Every once in a while a significant Second Amendment case winds its way through the court system without a great deal of fanfare, to suddenly appear—as if by magic—as a Very Big Deal.
Norman v. State is such a case in Florida that is suddenly in the news. It could overturn Florida’s law banning open carry, using the argument that open carry is a constitutional right, and not a privilege as is concealed carry.
The future of Florida’s ban on openly carrying a firearm depends on a decision from a judge in the 4th District Court of Appeal.
In February of 2012, Dale Lee Norman of Fort Pierce was walking down the sidewalk of a busy street. His firearm was completely exposed as shown in police dash-cam video. Norman’s attorney Eric Friday says Norman had his concealed weapon permit but did not know his gun became accidentally exposed.
Norman was convicted of open carry of a firearm in a St. Lucie County Court. His Jacksonville attorney is with the independent group Florida Carry and took the case to the 4th District Court of Appeal.
“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,” said Friday during a Skype interview.
Friday’s argument is that ‘open carry’ is a right. Florida is currently one of five states that bans openly carrying firearms in U.S.
Dale Norman, a concealed carry permit holder, was walking down a Fort Pierce street and did not realize that he shirt had ridden up, exposing his firearm.
The Fort Pierce police swarmed him, as was captured on dashcam video during his 2012 arrest.
You’ll note that Mr. Norman is a lot smarter than many, and does not attempt to assert his rights in the presence of drawn police weapons, nor does he resist arrest. He complied with law enforcement, and addressed the problem in the correct way, in the court system.
If Mr. Friday’s argument is compelling and he wins the case for Mr. Norman, it will result in open carry being recognized as a constitutional right in Florida, and may very well trigger another round of gun rights lawsuits expanding gun rights nationwide.
We’ll be keeping an eye on this case from now on out, and hope that Mr. Friday’s argument is one that the court finds compelling.