaptors and popularizers of a Right-to-Carry law. Florida was also very open to issuing CWPs to non-residents which opened a lot of reciprocity opportunity that would otherwise have grown much more slowly.

      If the important contribution of Florida’s Shall-Issue law would (probably) have been lost – or long delayed – then Hammer made a wise tactical decision. Her efforts moved the ball a long way down the field notwithstanding that it was merely Shall-Issue for CC only (not Constitutional Carry both Open and Concealed).

      Conversely, if Hammer could have certainly and easily gotten OC along with CC through in the same legislative session than she deserves criticism. We could complain that she was not bold enough; she should have taken as big a bite of the apple as she could successfully get out of the Florida legislature and get signed by the Governor at that time.

      • I remember when this went down 5 years ago, well after Florida had CC. There were 2 bills at the time. One for campus carry and one for open carry. Both were set to pass but at the last minute she withdrew her support for the bills and they failed. It all played out in nearly really time on floridashootersnetwork dot com. She went on a tear against several of us posters and we were able to refute her allegations. We never got the answer as for why the self destruct, just that it was

        • Thanks for the update.

          So, I take it that CC was a successful incremental approach. You didn’t explain why Hammer didn’t go for both OC and CC on the first round and why she didn’t go for Constitutional Carry. Nevertheless, I infer that it was an incrementalist approach.

          You have made it clear that OC looked like it would-have passed but that Hammer grabbed defeat from the jaws of presumed victory for no reason she was willing to explain. Absent an explanation, I think we are entitled to complain (while at the same time being grateful for her dedication to getting CC passed.)

          Perhaps she had a reason that was sound and rational. We might imagine some; but we just don’t know. And, I think we are entitled to an explanation. Gun users are a constituency that is entitled to a transparent process of debate. I’m willing to concede that occasionally some strategy decisions might best be made without collaboration. E.g., why our leaders chose some arguments in advancing Heller and McDonald at the expense of other arguments might have had to be kept private. (Purely an imagined scenario for illustrative purposes.) Most decisions would better be subjected to public debate.

        • So one person, who holds no vote in the legislature or a pen to veto anything, “torpedoed” OC in Flori-duh?

          Way to fight for your rights. You weren’t ready.

  5. Good luck Florida. I see the occasional open carrier in nearby Indiana. Is crime lower than here in Illinois?Yep. No bloodbaths, no shootouts in the street, no nothing…

  6. Florida ore South Carolina to end of 2016 beginning 2017 but only licensed !!
    I hope all, lets see how are the first from them.

  7. As Ive always understoodf it.
    And I might be wrong.
    Back in 87 Hammer amd Reno who was the DA in Dade County.
    Fought over the shall issue bit.
    Hammer for it Reno of course against it.
    OC was the bastard child.
    Hammer gave in Reno gave it. It got buried and Shall Issue went through,
    We have had OC when hunting and fishing, but thats it.
    So while Im hopping this is it this time.
    Im not holding my breathe,

    • It just occurs to me:

      – Prohibited OC with permissible CC is just like “Don’t-Ask; Don’t-Tell”.

      Let me see if I can frame-out this argument. A citizen’s sexual orientation is a deeply personal Constitutionally protected right under the penumbras and emanations of the right-to-privacy. Good; got that.

      For a time our all-knowing – all-seeing elite Governmental officials decided that the efficacy of national defense would be threatened if soldiers or sailers realized that the guy in the next bunk / fox-hole was gay. So, in their righteous – may I say Devine – wisdom, they decided that gays had a Constitutionally-protected RIGHT to serve in the military in the service of national defense; PROVIDED, however, that they didn’t tell anyone and their officers refrained from questioning their sexual orientation. OK, Got IT! We have a Constitutionally-protected right subject to a prior restraint on self-expression. The RIGHTS of Citizenship CAN be DENIED for those subject to military law. Got IT!! This makes sense to me!!!

      In the fullness of time, our society has developed. Truman imposed de-segregation of the races in military units. Clinton ended discrimination based on sexual orientation in the military. And, FINALLY – Praise be to Allah the Merciful – gays can now serve openly in the military services. The last remaining – few – homophobes are just going to have to STUFF-IT – stiff upper lip and all that – in the interest of personal expression of who each of us is.

      OK, things are going really well here in the interest of personal expression and the confidence of our elite leaders in their ability to lead the military.

      Now, back to the 2A. A respectable school of 2A Constitutionality is that:
      – OC is the Right protected by the R-BA;
      – CC is a privilege subject to regulation by each State.

      Come now to FL, SC, IL, et al. These States acknowledge the Right-to-Bear arms. Just God Forbid that anyone exercising the right to bear arms do so OPENLY! To express openly that:

      “I am armed; I am prepared to defend my life and those of my loved ones! This is who I am. Assault me at your own peril!”

