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Florida’s had concealed carry for almost a quarter century. A less well-known part of the law states that gun owners can open carry while hunting, fishing or camping. An even less well-known clause states that they can open carry while “going to or returning from a fishing, camping or lawful hunting expedition.” As a result, a group of Sunshine State open carry advocates will be strapping on their heaters this morning, grabbing their tackle boxes and marching through Venice

The activists in Venice say they want to educate uninformed gun owners about their Second Amendment rights in Florida, one of only seven U.S. states to ban “open carry” of weapons. A bill to repeal that ban stalled in the last legislative session, but the founder of the Southwest Chapter of the Armed Citizen League says current regulations provide all the cover they need.

“I suppose most people will fish for about 15 minutes and leave,” said Von Bender (above), 50, an Army veteran who also runs the Young Americans Marksmanship and Safety Association, as well as the Suncoast Gun Club for vintage-weapon shooters. “If we do this right, nobody should even know we’re there. We’ll only be carrying sidearms and they’ll be holstered. We intend to pass without notice.”

Which would seem to conflict with the goal of educating Floridians. The group plans more carry/fishing marches around the state.

“It’s like watching a scary movie. By the third or fourth time you see it, it’s not as scary. And fortunately, the Venice Police Department is very knowledgeable about this law now.”


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  1. What’s wrong with Floridians that they allow their rights to trampled on by the state? Open carry is even more a right than concealed carry and it’s banned even with a permit? Disgusting.

  2. I love some of the entirely predictable, vaguely ominous remarks made by the local LEO…

    “Although McNulty describes today’s action as “definitely political,” Traub says gun owners need to be smart and not push it too far.”

    Define “smart”. What’s “too far”? What happens if someone “pushes it”?

    “… he wouldn’t recommend walking into a convenience store with a gun while en route to a campsite.”

    Is it legal or not? Seems to me that would be the deciding factor on where someone walks.

    “I don’t think we really want to replace the law with anything else,” he added. “That could stir up an ant’s nest we really don’t want to stir up.”

    Who’s “we”? Oh, that’s right. It’s you sheriff.

  3. The Florida CCW is not only for guns, it also allow you to carry stun guns and clubs as long as there concealed. I hope these people push really hard and force Florida to allow open carry.

  4. Banning open carry in exchange for concealed carry was forced on Floridians by the Waco killer bitch queen, Janet Reno, when she was Florida’s AG. I guess she didn’t want anyone killing children except for herself.

    • Ok, you can stop holding back now…. Just tell us how you really feel….. hahaha

  5. How many “Old West”style shootouts were there? How much “blood [was] in the streets?”

  6. I suppose most people will fish for about 15 minutes and leave

    WTF ??

    If I had to WALK any considerable distance to a fishing hole, I’m going to be there a while. Protest or not, fishing’s serious business!

      • yeah, you know what that 15 minute crack means? It means these lawful gun owners are so dishonest that they make a mockery of the law. They’re more interested in the open-carry part of the deal than the fishing part.

        • “They’re more interested in the open-carry part of the deal than the fishing part.”

          You’re correct, and it fires me up.

        • Mike,

          Legally all they have to do is drop their line in the water. Honesty is flat out stating their purpose, which they have done. Dishonesty involves giving everyone a different answer about the same issue (and their endgame) like some bloggers and trolls tend to do.

          You may not like the open carry march, but it’s legal, honest, and excuse the pun…open.

  7. Advice to open carry advocates who are participating: Make DARN SURE you have a Florida fishing license with you, because you are likely to run into an anti-civilian-self-defense Florida Fish Cop who will cite you for fishing without a license, then turn you over to a local LEO who will arrest you for carrying openly while engaged in illegal activity. “You aren’t paranoid if they really are out to get you”, and I have a feeling that some of Venice’s finest will be out to get these folks.

