New Florida Carry Lawsuit to Defend Right to Bear Arms

One of our members was illegally disarmed, harassed, detained, searched, and trespassed by Tampa Police at a Florida Carry Event.

Since 2010 Florida Carry members have been going fishing and lawfully carrying unconcealed handguns in Florida.
Since 2010 Florida Carry members have been going fishing and lawfully carrying unconcealed handguns in Florida.
Florida Carry
Florida Carry

Florida – -(Ammoland.com)- Since 2010 Florida Carry members have been going fishing and lawfully carrying unconcealed handguns in Florida. There has NEVER been a real problem until now.

Open Carry is completely legal while fishing in Florida.

Last weekend one of our members, George Freeman, was detained for over an hour after a Tampa Police Officer unsuccessfully attempted sneak up behind him while fishing and grab his holstered handgun. George turned immediately when he felt an unknown person grab for his gun while reaching for a concealed backup gun. As soon as he saw the uniformed officer George stopped before he drew his backup and did not resist the seizure of his handguns. He also presented his valid Florida Concealed Carry License to the officer.

This extremely dangerous and uncalled-for move by the police officer to seize George's legal handgun didn't end once the officer found out that Mr. Freeman was not doing anything wrong.

After detaining our member for over an hour the police realized that they could not find any crime to charge him with. So they issued him an order, a trespass notice that prevents him from going to the public pier at Ballast Point for one year.

George Freeman was NOT breaking any law but he was banned from the city pier for exercising his Second Amendment Right to Bear Arms.

This happened at the same park that we have often used as a venue for our MONTHLY Open Carry Fishing Events since 2010 with the full knowledge of the City of Tampa and prior coordination with the City Attorney and the Police Department.

The Tampa Police also questioned Mr. Freeman in an attempt to determine the identities of our other members. A clear violation of their First Amendment Right to Associational Privacy and Right of Peaceful Assembly.

The State Florida preempts local firearms related policies, trespassing lawful gun owners from public property is against the law. It was also a violation of George's constitutional rights.

This will not go unanswered. We are in the process of filing a lawsuit to enforce Florida's Firearms Preemption Law, the Constitutionally Protected Rights of our members, and to have Mr. Freeman's trespass order, search, and seizure ruled illegal.

We need your help! Filing the lawsuit will cost approximately $650 for filing fees and service of process. Depositions, court reporters, transcripts, etc… will run about $1,500 more. We always expect to end up in the Court of Appeals. This requires additional filing fees and litigation related costs for things like travel, and other necessary expenses. Our lawyers are working on a contingency basis, in other words they don't get paid until we win. We expect to need at least $5,000 to see this case through.

A Tampa Police Department spokesperson issued the following statement in the media today after the incident became public:

“It was an error on the officers' part. The trespass warning will be rescinded and we are working to contact Mr. Freeman's to apologize to him.

Officers are being reminded that open carry of a firearm while fishing is legal in Florida.”

Florida Carry immediately emailed the Tampa Police Department with contact information for Mr. Freeman's attorney. There was no response to the email and his attorney, Eric Friday, has no record of a call being made to his office by anyone with the City of Tampa. The trespass notice has, to our knowledge, not yet been rescinded. Regardless, a simple apology is an insufficient remedy for the violations of civil rights and Florida law suffered by George Freeman, Florida Carry, and our members.

We have a lot of experience with these types of cases.

Please help us defend the right to bear arms in court once again.

https://www.gofundme.com/DefendingRKBA

Florida Carry is a Not-For-Profit Corporation incorporated in Florida. 501(c)(4) status has been applied for, donations are not deductible for tax purposes.

Join or Donate Today! We need your help!

Florida self-defense laws are under unprecedented attack. Florida Carry is fighting back hard in local government, the courts, and the state legislature but cash and volunteer action is necessary to support this important work. Please donate or Join Today.

About:
Florida Carry is a non-profit, non-partisan, grassroots organization dedicated to advancing the fundamental civil right of all Floridians to keep and bear arms for self defense as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution and Article I Section 8 of the Florida Constitution. Florida Carry, Inc. was organized by a group of Florida gun rights activists in order to better coordinate activities, effectively lobby the state legislature, and to provide a legal entity capable of filing suit to demand compliance with state and federal law. Florida Carry stands only to represent our members and the over 6 million gun owners of Florida. We are not beholden to any national organization's agenda that may compromise that mission.
Florida Carry works tirelessly toward repealing and striking down ill-conceived gun control laws that have been proven to provide safe havens to criminals and be deadly to law abiding citizens.

