Florida law enforcement, you need to buy a clue.
Groups representing Florida sheriffs and police officers came out this week in opposition to a controversial legislative proposal that would allow anyone with a concealed weapons permit to openly carry their guns statewide.
Law enforcement representatives say Senate Bill 300 / House Bill 163 would restrict the ability of officers to ensure public safety and the bills fail to include enhanced training and requirements for the holstering and handling of openly carried weapons, among other concerns.
Let’s stop right there, kids.
The holstering and handling of a firearm carried on a OWB (outside the waistband) holster is dead-simple in comparison to any known concealed carry method, which involves removing one or more covering garments to first access the firearm, and then reversing the process to reholster the firearm to conceal it once more.
If they doubt this, I can point the Florida Fraternal Order of Police and the Florida Sheriffs Association towards the sort of competent firearms instructors they don’t apparently employ.
If they are worried about the ability of Florida Man to retain the Taurus Judge he’s carrying in a sagging Uncle Mike’s nylon gun condom, they they are worried about weapon retention skills, and need to be able to articulate that quite different concern coherently.
Supporters of the legislation — sponsored by Republican father-son duo Sen. Don Gaetz of Niceville and Rep. Matt Gaetz of Fort Walton Beach — argue it strengthens Second Amendment rights for Americans to defend themselves.
The Florida Fraternal Order of Police unanimously opposes the legislation, specifically because of a provision that would prohibit an officer from asking for someone’s concealed-carry permit unless the officer had “probable cause” — a more stringent legal standard than what is currently in law. If the officer made the request without probable cause, the officer could face a $5,000 fine and the agency they work for could be fined $100,000, under the proposed law.
“If something happens and an officer is not allowed to, at least, ask someone and inquire during the situation of a protest if they should be openly carrying, you’re tying their hands,” Lisa Henning, the group’s legislative liaison, told senators this week.
I do not care for the argument Ms. Henning is attempting to make for the Florida FOP.
Officers should not have the ability to stop, question, or detain citizens merely for open-carrying a firearm. If they are acting suspicious, talking to imaginary people, or wearing a boot as a hat…
…then you may have grounds for a stop.
A person acting in an otherwise normal, rational and law-abiding way should not be stopped merely because his shirt rode up, or was too tight, or she simply felt more comfortable carrying a firearm outside the waistband instead of concealed.
Perhaps if Florida law enforcement hadn’t abused existing laws to punish law-abiding concealed carriers who accidentally exposed their firearms I’d feel more sympathy for them, but they have… and so I don’t.
45 of the 50 states allow some form of open carry.
It is absurd that Florida does not.