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Judge orders Daytona Beach to return Combat Vet's guns

FLORIDA CARRY PRESS RELEASE

August 16, 2013

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

JUDGE ORDERS DAYTONA BEACH TO RETURN VETERAN’S GUNS

 

Daytona Beach, FL - A Florida court on Tuesday ordered the Daytona Beach Police Department to return all property it seized from A.B., Florida Carry, Inc.'s co-plaintiff in the lawsuit against the City of Daytona Beach, its mayor and chief of police. A.B., an honorably discharged combat vet, called a veteran’s assistance hotline for someone to talk to. While the VA hotline worker did the right thing by having the police come out and check the situation, the police went too far.  After he was taken in to custody and separated from his firearms, the police officers searched his home without a warrant or any exigent circumstance and illegally seized $20,000 worth of his firearms, bows, arrows, ammo, and first aid and protective equipment. Included was the Japanese Arisaka rifle that his grandfather brought back from WWII and the medical shears that this patriot used to cut two fellow Infantrymen from a HMMWV during an IED attack.

 

Unfortunately several of the firearms, including the irreplaceable Japanese heirloom war trophy, were damaged due to careless storage. The wood stocks were gouged and scratched, metal surfaces were marred, and the guns developed significant rusting. Some even had parts missing. In fact, the Arisaka brought back by the combat vet's grandfather was ruined. Unlike firearms taken as evidence which are carefully and individually packaged to preserve them for use in court, these firearms were simply tossed on a shelf and ignored, left to be ravaged by humidity. The department also seized a plate carrier with a pouch originally containing an iPod Touch which mysteriously went missing.



 

During the hearing, the city failed to offer any evidence of unsound mind, which was their alleged basis for seizing the property, ironically for "safekeeping." Furthermore the city ignored that Sec. 790.17, Florida Statutes, does not grant them any authority to seize or keep property in these circumstances, as affirmed in an opinion published by the Florida Attorney General and courts statewide. The city also ignored the language of the Baker Act itself which prohibits any loss of constitutional rights by individuals who are examined under the Baker Act. The city however claimed that veterans who are suspected of suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder should not have their firearms returned to them, deeming them to be of unsound mind, assuming the role of competent medical authority and snubbing the opinion of professionals who actually perform Baker Act evaluations.

 

Incredibly, one firearm in particular was returned in pristine condition, apparently being properly stored and cared for - an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle. Could it be that someone in the Daytona Beach police department was hoping to have this firearm forfeited by A.B. so it could be used as their new patrol rifle? One has to wonder.

 

The case now moves onto the next phase, where the court will consider the allegation that the city willfully and knowingly violated the state firearms law preemption statute which expressly forbids any government entity from promulgating and enforcing a rule that regulates firearms, as well as the compensation due the plaintiffs.

 

"As long as law enforcement agencies continue to violate the law, Florida Carry will continue to pursue them for their violations" said Eric Friday, Lead Counsel for Florida Carry and A.B.

 

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A lot going on at Florida Carry now

No firearms signs short-lived at health department

http://www.nwfdailynews.com/local/no-firearms-signs-short-lived-at-health-department-1.178528

 

The (anti-gun) signs were up for one day until Florida Carry Inc., a gun rights group, contacted the Health Department and said it had received bad legal advice, Chapman said.

The department discussed the issue with its lawyer again and determined that people with a concealed weapons permit can bring a gun into the building.

“The law is the law,” Chapman said. “We will abide by the law.”

 

The Florida Department of Health attorney came to the wrong conclusion of law about the Health Department’s authority to regulate firearms.  We spoke to another DOH attorney, with whom we had worked previously, and notification that such signs are illegal has now gone out to DOH Regional Directors statewide.  Florida Carry abhors filing lawsuits; they are costly and time consuming.  This is just an example of the work we do every day.  It is rare for these actions to actually be reported to the media or make the news.

 


Daytona police want judge to clarify authority in holding veteran's guns

http://www.news-journalonline.com/article/20130701/NEWS/130709990

 

Florida Carry's suit claims police violated state law when they entered A.B.'s Pelican Bay townhouse and confiscated his firearms and then refused to give them back.

Officers took the weapons on Dec. 23 and police officials told A.B. that he must obtain a court order for their return.

A.B. has not been declared mentally ill by a judge, Florida Carry said, and therefore he is not -- according to state law -- prohibited from owning guns.

While Chitwood said the agency is aware of state statutes and the 2009 McCollum opinion, the issue is one of community safety versus the rights and interests of one person.