Florida Carry
www.FloridaCarry.org
Phone: 850-270-7486
Fax: 678-359-9816
  • 38 thoughts on “New Florida Carry Lawsuit to Defend Right to Bear Arms

    1. Thanks to NRA contract lobbyist Todd Vandermyde, this police crime is exactly what will happen in IL. After recruiting Chicago black man Otis McDonald for the Supreme Court, Vandermyde and Rep. Brandon Phelps loaded up the “good” NRA backed carry bill with Duty to Inform w/ criminal penalties of 6 MONTHS or 1 YEAR in jail, because the Chiefs of Police wanted it.

      Giving serial killers, police impersonators and police criminals an excuse to harass, threaten, arrest and kill armed citizens was not enough for the NRA’s rat in IL. Phelps passed the SB836 “trailer bill” on May 31. Now IL CCL holders must give up their guns to ambulance drivers, who can decide whether they will get it back. Chris Cox & Chuck Cunningham at ILA employ liars, rats and losers.

    2. So, to clarify a few things that hang in question in my mind, of the two outwardly carrying gentlemen pictured on the fishing pier in the photo at the top of this article, am I to assume that Mr. Freeman is the one holding the fishing rod? And we can rule out the other armed individual on the right as the cop in question, he is obviously not the cop by definition. So how is only one of these alleged law breakers guilty while the other one apparently is not not guilty of “illegal” open carry of a weapon??

      (If jeans and a picture T-shirt ARE part of the Tampa police issue uniform and that actually IS a Tampa cop leaning against the pier railing, I suspect that the Tampa City Council and the Tampa police chief need to sit down and have a serious discussion about a more professional uniform code for their officers!)

      But, getting back to the reality of what we see in that one photo, who is the little girl and where was she when the alleged altercation took place? Did the person at fault (if any) put that girl in any danger or potential danger should one or the other have drawn his weapon during the alleged confrontation?

      On the surface, this does not appear to be one of the monthly open carry fishing events of the Florida Carry group since there are very few other fishermen on the pier, at least in the direction of the photo. But wait, the Florida law seems to state that a person with a CC permit may also open carry under certain circumstances:

      To quote from a post on the subject; “790.25 is OK though, open carry of a firearm while hunting, fishing or camping and while traveling to and from hunting fishing or camping.” (as excerpted from another poster’s words.)

      There seems to be a plethora of unanswered questions that emanate from one photograph so maybe there is much more to learn from those who may have witnessed this event than can be decided here on this comment board. In light of nobody being physically injured, nobody being held ransom, no lives lost in the melee, and no innocent fish being harmed in the making of this photograph, I would suggest that the lawyers hired by the FC group hash this out and the armchair lawyers state their cases in a polite and decent manner and let the law take precedence over personal opinion.

    3. In Indiana, you are completely at the mercy of LEO’s. If you make body contact with an officer, such as placing your hand on their chest, it’s “assault.” If you pull your arm back from being cuffed, It’s “resisting”. In a situation like above, if you didn’t have video, and witnesses, you’d be much older before you could go by yourself to the bait shop.
      I don’t understand why cops don’t understand why the average citizen is just terrified of police. It doesn’t have one damn thing to do with any bias. It’s just that police are not citizens like the most of us. It’s just that simple. You wanted to be special, “bingo”; there ya go. I don’t open carry, even when I handgun hunted in this state. The only thing that accomplishes, is changing the predator that will go after you. I think the “Po Po” is much more dangerous.

    4. I THINK PART OF THE PROBLEM IS THE LAWS CHANGE AND NOBODY RE ORIENTATES THE OFFICERS SO THEY ARE UP DATED.

      1. K Mitchell – This particular provision, FS 790.25(3)(h), has been unchanged since 1987, when the State assumed all authority over the regulation of firearms and ammunition. Additionally, Florida Carry has held regular open carry fishing events at that pier for over 4 years.

    5. Ignorance of the law is no excuse…. cop didnt know law But he did know guy was legal carry…. he thought oh man I got this smart ass with a gun on the pier, then he gave his james best dukes of hazzard giggle and tried a stupid move and when he found out the law, then they hold the guy for over an hour and charge him with tresspass.

