Florida is one of five states with a ban on open carrying, but this could soon change following the decision from a judge in the 4th District Court of Appeal.
In February of 2012, Dale Lee Norman of Fort Pierce, Florida was walking down a busy street when his firearm, which he thought was concealed, became accidentally (but completely) exposed. Because of this mistake, he was convicted of open carry of a firearm by the St. Lucie County Court. His attorney, who is with the independent group Florida Carry, spoke out on his defendant’s behalf stating,
“The issue is when the Second Amendment says a right to bear arms, what does that mean? Every court that’s looked at the issue has said that the concealed carry of arms is a privilege not a right.”
Many argue that opening carrying is a right, or at least it should be legally. Bob Harvey is a local NRA instructor. He says,
“We have certain rights because we live in America and those rights aren’t being honored right now here in Florida.”
“When you have to have a license or a permit to carry, is it really a right or a permission slip? That’s what this case is all about.”
However, not everyone is in agreement about this legal change. Artie Williams’ nephew was only 27 years old when he was shot and killed. Williams co-created the Mothers Against Murderers Association, a group that is against open carry. Williams says,
“When it comes to a point where it’s visible, that’s going to cause a problem….I think it gives the carrier an intimidation factor.”
There are some very limited exceptions to the open carry ban in Florida. When one is fishing, hunting, or camping, open carry is permitted. As of now, there is no exact timeline of when a decision in the ruling will be made.