 

One talk with a qualified mental health professional was all it took to determine that the combat vet was never a threat to himself or anyone else. Now the police department refuses to give this man, who has stood watch for our defense, his property back despite numerous previous court decisions and instructions from the Florida Attorney General that all instruct that his property, including firearms, should be immediately returned. We had no choice but to file a lawsuit in this case.

 


Florida Carry sues Citrus County Sheriff and deputies over arrest of law-abiding gun owner

http://thegunwriter.blogs.heraldtribune.com/13462/florida-carry-sues-citrus-county-deputies-over-arrest-of-gun-owner/

 

Florida Carry consulting attorney J. Patrick Buckley III who is also representing Mr. Smith in the case summed up the case:

"Improper law enforcement training coupled with an emotional overreaction is detrimental to the civil rights of Floridians. When a Constitutional officer then delays the resulting internal investigation to permit the untrained officer to walk away without so much as a slap on the wrist, it illustrates a systematic absence of accountability in those we trust to protect us."

Joining Mr. Smith as plaintiff, Florida Carry is representing its membership and millions of Florida gun owners in the lawsuit.


Florida Carry files amicus brief supporting MS Open Carry law


Background at: http://www.hattiesburgamerican.com/viewart/20130723/NEWS01/307230016/Hood-seeks-toss-ruling-blocking-open-carry-law

 

Because sometimes (usually) just shouting “Shall not be infringed!” is not enough. Florida Carry has filed a “friend of the court” brief highlighting the constitutional right to bear arms outside the home and the differences between that fundamental right and the court decisions ruling that there is only a privilege of a license to conceal.

 

Briefs filed in MS Supreme Court supporting Mississippi’s “HB2″ Open Carry law (in docketed order):
Florida Carry, Inc. - Florida Carry Amicus Brief
National Rifle Association - NRA Amicus Brief
Citizen Supporters of HB2 - Citizen Supporters of HB2 Amicus Brief
80 Named MS Legislators - Named MS Legislators Amicus Brief
MS Governor Phil Bryant - Gov. Bryant Amicus Brief

 


Do gun buyback programs work?

http://www.news4jax.com/news/Do-gun-buyback-programs-work/-/475880/20624796/-/h7glkdz/-/index.html

 

Eric J. Friday, Florida Carry’s Lead Counsel, explains that gun “buyback” schemes are a huge waste of tax dollars and private funds.

 


We cannot do this work without your support. Lobbying and lawsuits are expensive. Please Donate to Florida Carry or Join Today.

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Florida Carry sues the City of Daytona Beach, its Mayor and Police Chief.

Today Florida Carry, Inc., filed an action to stop Daytona Beach’s illegal practice of refusing to return firearms to people, including veterans, who were Baker Acted but found to be no danger to themselves or others.  For too long, many jurisdictions throughout Florida have refused to follow the law.  In 2009 the Florida Attorney General made clear in an opinion that the continued detention of firearms after a person was released without being found to be a danger to themselves or others was prohibited by Florida law.  Despite the clear instruction from the Attorney General and the legal prohibition on creating their own firearms rules since 1987, these individuals and agencies who have sworn to uphold the law, have instead violated the law and the Constitutional rights of law-abiding Florida gun owners.  It is time to hold these jurisdictions responsible and require that these people in authority follow the laws they swore an oath to uphold and enforce.

As we previously reported, an honorably discharged combat vet called a veteran’s assistance hotline for someone to talk to.  Instead of finding the sympathetic and understanding ear of a fellow vet, the VA hotline worker got the police to come out and take this man who has stood in defense of our country from his home and submit him for mental evaluation.  The police officers also seized his firearms, bows, arrows, ammo and protective equipment.  One talk with a qualified mental health professional was all it took for the doctor to determine that the vet was never a threat to himself or anyone else.

Now the police department refuses to give this man who has stood watch for our defense his guns back despite numerous previous court decisions and instructions from the Florida Attorney General that all instruct that his property should be immediately returned.

This problem has been found statewide and Florida Carry got involved in this case to protect the rights of all Floridians.  The denial of personal property rights without just cause and the denial of the right to bear arms without due process of law must end now.

The case filing can be read here: Complaint_A.B_and_FL_Carry_v_Daytona

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Florida Carry Sues Citrus Sheriff and Deputy Andy Cox

FLORIDA CARRY PRESS RELEASE

July 19, 2013

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

FEDERAL SUIT FILED OVER DEPUTY TIRADE AND ILLEGAL ARREST OF GUN OWNER DEPICTED IN VIRAL VIDEO  

 

Today Florida Carry has filed a federal complaint alleging deprivation of civil rights under color of law with the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida over an incident which was captured on dashcam video, which subsequently went viral on the internet.