      So cop breaks multiple laws and other guy gets charged and pig goes wee wee wee all the way home.

      sue the cop and take his house… tampa people shouldnt have to foot the bill for this jerk

      These are the same cops who try illegally to stop people from filming them… no different

    6. I CC in the winter, and OC in the summer with a loose shirt hanging over the holster. I can’t really say what my reaction would be if I felt someone behind me trying to remove my gun from it’s holster. It wouldn’t be a polite exchange, uniform or not. If I had a backup, someone would probably have been shot. This cop was way off the reservation when he attempted to remove the gun. I would react the same way to him as I would have to a thug trying the same thing. I would not give anyone the time to decide which way this went down, I’d do the deciding.

    7. At the VERY least, this officer should be sternly reprimanded, with a copy of said reprimand and the reasons therefore put in his permanent file. Then he should be suspended without pay until the conclusion of an IAD and DA’s investigation. If he is reinstated, he should be ordered to re-attend the “Officer Safety” and “Approach of Subjects” cells of his academy training, then spend 8 weeks with a Senior FTO who must give him an exemplary evaluation before he can be returned to street duty alone.

    8. Well, To Whom It May Concern, The cop did have the right to detain him and take his firearm until he done a NCIC “RECORDS” check on him. Once he found that Mr. Freeman was clear then he should have Said Thank You and returned the firearm back to Mr. Freeman. It should have gone no further than that. As for the officer… I do not think that he needs to be released of duty but he should be made to take a Florida Gun Law Class so that he is / has the proper knowledge of Florida Gun Laws.

      1. To Grumpy.. No the cop did NOT have the right to detain him and take his firearm until he done a NCIC “RECORDS” check on him. No more than the cop has the right to stop you while you are driving and detain you until he does an “NCIC” records check on you to see if you have any traffic tickets or anything else that would prevent you from operating a motor vehicle on the highway. He has to have at the very least “reasonable suspicion” The man was fishing on a pier with a firearm in a holster. All of which is perfectly legal in the state of Florida. Now he could have asked to see his salt water fishing license. but that would be all. The cop was TOTALLY wrong in walking up behind him and trying to take it out of his holster. He had NO justification whatsoever in detaining him at all.

      2. Grumpy,
        As a LEO I would have to disagree with you. The officers needs probable cause or reasonable suspicion to make contact and detain an individual. The best example I can give is that I can not just stop you driving down the road to check and see if you have a driver’s license, even though the law requires you to have one to operate a motor vehicle. So I have to say based on what I have read the officer was out of line and needs to be held accountable by his agency. That is the only way we can maintain the trust of the community is through our accountability.

        1. Jon, is the gentleman in question Not Innocent Till Proven Guilty?
          Are we already living in a Comunistic Regieme?
          When stopped by any LEO and asked for my Drivers Liscense I always hand them my permit on top of my Liscense. Most every time all I was asked after that was “Are you carrying” where is the weapon never has been asked because my reply is “Yes sir or ma’am, Right side hip & Left side rear pocket backup.”
          That in all but one instance has been “Leave them where they are” and a civil conversation ensued or continued.
          By placing awareness of legality of myself and allowing them full knowledge of situation defuses the outcry of “Gun” placing all in defense mode. Overzealoussness is no excuse, stop and frisk as well of several other common practices should not exist in this manner.
          Reminds me of being on foriegn soil and hearing “Papers Please”!
          Welcome to soviet Florida? Nyet.
          Semper Fi, D’doc

      3. NICS for carrying a gun?? That is tried in MI and we tell em what is the charge? Do they pull over every vehicle on the road to check licenses/insurance??

        Discretionary power–they love it.

    9. This officer should be treated the same as a citizen. RDNK said the scariest thing to me. This officer obviously doesn’t know the law. Which is true. Im a electrician if I didn’t know my job I would be fired. Everyone said the obvious. What would happen if we grabbed his gun? Why are we putting up with this? We are supposed to have more right then a police officer, but its so obvious they dont think that. We need to set examples of these uneducated, inexperienced citizens with badges.

    10. I am pro law enforcement. But to say what this officer did was boneheaded is an understatement. The fact that no shots were fired is absolutely amazing. This is a tragedy that would have been unprecedented in scope. How can any LE think that it is ok to attempt something like this? The fact that this officer did in fact perpetrate an absurdly stupid crime shows how ignorant anyone who has allowed him or her to attain a badge really is. Every law abiding citizen AND law enforcement officers with any form of common sense realizes this for sure. To think otherwise is to be blind.