      OMG, such a citizen would frighten the horses, er, I mean the hoplophobes.

      The horses and hoplophobes will begrudgingly tolerate the exercise of a fundamental Constitutionally-guaranteed right (i.e., to bear arms). They promise not to ask; just don’t publicly express your sentiments about self-defense.

      Hmmmm. I wonder what SCOTUS would say about some conservative State’s legislature – say Kansas – regulating expression of sexual orientation in public? How about no French kissing in public by members of the same sex? Or, any kissing on the lips by members of the same sex? Women are allowed a cheek-kiss; but no men (exception made if you are 1st or 2’nd generation French).

      We must acknowledge that Kansans are NOT of really hearty stock. They have deeply held religious beliefs that must be respected. (Sort of like pacifists.) Kansans FEELINGS (music please, ‘Nothing more than Feelings!; Feelings of heterosexual relations! . . . ) would be deeply upset. Kansas’s legislature can’t tolerate any upset to their constituents’ feelings of disruption to sensibilities of morality and proper public order.

      Perhaps SCOTUS would not be convinced. SCOTUS shoved Brown vs. Board of Education down the throats of the Southern white citizenry. Congress shoved de-segregation of places of public accommodation down the throats of the Southern white citizenry.

      But Gunzzzzzz are different. An OC gun is a really serious threat to FEELINGS of public security as distinguished from any implication of CC to ACTAL public security. We do NOT want to see your butt; nor your barrel; nor your holster.

      Discrimination on the basis of race; forbidden. Discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation; forbidden. Discrimination on the basis of self-expression of one’s capacity and intention to defend ones’ self? It’s for the horses and hoplophobes!

      • My understanding was that if states offered either/or OC/CC, they were not required to offer both. However, I cannot recall a citation, and thus please forgive me if I am wrong.

  8. While OC has not been as high on the list of priorities for the Hammer as I think it should she in no way torpedoed prior OC attempts despite some ignorant comments above. Join Florida Carry now.

    • They were not ignorant statements.i was there watching it happen. I was there watching the exchanges between “moe” on FSN and Marion Hammer. She flat out torpedoed it when it was just about ready to pass.

      • Incorrect. Unless by “torpedo” you mean try and get the “brief” exposure language through once it was obvious the votes weren’t there for licensed OC in the senate. Please stop spreading misinformation. I discussed this at length with my pro OC senator and Ms Hammer.

        • Witnesses to the same event may take-away different interpretations of the event. I’m just fine with the possibility that opinion was divided on whether a bill had a chance of passing both chambers and getting signed by the executive.

          Where such differences of opinion really MATTER is when the bill is pursuing multiple goals. For illustration, let’s suppose OC + Campus Carry. If the outcome looks close on the combined objectives then somebody has to call the shot to try to secure a win on Campus Carry by dropping OC. Let’s suppose the win is ACHIEVED. Fine, then we can all sit-around and Monday-morning-quarterback the decision to drop OC. MAYBE we could have won OC too!

          The question we ought to ask ourselves is whether it makes any sense to say we lost a play when we didn’t try. If we think the odds are against us then put one or two or three bills into play KNOWING that we may lose in this legislative session. Every year we come back and put those same bills back on the table again and again until we win; or, realize that the decade is not yet ripe for these objectives.

          It seems to me that OC in TX passed because the advocates had the tenacity to put the issue before the legislature session after session until the politicians decided that it no longer paid to continue blocking it.

          Where is the flaw here? If there is enough support to get a bill out-of-committee why not push for a vote even if we loose repeatedly?

  9. Its been my understanding that ccw came about as a compromise to open carry. Open carry was legal, concealed not. When the ccw law was passed they made open carry, except for a few exceptions, illegal. If you want to exercise your 2nd amendment rights here you need permission and pay a tax.

  10. Please, please make this happen! I’m in Florida and have no intention of practicing open carry out in the general public. In certain circumstances (none that I can think of offhand), I’d like the OPTION. But, I see passage simply and primarily as furthering recognition of the true intent and meaning of the 2nd Amendment.

  11. Tried it in 2013. The Senate is full of RINOs that shot it down. I have no reason to believe it will be any different this time, all the same RINOs are still there…

  12. Marion Hammer has done more to advance the Second Amendment in Florida and the United States than any 10 of you keyboard commandos that criticize her.

  13. To all those in Florida, article 6 paragraph two “the Constitution shall be the supreme law of the land”. Can you 2nd Amendment? Can you say SELF defense? Can you say the RIGHT to self defense? No double standards put the DC politicians on Obamacare and SS.Thanks for your support and vote.Pass the word.

  14. I didn’t know….”criminals are the only ones allowed to walk around brandishing firearms” in Florida. I thought everyone gets to be a bully here.


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