Thursday March 27th 2014, the Florida Sheriffs Association (FSA) openly testified against Second Amendment rights to the Florida House Judiciary Committee saying, "In our opinion, there is a difference between owning a firearm and carrying one concealed on your person. Owing a firearm is a right; carrying it concealed is a privilege; and it is a privilege that is earned..."
In what can only be viewed as contempt and distrust for law-abiding gun owners, the Florida Sheriffs Association went on to say that during an emergency you are "least likely to use a firearm in a safe and responsible manner". Think about that. The Sheriffs are telling your legislature that when you are under attack by looters and rioters, you should be disarmed because you will be the irrational person in the situation.
The Sheriff's Association also told the committee that "there is plenty of time before hurricane season starts to go out and get a concealed weapons permit so you can carry on your person." This is completely false. Hurricane Season starts June 1st, only 62 days from now. Even if you already have your training certificate, your fingerprinting done, and have the $112.00 in fees ready to spend today, appointments at the regional offices are booked up to six months out and applications by mail are currently taking more than 90 days.
In other words, FSA is saying your Second Amendment right to BEAR arms can only be exercised if you have the time and money to get a license to carry a concealed handgun.
The Sheriffs go on to claim that "Given modern technology, the approach of storms can be predicted days in advance; and the last second flight scenarios are just not realistic." Anyone who has tracked approaching hurricanes knows this to be false.
A similar law to the one that we are trying to fix was struck down in North Carolina in 2012. The federal court there said:
"[T]he statutes here excessively intrude upon plaintiffs' Second Amendment rights by effectively banning them (and the public at large) from engaging in conduct that is at the very core of the Second Amendment at a time when the need for self-defense may be at its very greatest." Bateman v. Perdue, No. 5:10-CV-265-H, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 47336, (E.D.N.C. Mar. 29, 2012)
The bill that the FSA opposes, HB 209, would create an exception to the automatic ban on firearms possession in public (even with a concealed carry license) for people who are complying with a mandatory evacuation order.
This is the unconstitutional law that the FSA is trying to protect:
870.044 Automatic emergency measures.—Whenever the public official declares that a state of emergency exists, pursuant to s. 870.043, the following acts shall be prohibited during the period of said emergency throughout the jurisdiction:
(1) The sale of, or offer to sell, with or without consideration, any ammunition or gun or other firearm of any size or description.
(2) The intentional display, after the emergency is declared, by or in any store or shop of any ammunition or gun or other firearm of any size or description.
(3) The intentional possession in a public place of a firearm by any person, except a duly authorized law enforcement official or person in military service acting in the official performance of her or his duty.
In 1987 the Florida Sheriffs Association also opposed concealed carry, saying at the time that citizens should be forced to carry firearms openly so they would be able see who has guns. Once concealed carry passed, they turned around and pushed for the ban on open carry -- which was legal until 1987. In 2011 the FSA opposed a bill that would have restored the open carry of handguns.
The fact is that the Florida Sheriff's Association has opposed every right to bear arms bill that has ever been offered.
While the FSA may have some sympathy for people's the Right to Keep Arms at home, it is obvious that the group has disdain for the Right to Bear Arms for self-defense. At the same committee hearing, Assistant Adjutant General for the Florida Army National Guard Maj. General Don Tyre spoke in support of the bill that will allow law abiding Floridians to take their guns with them during a mandatory evacuation order without the need for a concealed carry license.
We call on you to contact your local Sheriff and ask if the Florida Sheriff's Association is representing their values. Is lobbying against the right to bear arms during an emergency how they are honoring the oath that your Sheriff swore to defend the constitution? Does your Sheriff really support the Right to Bear Arms?
It is time for Florida's Constitutional Sheriffs to take control of the FSA or quit supporting it with your tax dollars.
We need your help to continue the fight for your right to bear arms. Please Join Florida Carry today.
