Florida has been called “The Gunshine State” by many, usually because it tends to be a fairly pro-gun state. However, that never really felt right for me. After all, gun control is more prevalent there than in my home state of Georgia, and that was before Parkland and the legislature down there went full-stupid about firearms.
There’s a ton of work to be done in Florida, and there are a lot of great people down there trying to do it, but there’s no way any amount of people could fix it fast enough.
A guy who was arrested in Ocala, Florida recently illustrates this point.
A 30-year-old Ocala man was arrested after a loaded gun was found on the passenger seat of his vehicle during a traffic stop.
On Saturday, February 19, at around 11:10 p.m., an Ocala Police Department officer observed a gray Chrysler 200 that was traveling southbound near the 2000 block of NW 8th Avenue.
According to the OPD report, the vehicle was traveling at approximately 42 miles per hour which was 12 miles per hour over the posted speed limit. After the vehicle continued traveling at that speed for a few blocks, the officer conducted a traffic stop in the 1400 block of NE 2nd Avenue.
The driver and sole occupant of the vehicle was identified as Shavar Dejuan McDonald.
The OPD report indicated that McDonald did not have a concealed weapons permit. McDonald claimed that he always stored the handgun in the glove compartment, and he just happened to leave it inside the duffel bag on the day of the traffic stop.
McDonald was arrested, transported to Marion County Jail, and he was later released on $2,000 bond. He is facing a felony charge for carrying a concealed weapon without a license.
Now, in the interest of being accurate and fair, the officer who pulled McDonald over reported smelling marijuana and McDonald has a medical marijuana card.
Per federal law, McDonald was violating gun possession laws by using a Schedule One drug and possessing a firearm.
BS as it is, it’s still the law.
However, that fact is also completely irrelevant. McDonald wasn’t charged with being a drug user in possession of a firearm. He was charged with carrying without a concealed carry permit.
In his car.
See, a lot of people don’t realize that even transporting a firearm in your own vehicle falls under various regulations in a ton of places, Florida being one of them. You can be arrested with a felony for having your gun in the wrong part of your vehicle.
And McDonald was.
The sad thing is that there’s a bill in Florida that would prevent that. The state has a bill bringing constitutional carry to Florida and such a law would have kept McDonald out of handcuffs. It negates the requirement for a carry permit–Florida also has no open carry, it should be noted–and would have negated McDonald’s arrest.
Again, if he’d have been arrested for using pot and having a firearm, that would have been one thing. That needs to change as well, but that has to happen at the federal level.
In Florida, they can pass constitutional carry and keep people like McDonald from facing felony charges over something so idiotic.