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Florida Carry Hails Gov. Scott for Standing Up for Gun Rights
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 3 2012 Tampa, FL - On behalf of Florida Carry's over 9,000 members and supporters, we applaud the leadership displayed by Governor Rick Scott in his immediate and resolute response rejecting a request from Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn that the constitutional rights of Florida’s nearly one-million active concealed carry license holders be suspended under the Governor’s emergency powers.
Last year, the legislature passed a bill adding penalties for local governments who enacted, enforced, or promulgated ordinances in violation of state preemption of the field of firearms and ammunition (F.S. 790.33). Despite the fact that the preemption statute had declared all such ordinances null and void since 1987, local governments continued to flagrantly and unlawfully maintain and enact ordinances which regulated firearms in their jurisdiction with impunity. It was this callous disregard for state law which prompted the legislature to act.
In addition to the Federal National Security Zone established by the U.S. Secret Service around the RNC site, the City of Tampa intends to impose its own Baghdad style "Clean Zone", which would have banned the lawful carry of firearms for self-defense in a wide swath surrounding the convention center, including the entire downtown area and even across the river. However, city attorneys immediately recognized such a ban would expose the city to the penalties enacted in last year’s bill, which became effective as of October 1, 2011. Not satisfied, the city council authorized Mayor Buckhorn, ironically a gun owner and concealed carry licensee himself, to send a letter to the Governor requesting a temporary reprieve from preemption.
“This is why we have a Second Amendment right to Bear Arms, to prevent governments from trampling the rights of the People.” Said Florida Carry Executive Director Sean Caranna. “It’s unconscionable that the Mayor and City Council of Tampa would call for the imposition of martial law type emergency provisions to suspend a fundamental constitutional right in the shadow of the RNC. Our Presidential electoral process doesn't suspend our people’s rights, it is supposed to defend them!”
Governor Scott’s immediate denial of the request demonstrates his respect for the Constitution, Florida law, the integrity of Florida lawful gun owners statewide. In his response, the Governor stated that “While the government may enforce longstanding prohibitions on the carrying of firearms in sensitive places… an absolute ban on possession in entire neighborhoods and regions would surely violate the 2nd Amendment.” Scott continued, “It is unclear how disarming law-abiding citizens would better protect them from the dangers and threats posed by those who would flout the law.”
Florida Carry thanks Governor Rick Scott for his continued ardent support of the 2nd Amendment, the Florida Constitution, and Florida law. We encourage all local government officials to take note of the governor’s position as guidance with regard to their own local governance.
We warn the City of Tampa that firearms are not the only class of arms recognized under the Second Amendment and Florida law. Florida Statute 790.06(15) also preempts the city from imposing its ban on the otherwise lawful carry of other classes of defensive weapons. We will have zero tolerance for such violations of civil rights and the legislature’s express preemption of firearms and the bearing of concealed defensive weapons.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Concealed Carry Licenses Soon for All of Our Troops
Florida (March 15th, 2012) Qualified to Defend Our Nation Overseas = Qualified to Defend Yourself and Your Family at Home.
Concealed Carry for Military & Vets Under 21 Has Passed the FL House and Senate Unanimously!
Those who defend our country overseas should be able to defend themselves and their families at home. There have been too many incidences of violence against our troops who have just returned from overseas deployments and found themselves defenseless at home. Florida Carry authored legislation that will insure that our current troops and honorably discharged veterans can obtain a license to carry regardless of age or duty station. The bill will also require that fingerprint cards be accepted from military police and provost so that service members stationed overseas can complete their applications.
There are over 8,000 adult service members under the age of 21 living in the State of Florida. Countless more resident veterans and annual military visitors who will have their right the bear arms advanced by these bills.
Representatives Kreegel and Brandes sponsored HB 463 in the Florida House and Senator Negron sponsored SB 998 in the Florida Senate. The bills have already passed all seven committees, the full house, and the full senate unanimously. We were happy to have NRA’s support in moving the bill forward smoothly through both chambers of the Legislature.
The new provisions will take effect as soon as Governor Scott signs HB 463 in to law.
This is a good first step toward full recognition of the right to bear arms by all law-abiding adults.
- Florida Carry Authored and Strongly Supported These Bills
- PASSED HOUSE & SENATE UNANIMOUSLY!