Friday, February 07, 2014
For Immediate Release:
Palm Bay FL - On Monday Florida Carry, Inc. filed a lawsuit against Eastern Florida State College seeking to protect the rights of students, faculty, and the public from the college's illegal regulations prohibiting defensive firearms and weapons stored in private vehicles. Today Eastern Florida State published a revised policy that brings them in to compliance with state defensive firearms and weapons laws. We are pleased by the college's response to the case thus far and greatly appreciate their willingness to work with Florida Carry to craft lawful firearms and weapons policies. We hope to reach a final settlement of the case soon.
In December Florida Carry won a similar case against the University of North Florida (UNF). In Florida Carry v. UNF the First District Court of Appeal ruled that "The legislature's primacy in firearms regulation derives directly from the Florida Constitution... Indeed, the legislature has reserved for itself the whole field of firearms regulation in section 790.33(1)..." No public college or university has any authority to prevent students and the public from having a functional firearm in places that are constitutionally protected or permitted under state law.
Florida law provides for strict penalties against public entities and individuals who violate the rights of gun and defensive weapon owners. Any public entity which attempts to restrict the statutory and fundamental right to keep and bear arms in Florida is subject to enforcement actions by organizations such as Florida Carry.
The first day class in 2014 is the deadline for Florida colleges and universities to comply with state firearms and weapons laws
December 23, 2013
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The first day class in 2014 is the deadline for Florida public colleges and universities to comply with state firearms and weapons laws
Recently the 1st District Court of Appeal reaffirmed, in Florida Carry, Inc. v. Univ. of N. Fla (Fla. 1st DCA 2013), that adult students have a right to keep and bear arms in their vehicles under our constitution and Florida law. This case set binding precedent statewide that Florida Carry will seek to enforce for the protection of law abiding Floridians.
Florida Carry sues the University of Florida for illegal ban on guns and other defensive weapons in cars and homes
Florida Carry sues the University of Florida for illegal ban on guns and other defensive weapons in cars and homes
Friday, January 10, 2014
For Immediate Release
Gainesville FL - Florida Carry, Inc. has today filed a lawsuit against the University Florida (UF), seeking a permanent injunction to protect the rights of students, faculty, and the public from the university's illegal and unconstitutional regulations prohibiting firearms and weapons on all university property. Since 1987 the Florida Legislature has preempted firearms law and issued state-wide licenses to carry for self-defense. In December Florida Carry won a similar case against the University of North Florida (UNF). In Florida Carry v. UNF the First District Court of Appeal ruled that "The legislature’s primacy in firearms regulation derives directly from the Florida Constitution... Indeed, the legislature has reserved for itself the whole field of firearms regulation in section 790.33(1)..." No public college or university has any authority to prevent students and the public from having a functional firearm in places that are constitutionally protected or permitted under state law.
The University of Florida has failed to comply with the court's ruling by doing nothing more than adding an "Intent" footnote to one of its illegal policies. Florida Carry Executive Director Sean Caranna reached out to UF President Bernie Machen in an attempt to avert the need for legal action. Mr. Caranna's call was returned by the university's General Counsel who refused to take our concerns about UF's illegal policies and regulations seriously and was dismissive of our plea that they work with us to craft a legal set of regulations. Florida Carry was left with no choice but to file this case.
Any public college or university which attempts to restrict the statutory and fundamental right to keep and bear arms in Florida is subject to enforcement actions by organizations such as Florida Carry. In addition to enforcing the clearly established right of students to lawfully store firearms in their personal vehicles on campus, Florida Carry seeks to protect the right to possess firearms and other defensive weapons in the home. In the landmark 2008 Heller case the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that bans on the possession of functional arms in the home are unconstitutional. Nationwide, millions of adult university faculty, students, and their families live in university owned housing. The fact that state housing facilities run by Florida Universities continue to deprive law abiding adults of their fundamental right to keep and bear arms in their homes, years after the clear decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court that such bans are unconstitutional, is unconscionable.