In July of 2009, Citrus County resident Joel Smith and his wife were detained at a traffic stop for non-criminal traffic code violation. During the stop, Mr. Smith exited his vehicle to speak with Citrus County deputy Andy Cox, who asked Mr. Smith for proof of insurance for the vehicle.  Mr. Smith turned with his back toward the officer and leaned into the vehicle to retrieve the document at which time his lawfully carried and holstered firearm peeked out from under his shirt.

 

Upon seeing the tip of Smith's holster, Deputy Cox immediately launched into an unwarranted verbal assault on Mr. Smith, first asking why he was carrying a firearm. Within seconds, the officer drew his own firearm and pointed it at the befuddled Mr. Smith, threatening to shoot him "in the (expletive deleted) back" if he didn't immediately put his hands on the vehicle. Mr. Smith offered no resistance, complying fully with the officer's orders, and informing the officer that he was a lawfully licensed concealed carrier. Ignoring Mr. Smith's statement, Deputy Cox continued shouting at Mr. Smith, ordering him face down on the ground and cuffing him. Mr. Smith was arrested and charged with open carry of a firearm, a misdemeanor violation of Florida Statutes, however charges were later dropped. A complaint was filed with the Citrus County Sheriff's Department against Deputy Cox, however due to a technicality, the complaint was dismissed and no disciplinary action against the deputy was taken.

 

Florida Carry consulting attorney J. Patrick Buckley III who is also representing Mr. Smith in the case summed up the case:

"Improper law enforcement training coupled with an emotional overreaction is detrimental to the civil rights of Floridians. When a Constitutional officer then delays the resulting internal investigation to permit the untrained officer to walk away without so much as a slap on the wrist, it illustrates a systematic absence of accountability in those we trust to protect us."

 

Joining Mr. Smith as plaintiff, Florida Carry is representing its membership and millions of Florida gun owners in the lawsuit. Named as defendants are Deputy Andy Cox, Sergeant Dave Fields, Sheriff Jeffrey Dawsy, and Citrus County. The plaintiffs are represented by the Law Offices of J. Patrick Buckley III, located in Fort Myers, FL.


The dashcam video can be viewed on YouTube

The case docket is available by clicking HERE

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FL State Election Results Signal an Uphill Fight to Protect your Right to Bear Arms in Florida

The Generally Pro-Carry Supermajority was lost in the FL House and reduced in the FL Senate as we face challenges to Florida’s Self-Defense and Right to Carry laws in the next legislative session.

Two articles from Sunshine State News provide some insight on the State races.

http://www.sunshinestatenews.com/story/gop-maintains-senate-super-majority-which-grows-more-business-friendly 
and 
http://www.sunshinestatenews.com/story/barack-obamas-coattails-dragged-along-i-4-corridor-florida-house

Generally pro-gun but anti-open carry State Sen. Ellyn Bogdanoff (R-Fort Lauderdale) was defeated by rabidly anti-gun/anti-self-defense State Sen. Maria Sachs (D-Boca Raton).

State Rep. Chris Dorworth (R-Lake Mary), who sponsored Campus Carry and Open Carry legislation in 2011 and is in line to become House Speaker, is currently 37 votes behind his anti-gun challenger Mike Clelland (D) who wants to make it illegal to purchase ammunition in quantity or via the internet and has decried the private ownership of “Assault Weapons” and “Large Clips”.

Amidst the George Zimmerman Self-Defense trial and the media storm that surrounds it; the incoming Senate Democratic Leader, State Sen. Chris Smith (D-Fort Lauderdale), has been an outspoken critic of Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” and Self-Defense Immunity laws and has even called for repeal of long standing “Castle Doctrine” protections.

In addition to our ongoing right to carry and firearms law preemption lawsuits, Florida Carry is currently working on these legislative priorities for the 2013 session.

  • "Stand our Ground" to support Self-Defense Laws that do not require people to turn their backs and try to run from an attack.
  • Defensive Display law to allow armed people to defensively display a firearm or defensive weapon while under criminal attack but before needing to actually use lethal force. 
  • Knife & Defensive Weapon Law Preemption 
  • People who defend themselves should be "innocent until proven guilty". Shift the burden of proof to the State in Self-Defense Immunity Cases. 
  • Remove arbitrary round count enhancements. Repeal the 20 round mag = automatic 20 year mandatory minimum law. 
  • Stop applying 10-20-Life mandatory minimum laws to people who are only trying to defend themselves against an imminent or actual violent criminal attack. 
  • Reduce the list of “Defense Free Zones” where carry is prohibited. 
  • Open Carry 
  • Campus Carry 
  • Constitutional Carry

Now, more than EVER before, it is critical that we have your support, your voice, your membership and yes… We critically need your money if we are to continue to be effective in this fight.  Please Join or Donate today!

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