When Hueris Mora came to us, we did what we always do when contacted by someone who is facing gun carry charges. We set about researching the charges and circumstances of the incident. Florida Carry only gets involved in these cases when good people face unjust charges because they choose to lawfully carry defensive arms.
In his case, it was immediately apparent that continuing prosecution by the office of Katherine Fernandez Rundle, Miami-Dade State Attorney, was unjust at best. Our consulting attorneys statewide were in unanimous concurrence that prosecution of this case, despite the clear language of 790.053, was completely baseless.
The car he was riding in the back seat of was stopped and everyone ordered out. As he got out, Hueris raised his hands and told the officer "I have a concealed carry license, and I have a gun on me." This is exactly what law enforcement asks that law-abiding concealed carriers do when stopped by police.
When he raised his hands above his head, his shirt rode up exposing his properly holstered handgun. The gun was only exposed because he raised his hands to surrender to the officer and inform him that he was armed. He was arrested and prosecuted months after SB234 was passed clarifying that "brief" exposure is not illegal. The officer and State Attorney used that subjective "briefly exposed" language and the requirement that a licensee be "carrying a firearm in a concealed manner" in to justify the arrest and prosecution.
The Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office must have also known that they were in an untenable position because they quickly agreed to take the possibility of jail time off the table. Removing the possibility of imprisonment was not an olive branch offered in the interest of justice, it was in fact a Trojan Horse. This underhanded move was their only way to keep prosecuting the case because it had the calculated effect of taking away Mr. Mora's public defender. Once the Assistant State Attorney prosecuting the case had effectively maneuvered to deprive Mr. Mora of legal counsel, an offer was made. An offer so common in Florida that it is considered the standard plea deal... "You can retake the concealed course to get your license to carry back but kiss your gun goodbye."
Hueris knew he was getting the shaft despite having done nothing wrong, so he did what nobody before in Florida (that we know of) had done. He didn't sign the deal. This was a brave decision despite having no legal help at that time.
Florida Carry has consulting attorneys who do countless hours of pro bono work behalf of our members. Unfortunately, at that time we did not have a criminal defense attorney in Mr. Mora's area. That's when we reached out to Jesus "Jojo" Rodriguez. He didn't blink. Pro bono defense of a truly worthy young man who needs our help? "Absolutely!" was Jojo's immediate response. Our other attorneys and legal interns rallied together to provide support and Mr. Rodriguez, Florida Carry's newest consulting attorney, drove this case home. The charge of violating Florida's Open Carry Ban was dismissed with prejudice. We finally won this fight that deprived Mr. Mora of his handgun for nearly six months.
Last year, when 2011 SB 234 was debated in the State Legislature, our elected leaders were told about law abiding gun owners being arrested and thrown in jail for even accidental or incidental exposure of lawfully carried firearms. The State Prosecuting Attorneys lobbyist repeatedly said that "Nobody has ever been prosecuted for open carry." The fact is that nobody ever went all the way to trial. Many have been prosecuted; this was a case where a good man fought back. If this doesn't meet some lobbyist definition of prosecution, we recommend a new dictionary.
The Florida Sheriff's Association sent multiple lobbyists in uniform who said that law enforcement officers will use their "proper discretionary powers" and would never arrest someone for carrying a handgun if it became innocently unconcealed. Yet there is a 25 year history of some officers using subjective language in firearms laws to unreasonably arrest law-abiding people who choose to exercise their right to bear arms. In one such case a man lawfully carrying was permanently injured when handcuffs were put on him with such force that nerves in both wrists were severed. All because part of his handgun became unconcealed.
Early last year, Florida's Open Carry Ban was amended to insert the subjective language asked for by the Florida Sheriffs and State Prosecuting Attorneys Lobbyist. This compromised language came with their promise that these incidents would stop. Subsequently Mr. Mora had to spend a night deprived of his freedom in jail and half a year fighting for his rights. Even after the case was won, it took many more months for an attorney to get his handgun returned with a required court order. What should have been nothing more than a check of Mr. Mora's concealed carry license turned out to be a 10 month ordeal even with the assistance of a qualified attorney.
Every month we are contacted by other law-abiding people who have been confronted, detained, and threatened with arrest because they were lawfully carrying a firearm in Florida and it “printed” through clothing or became unconcealed.