Read the Complaint Here
FLORIDA CARRY PRESS RELEASE
December 12, 2013
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
FLORIDA COLLEGES CANNOT REGULATE FIREARMS ON CAMPUS
Jacksonville, FL - On Tuesday, the First Florida District Court of Appeals ruled colleges and universities have no vested or delegated authority to regulate firearms on campus, and only the Legislature has that authority. This watershed decision is the first significant test of the preemption statute, §790.33 Florida Statutes, since it was amended in 2011 to allow for penalties to be imposed on state agencies in violation.
Plaintiffs Alexandria Lainez and Florida Carry, Inc. jointly brought suit against the University of North Florida, where Lainez is a student, and John Delaney, in his capacity as President of the university, alleging a violation of preemption by having a policy prohibiting lawful storage of firearms in vehicles on campus. Ms.Lainez, a student at UNF and a single mother, commutes to and from campus to attend classes through some of the more dangerous areas of Jacksonville. A concealed carry license holder, she regularly carries her firearms to protect herself and her young son. Because of UNF's policies however, Lainez could not carry her firearm during her commute to and from campus because the university prohibited her from storing her firearm in her vehicle while in class, threatening her with both academic sanctions and criminal prosecution. One of our original members, Ms. Lainez contacted Florida Carry for assistance, and Mr. Eric J. Friday, Esq. agreed to provide representation.
At the trial court, Mr. Friday contended that the prohibition was unlawful because §790.115 grants an exception to the general prohibition against firearms for those which are properly stored in vehicles on school property. UNF's attorney countered that it was entitled to a waiver to that exception reserved for school districts claiming it should be considered as such. The trial court ruled in the university's favor. Plaintiffs appealed to the 1st DCA, claiming the trial court erred in its decision.
Oral arguments were heard by a three judge panel earlier this year. But in an unusual move, the panel presented to and solicited comment from both counsels, three questions asking of the status of the university as a constitutionally created entity, and suggesting that this might in fact provide them authority to regulate firearms on equal footing with the Legislature. Apparently this inquiry caught the eye of other judges at the court, who voted to convene as a group of fifteen and decide the case en banc rather than leaving the decision to just the three panel judges.
The 75-page ruling of the en banc court comprises 22 pages of decision, and is followed by 53 pages of both concurring and dissenting opinions. Writing for the court, Judge L. Clayton Roberts first addressed the trial court's ruling that the university was entitled under the school district waiver to prohibit firearms in vehicles. Reiterating the plain language of the statute and pointing out the inherent differences between a school district as defined in statute and the public college or university run by the Board of Governors, he stated:
The dissenting judges, two of whom were on the original panel, conceded that if the case were decided purely on the statutory interpretation of FS 790.115, reversal of the trial court's decision was required. However, the dissenting judges engaged in what the majority referred to as a "tipsy coachman" analysis, which means they believed the trial court reached the correct result, but for the wrong reason. They suggested that the university, through the Board of Governors and UNF's Board of Trustees had authority under Article IX, Section 7 of the Florida Constitution. Judge Roberts and the majority disagreed, stating the Legislature's desire to occupy the entire field of regulation of firearms and ammunition was explicit and clear, and that had it wished to provide an exception for the university system, it would have as was done for the Fish and Wildlife Commission, another constitutionally created entity, to regulate firearms use in hunting activities.
Twelve of the fifteen judges joined in the decision to reverse the trial court ruling, with three dissenting. The concurring opinions were diverse in reasoning, with Judge Timothy D. Osterhaus criticizing the court for even considering the constitutional argument, to Judge Scott Makar's recounting the long history of the Legislature's support and defense of the right to keep and bear arms, and humorously suggesting that the dissent wanted to create a fourth branch of government, one with "edu-slative" powers that trump those of the Legislature!
In sum, the 12 - 3 decision affirms that universities and colleges have no authority to regulate firearms or ammunition, that power being the exclusive domain of the Legislature. Post-secondary education students are no longer under threat of arrest, and at public universities and colleges, no longer under threat of academic or administrative sanctions for having lawfully stored firearms in their vehicles while attending classes. Notwithstanding a stay pending reconsideration by the 1st DCA or an appeal to the Florida Supreme Court, the decision becomes final on December 26.