  8. While I consider myself to be fairly hard-core on the issue of the 2AD, I have to admit I’m not pro-open carry in urbanized areas. Its Ok if you are in Alaska, out in the woods or fishing or whatever, but I really don’t think its necessary to be walking through a Walmart with six-shooters strapped on your side as if you are Wyatt Earp. I think the guys that want to do it are simply being aggitators – either that or they don’t get laid enough. I went to Israel about 25 years ago (to attend their military’s Paratrooper Convention) and I saw a lot of people open carrying Uzis, MAT 49s, and Galils, etc. While I understand their situation, I can honestly say I would not want that for America.

    • Joe, where in The Second Amendment does it say anything about necessity? It matters not what you think is necessary, it only matters what my rights are. And according to The Constitution I have the right to keep and BEAR arms, it says nothing about how I may bear those arms, whether concealed or openly. It’s people like you that claim to be pro-Second Amendment, but then acquiesce to all kinds of infringements, because you don’t think something is necessary, or it doesn’t effect you that are most of the problem. If everybody that claimed to be pro-Second Amendment but; would actually stand firm against any, and all infringement it would have never gotten this far.

  9. “I would not want that for America.”

    Joe, it doesn’t matter what you or I or Janet Reno or Wayne LaPierre or anybody else wants. What matters is the personal freedom for each man or woman to decide, to choose and to act according to their own lights. Having read all your posts to this site, I think you agree.

    I’m a strong supporter of open carry because it’s important (i) to normalize the sight of firearms, not just the ones being carried by local police, rent-a-cops and American Gestapo, (ii) to teach people that their fear of guns has been carefully nurtured by their governments in order to take away their freedom, (iii) to eliminate the government’s ability to inflict harsh punishment for inadvertent exposure (“flashing”) of a lawfully-carried concealed firearm and (iv) to break the open-carry monopoly that currently instills fear and hatred of police. Finally and most importantly, it is my right. Whether or not I choose to exercise that right should be left exclusively up to me.

    • Hi Ralph: I appreciate you insight in this issue. I have given consideration to your arguments, but I must say I remain unconvinced.

      As an initial matter, you seem to unwittingly concede my point that open carry is done primarily for purposes of “agitation” (i.e. to make a political point or influence public policy) – not as a necessity of self defense.

      Second, the Second Amendment has never been interpreted to include a right to open carry. In fact, Heller makes clear that there are distinct limits to the “right to bear arms.” From this standpoint, I don’t see laws restricting open carry to be much different than laws requiring you to wear clothes in public – society has decided that they don’t want to see your gun any more than they want to see your dick. Why? It’s just not very “civilized,” for a lack of a better word.

      Third, I think you overstate things when you suggest that the “open-carry monopoly * * * currently instills fear and hatred of police.” I believe that it would only be a very small percentage of the population that fear and hate police because they open carry. People fear and hate police because police can often be unrepentant abusive assholes, but that is an entirely different causal link.

      Fourth, what evidence do you have that governments have “carefully nurtured” a fear of guns in its populous? Particularly as related to the U.S., I find that statement to be vastly overreaching. Given the vast amount of gun ownership in the US, I think the biggest fear is simply not having enough! To some extent, I will agree that a certain segment of the population does fear guns. I think our nation’s inability to control crime as caused that fear of guns (particularly gang related crime – whether it be the Al Capone types of the 1920-30s or the modern day Crips / Bloods, etc). I also believe that Hollywood has created a certain “fear” of guns, as it creates an association of guns as being related to criminal enterprise.

      As a final point, I think that increased use of open carry would have quite the opposite effect than you predict: if the general population was subjected to more widespread open carry it would likely increase their fear of guns and could have precisely the opposite effect than you predict. In this regard, you must understand that despite its enshrinement in the Bill of Rights, your “right to bear arms” is – as a practical matter – entirely dependent on the politics of the day.

      Keep in mind that Heller and McDonald were decided by the slimmest of margins, and you are only a gnat’s ass (i.e. only one democratic Supreme Court appointment) away from having those decisions overturned – thereby paving the way for legislation that could result in you losing all of your Second Amendment “rights.” I think a certain amount of discretion is in order, and walking around in public like some sort of modern day John Wayne Sherriff character is not very discreet. Those sorts of male fantasies are better played out by joining the military. Ok, guys.. on that note…. I’m going to the range. Take care, and that’s for the civil debate.

