Passed out of committee. Robb notes that the level of disinformation being presented by opponents was disturbing. Politicians are usually only concerned with what’s going to help get them elected, and they’ve learned over the years that passing bills like this is a way to please one of the larger single-issue constituencies out there, with very little in the way of downside. NRA has been pushing this bill using the justification “to prevent license holders from being charged with the crime of violating the ‘Open Carry’ law because a concealed firearm accidentally or inadvertently became visible.” Given that OC gives some gun owners the willies, I think this is the right tactic in trying to push this through.
11 thoughts on “Open Carry in Florida on the Move”
HB 517 also sailed through the House yesterday (the sister bill to 234).
From what I’ve been able to discern, the House isn’t an issue. Should pass there with flying colors. The senate could be close though.
And yes, it’s being pushed as protection against ‘accidental exposure’, but there’s no way to have that without OC, not in a way that wouldn’t have lawsuits upon lawsuits claiming all exposure was accidental.
Legalizing full open carry does remove the problem of criminalizing inadvertent exposure.
However, I question Robb’s claim that it is the only way. One possibility is a Texas-style CCW definition. The only mode of handgun carry that is unlawful for a Texas CHL holder is the “intentional failure to conceal the handgun.” Tex. Penal Code 46.035(a). Thus, accidental or inadvertent failure to conceal is not a crime.
We don’t have a law like that in my state. At first look, it seems like a useful protection. If a shirt creeps up and the gun peeks out, it would be very hard to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the exposure was intentional. Hard even to get probable cause.
Robb, does FL have a provision like that now? If not, are you are aware of reports from Texas of CHLers getting hassled for accidental exposure? (I don’t know the facts myself.) Texas is a big potential counterexample to your claim.
(I just checked Westlaw. The only reported Texas case law on this provision is two cases upholding convictions for what look like clear examples of unjustified brandishing — i.e., the CHL holder actually drew the gun; or had it in hand, partially exposed; during confrontations in which the evidence indicated that the CHL was the initial aggressor.)
I should add that I’m genuinely curious here. I am pro-OC; I hope you get that bill passed in FL. But to the extent that “protection for CCWers” is relied on as an important pro-OC policy argument — which in my experience it is — I’d like to hear more about why alternative approaches like Texas’s are inadequate.
Nope, in Florida just seeing the pistol or printing is a crime, one I have been lucky to avoid being charged with.
I guess I didn’t word my response properly. To me, the only solution is full OC. There are plenty of ways to put in ‘judgment calls’ into the laws so that a plethora of cops, lawyers, and he/she said can eventually still get you arrested regardless.
By clearly saying “You may openly display a weapon”, there is no judgment call on anyone. To me this is the clearest signal possible.
Personally, I’d prefer there be no law at all regarding carry. None. The whole concept of “It’s only legal if we say it is” bothers me. But, that’s the system we have right now, not the one I want, so I have to work within that framework, as distasteful as it is.
Huh… looks like I boned the anchor tag there, sorry Sebastian.
Dammit, I can’t seem to get anything right today.
Legal OC is really the only sure protection. Otherwise you can still end up in court arguing over your intent. If I took off my coat and forgot I was carrying, what was my intent?
Not sure why anyone is afraid of open carry. Other states have had it a long time and the “Wild West” hasn’t happened. It’s not like open carry also allows “brandishing” or something.
Markie Marxist sez: “There’ll be blood in the streets from people walking around with unholstered batzookas! There, I’ve done my daily dose of anti-gun rights hysteria for the day. It’s a nuisance to have put out disinformation, but it’s a necessary part of our anti-gun rights propaganda strategy. It only works on ignorant people, but you’d be suprised how many ignorant people there are out there. So we keep doing it because it works, if only somewhat.”
I’ve been out of the loop on this – does Florida, of all States, not allow general open carry?
Arnie, that is correct. We are shall issue for concealed permits, have state preemption (although there are problems with it that are being addressed in HB 45), and you can carry into restaurants that serve alcohol and *gasp* even can have a drink if you so desire.
But Open Carry? Verboten unless you are hunting, camping, or fishing.
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