Concealed Carry licensee Dale Norman was found guilty of violating the open carry ban by a Jury in June 2012 after his lawfully carried handgun accidentally became exposed while walking. Since he did not notice that his shirt got stuck behind his holster, Dale now has a criminal record. We have video of his arrest.
The judge in Mr. Norman's case will still be hearing motions to dismiss the case, despite the jury finding, on July 31st, 2012.
Florida's very odd open carry ban and the insufficient changes made in 2011 has resulted in at least 15 unjust criminal arrests and prosecutions that we know of since 2011 when SB234 was passed. Only 6 states widely ban Unconcealed Carry.
They have broken their promise and we now call on the Florida Legislature to repeal one of the most anti-gun laws in the country. Despite the Florida Legislature’s clear intent that people who have lawfully carried handguns, which may become innocently unconcealed, face no charges. As long as the general ban on open carry exists, these arrests and prosecutions will continue unabated. Florida Statute 790.053 is Florida's very unusual open carry ban, it was a knee jerk reaction when passed in 1987 and it is long overdue for repeal.
We need your membership to make our work possible! Please protect your rights in Florida by joining Florida Carry Today! http://www.FloridaCarry.org/
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Florida Carry Files Lawsuit Against the City of Leesburg to Protect Gun Owners
Leesburg FL (March 14th, 2012) As was reported in December, the City of Leesburg has decided to stick by its anti-gun laws in direct defiance of state law and their own city charter.
Leesburg City Manager Jay Evans has flatly refused our requests that the city repeal its firearm ordinances, in compliance with state preemption of firearms law.
City Manager Evans stated that:
"Any action taken in the future regarding the existence of these laws in our Code of Ordinances will be done at the discretion, pleasure, and timing of the Leesburg City Commission."
The City of Leesburg, and its manager, have remained openly defiant for months. Abiding by state law is not optional and our members demand that we have compliance.
On behalf of our members, and pursuant to our organization's mission, Florida Carry, Inc. has filed a complaint with the Florida circuit court in Lake County to demand that they follow the law.
Florida Carry is not being "over-zealous with the rhetoric" as City Manager Evans has said.
Florida Carry Executive Director Sean Caranna put it very clearly:
"This isn't rhetoric, this is the law, and we are done waiting for the city to obey it. We demand compliance now."
Now that we have put teeth in to the state firearms preemption law, usually when we contact cities and counties about their preempted firearms ordinances we have great success in having their unlawful gun control laws removed from the books.
Mostly we get cooperative and constructive replies like this one received yesterday from The Town of Lady Lake:
Thank you for bring this to my attention. We have recently removed a section in Chapter 10 regarding firearms (Ordinance 2011-22) so that we are in compliance with the FSS, however this section was missed. I apologize and be assured we will rectify this as soon as possible.
Thank you, and happy holidays.
and this reply yesterday from the City of Dunellon:
After this law passed, the city did a cursory review of its codes and did not see these provisions. The city will amend its codes to comply with State Statutes as soon as possible. It appears that January will be the earliest that the city can begin the process of amending its ordinances.
Thank you for bringing this to our attention.
Then we have a very few cities who decide to put themselves on Florida Carry's "Naughty List". Yesterday The City of Leesburg decided to stick by its anti-gun laws.
Let's not get over-zealous with the rhetoric. The City of Leesburg is well aware of FS 790.33. You will note the statute says specifically that local governments are prohibited from "enacting, enforcing, or promulgating ordinances which regulate firearms and ammunition...". None of these things has occurred since October 1, 2011. There is no requirement that we repeal said laws, as you seem to indicate is necessary. Any action taken in the future regarding the existence of these laws in our Code of Ordinances will be done at the discretion, pleasure, and timing of the Leesburg City Commission.
Jay M. Evans
City of Leesburg, Florida
Actually we are on extremely solid legal ground and will file a lawsuit showing that The City of Leesburg and City Manager Evans are both actively breaking state law.
This is not rhetoric, this is the law and we will demand that it is upheld.
Help us send a lump of coal this Christmas to the City of Leesburg and to City Manager Evans.
Click this link to Donate to Florida Carry's Legal Fund Today!