      • Now, that’s funny: I just read Heller, and come to the opposite conclusion about open carry.

      • Joe, a point by point rebuttal would be lengthy and a bit cumbersome, so I won’t try it now. But as one gun guy to another, I suggest that we “settle” this debate mano-a-mano, or at least word processor to word processor. We’ll write our point/counterpoint and submit them to RF for publication. Dueling screeds, if you will.

        Challenge made.

        • Awe shit. More non-paying work for me. Ok, fair enough. Lets do it. I can’t guarentee speedy product delivery – that it entirely dependant on my “paying” work load.

      • I think that’s correct. Moreover, I find it hard to believe that my right to self-defense ends where my front door begins.

        • Just so you understand my argument – I am not necessarily taking the position that your right to self-defense ends at your residence / place of abode. I simply disagree that you have a “right” to open carry, particularly in urbanized area. Also, just so that I can be clear on the parameters of the discussion, are you advocating an unlimited right to open carry, or do you beleive that there reasonable “time place manner” restrictions that can be placed on that right? If so, what are they? For example, does you right to open carry include all sort of weapons (AR-15s, AK 47s, etc) or is it limited to a handgun tacked away (but still visiable) in a holster? If your answer is “both,” then are you restricted in manner in which you hold the rifle as you go about your business? In other words, can you walk around the mall with a loaded AR-15 held “at the ready” (military term), or must it be slung over you shoulder (sling arms) or held in some other manner that indicates that you are no immidiate threat to others?

            • Ok, handguns it is.. Loaded or unloaded (but readily accessible)? Also, just so I am sure I understand the topic: You are arguing that the Second Amendment guarantees a “right” to open carry a handgun in public (presumably excluding “sensitive sites” as discussed in Heller, correct? To further narrow the topic, are you accepting of a government permit system for open carry as being within the acceptable scope of the 2AD?

      • Today, I concealed to my daughters shooting practice, then I Open Carried to go do some work, later Im going to CCW at a kids Birthday Party…

        I always carry. I open carry at work because its HOT and dirty. If, on my way home I need to stop at the grocery store or go to wal mart, I don’t have to hide or pretend to be something other than myself. Whether it is my choice or I was born that way doesn’t matter.
        Just because some facets of society might dislike a particular persons lifestyle doesn’t mean it should be restricted. How is society HARMED by the sight of a holstered gun?
        If two guys or (ladies) wanna walk down the street holding hands that is thier right. Better yet, if they want to get the permit for a parade, and march down the street dressed like the tropicana girl, MORE POWER TO THEM!

        You cannot normalize something by hiding it in the shadows.

      • Rebecca: Can you please cite the passages from Heller that led you to your conclusion? Keep in mind that Heller’s holding is rather narrow, and from “our” perspective, defensive in nature. Heller held that total prohibitions on handgun ownership / possession within a geo-political boundary (i.e. a city, for example) is unconstitional because the 2ad is an individual right (as opposed to a collective right – the right of the state to arm a militia.). While the Court offers up a healthy dose of dicta in order to give guidance as to the scope of the right, their discussion is just that – non-binding dicta.

        • This section:

          “Our interpretation is confirmed by analogous arms-bearing rights in state constitutions that preceded and immediately followed adoption of the Second Amendment . Four States adopted analogues to the Federal Second Amendment in the period between independence and the ratification of the Bill of Rights. Two of them—Pennsylvania and Vermont—clearly adopted individual rights unconnected to militia service. Pennsylvania’s Declaration of Rights of 1776 said: “That the people have a right to bear arms for the defence of themselves, and the state … .” §XIII, in 5 Thorpe 3082, 3083 (emphasis added). In 1777, Vermont adopted the identical provision, except for inconsequential differences in punctuation and capitalization. See Vt. Const., ch. 1, §15, in 6 id., at 3741.