    11. I say let Tampa PD IAD and city attorney’s office sort it out and make their determination. It’s obvious this officer didn’t know the law and in his mind was protecting the public. The man is human and we all make mistakes. Calling police thugs,pigs,badge punks shows disrespect for all LE. Suspend him without pay for a few months and educate/re-educate the entire Dept. on current Florida firearms laws. The most important issue involving this incident is that nobody was shot,wounded or killed. Remember the saying about casting the first stone ?

      1. Or make him teach the legal aspects of FS 790. Maybe if he has to TEACH it he will LEARN it. Hopefully, this was only a case of an officer making a tragic mistake because of ignorance of FS 790 and not a case of “You might be the rap but you won’t be the ride”.

        1. But don’t teach the unconstitutional part of 790!!!!! Which is 790.29, paramilitary is essential to being in a militia, which is secured by the 2A!!!!! 790.25 is OK though, open carry of a firearm while hunting, fishing or camping and while traveling to and from hunting fishing or camping. I think this cop mat have learned that ignorance of the law is no excuse!!!!!

      2. I think the officer should be made to teach the legal aspects of Florida Statute 790 to the TPD academy students AND tell them why he is being made to do so. Maybe, just maybe if he has to TEACH the law he will KNOW the law. Without knowing more about this officer I will withhold judgment. He could be a brand-new baby-rookie fresh out of the academy and was just overzealous and wasn’t fully knowledgeable about FS790. Most Florida LEOs are not used to seeing people open carry in public like that.

    12. That cop committed assault with a deadly weapon, reckless endangerment, endangering children, and a HOST of other serious crimes. The cop(s) should be in PRISON.
      Unless the badge is on their face, I won’t see it.

      1. Also, what would have happened if he had pulled his concealed backup and shot the cop? Cops like this are a real problem because they either don’t know the limit of their authority or they don’t care. I believe he doesn’t care considering he tried to find something to charge this individual with for no legitimate reason. I’d really like to know the outcome of legal action.

    13. Another pig with a gun, badge and incredible stupidity. This maggot should be charged with assault and battery the same as any citizen would.

      Stop slapping these out-of-control thugs on the wrist!

      1. “Another pig with a gun”, “maggot”, “out of control thugs”. With your mindset the last thing you need access to is a firearm. So many people are anti-gun because the only people that they know who own guns are people like you who are rude and antagonistic.

    14. At the very least this cop should be taken OFF the streets for about a year, put him behind a desk or something: next time this happens it could result in someone getting either shot or badly injured, either way the cop does need to be punished for what he did. A lawsuit is in order.

    15. The officer made antagonistic contact, and that is likely assault and battery (I know it is in Texas).

      Since the officer was acting illegally, I don’t think he can hide behind the badge. Charge him, personally, for a crime?

    16. Tampa PD IAD and the city attorney’s office will sort this incident out. This thing could had easily resulted in someone getting shot. The officer involved will probably be reprimanded at the very least but I don’t think it warrants termination.

      1. RDNK, you are wrong. Read Florida’s law. The officers illegal action does constitute termination and a $5.000 fine.

    17. Can NTS predict the future? NO! Will he EVER be able to predict the future? NO! Are you an idiot to believe he can? YES! Will he call the police ‘badge punks’ the next time his azz is in a jam and he calls 911? NO! Should you give his opinions any weight? NO!

      1. @Clark Kent,I agree with you 100% ! I’m as pro LE as it gets and using the term ‘badge punks’ shows NTS’s total stupidity. But what this particular cop did was off the chart nuts ! The incident will be handled within the Tampa PD,and this officers identity is nobodys business at this time.

      1. Did you not read the story? And then you call someone else an idiot? The whole article is a plea for money to defend Mr Freeman in court.

      2. No, the officer is not an idiot, nor are those defending him or speaking against Mr. Freeman…
        I’ve read Federalist “29 and Federalist #46. As the Fed Papers were called, by the men that wrote it, when they bound the individual essays into a single volume, “The Federalist papers: An Explanation of the Meaning of the New Constitution.” In other words, the Constitution means WHAT TEH FED PAPERS SAY IT MEANS!!!
        Hence, this officer is NOT an idiot. By the words of James Madison in Fed #46, HE’S A TRAITOR AGAINST THE CONSTITUTION!!! And so are all that defend him.
        SUX2BU!!!

      3. Now it takes a real idiot to reach for someones firearm and try to take it. To bad the cop didn’t end up with a bullet in his head for such a stupid move. Some cops should never have a badge pinned to their chest and this is one of them.

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