          “North Carolina also codified a right to bear arms in 1776: “That the people have a right to bear arms, for the defence of the State … .” Declaration of Rights §XVII, in id., at 2787, 2788. This could plausibly be read to support only a right to bear arms in a militia—but that is a peculiar way to make the point in a constitution that elsewhere repeatedly mentions the militia explicitly. See §§14, 18, 35, in 5 id., 2789, 2791, 2793. Many colonial statutes required individual arms-bearing for public-safety reasons—such as the 1770 Georgia law that “for the security and defence of this province from internal dangers and insurrections” required those men who qualified for militia duty individually “to carry fire arms” “to places of public worship.” 19 Colonial Records of the State of Georgia 137–139 (A. Candler ed. 1911 (pt. 2)) (emphasis added). That broad public-safety understanding was the connotation given to the North Carolina right by that State’s Supreme Court in 1843. See State v. Huntly, 3 Ired. 418, 422–423.

          “The 1780 Massachusetts Constitution presented another variation on the theme: “The people have a right to keep and to bear arms for the common defence… .” Pt. First, Art. XVII, in 3 Thorpe 1888, 1892. Once again, if one gives narrow meaning to the phrase “common defence” this can be thought to limit the right to the bearing of arms in a state-organized military force. But once again the State’s highest court thought otherwise. Writing for the court in an 1825 libel case, Chief Justice Parker wrote: “The liberty of the press was to be unrestrained, but he who used it was to be responsible in cases of its abuse; like the right to keep fire arms, which does not protect him who uses them for annoyance or destruction.” Commonwealth v. Blanding, 20 Mass. 304, 313–314. The analogy makes no sense if firearms could not be used for any individual purpose at all. See also Kates, Handgun Prohibition and the Original Meaning of the Second Amendment , 82 Mich. L. Rev. 204, 244 (1983) (19th-century courts never read “common defence” to limit the use of weapons to militia service).

          “We therefore believe that the most likely reading of all four of these pre- Second Amendment state constitutional provisions is that they secured an individual right to bear arms for defensive purposes. Other States did not include rights to bear arms in their pre-1789 constitutions—although in Virginia a Second Amendment analogue was proposed (unsuccessfully) by Thomas Jefferson. (It read: “No freeman shall ever be debarred the use of arms [within his own lands or tenements].”18 1 The Papers of Thomas Jefferson 344 (J. Boyd ed. 1950)).”

          • That provision does not get you to a “right” to open carry. In that section of the opinion, the Court is looking to various state constitutional provisions to bolster the argument that the Second Amendment is an individual liberty to “bear arms” for purposes of self defense, as opposed to a mere “collective” (State) right to arm a militia. The Court is not giving any indication in this passage regarding the scope of the right to use firearms for self-defense. I realize it’s tempting to read more into the Court’s opinion, particularly since it makes practical sense that you should be able to “defend” yourself wherever and whenever the need arises. Unfortunately, the Court never really says that. I think the strongest language of Heller concerning open carry actually comes from its discussion of the Louisiana case State v. Chandler (1850). The Heller court quotes – without any apparent disapproval – to Chandler, as follows: “Likewise, in State v. Chandler, 5La. Ann. 489, 490 (1850), the Louisiana Supreme Court held that citizens had a right to carry arms openly: “This is the right guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States, and which is calculated to incite men to a manly and noble defence [sic] of themselves, if necessary, and of their country, without any tendency to secret advantages and unmanly assassinations.”

    • Is there such thing as a -1?

      Ralph, since you’ve read everything I’ve written on this site too, you know I think that’s real whacky nonsense you just wrote.

      The things you preach would leave us less free and more constrained, not by the government or the cops perhaps, but by you and your whacky friends. Luckily, you guys are in the tiny minority. Gun-rights extemists like the ones who comment here are fairly insignicicant in the overall picture. That’s why you need to promote big events like the Venice fishing march. Your fantasy of making the sight of guns normal will never spread like you’d like, and for one simple reason, it is not normal., at least not to most people.

      • Mikey, you better pray that the government doesn’t outlaw fertilizer. You’d be out of business.

  10. The concealed carry practice is just plain wrong, and the history of this country, and in Europe is very clear. If you hide a weapon, you are intending to get the upper hand, this would cost you your head in the 16th and 17th century.

    Be a man, show your weapon.

    Now it would seem some here own gun shops and like charging their fellow americans for their rights, pathetic.

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