Florida Sheriff Supports Open Carry; Criticizes “secret vote”

By Dean WeingartenSheriff Frank McKeithen Bay County Florida

Dean Weingarten
Dean Weingarten

Arizona – -(Ammoland.com)-

Sheriff Frank Mckeithen of Bay County, Florida, has come out in favor of open carry and the Second Amendment, and against the way in which the Florida Sheriffs’ Association conducted a vote to lobby against the open carry bill.  The vote has been represented in the media as a “secret vote”.   The accepted definition of a secret ballot is one in which the identities of the voters are kept secret from the people who count the votes.  That way, reprisals against people who vote for or against a particular measure or person are prevented, and people have less to worry about votes being bought by those in power.  Secret ballots are generally eschewed in legislatures, because it is expected that legislatures *will* be held accountable by the electorate.  From wikipedia.org:

The secret ballot is a voting method in which a voter‘s choices in an election or a referendum are anonymous, forestalling attempts to influence the voter by intimidation and potential vote buying.

But the Sheriffs’ Association vote on the open carry bill was anything but secret, except in the most perverted sense of the term.  The vote was carried out by telephone, so the management of the Sheriffs’ Association had every opportunity to “buy” and influence votes.  The Sheriffs’ votes were not anonymous to the management. The only thing “secret” about the ballot is that the Sheriffs were assured that their votes would not be made public, so that they could not be held accountable by the voters!

By using the term “secret vote”, the management of the Sheriffs’ association gets double duty from the deception: it cloaks the voting as anonymous, and therefore a reflection of the individual Sheriff’s conscience; and it keeps the Sheriffs’ from being held politically accountable for their vote.  It is a Machiavellian masterpiece.  From newsherald.com:

Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri, who is also the legislative committee chair of the FSA, said because of the timing with which the proposal is projected to come up in the legislative session, sheriffs were encouraged to call in and vote by phone and the results would be presented as the group opinion. Other than the tallies being taken by phone, the vote was typical of other decisions the FSA has conducted, he said.

Sheriff Gualtieri heads up the opposition to gun rights in the Sheriffs’ Association.  He is the FSA’s Legislative chairman.  From Ammoland.com:

You’ll remember Sheriff Gualtieri. He’s not known for his support of guns, gun owners or pro-gun legislation.

In May of 2013, he vowed to start enforcing a little-used county ordinance that requires background checks at local gun shows for all private sales. The county ordinance gathered dust since it was enacted in 1998. Violators faced misdemeanor charges. After garnering a few headlines, the plan fizzled. Gun shows were held without any problems. No arrests were ever made.

Bay County Sheriff Frank McKeithen objected to the voting procedure. He believes that individual Sheriffs should be held accountable by the electorate for their stance on such issues. From newsherald.com:

McKeithen said he was one who is in favor of the concept of open carry and that issues with the bill’s language could be dealt with over time. He said as an officer sworn to uphold the Constitution, open carry came down to supporting the Second Amendment.

There is no logical or evidence based reason to ban the open carry of firearms.  The practice is already law in the vast majority of states.  Texas is the most recent addition to those who do not ban open carry, making the total 45 states.  The Florida law is more restrictive than most, only allowing those with a concealed carry permit to carry openly.

There are a few “may issue” states that are highly restrictive of permits to carry either openly or concealed; states such as New Jersey, Maryland, and Hawaii.

c2014 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included. Link to Gun Watch

About Dean Weingarten;

Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of constitutional carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and recently retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.

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henry white

It’s the people who elect to place some of these SHERIFFS in office and those that forget it need to be replaced as soon
as possible.The SHERIFFS of this state want full control of the people in this state and they are trying to make our
state become a NAZI control state by their hand,they for get just who placed them in their office with such high
budgets to operate on,with also such disprective DEPUTYS that are a disgrace to the office in which they work from.


In my opinion, when a person attains public office by means of an election, he then represents the public, and therefor there should be absolutely nothing that he does that is secret, barring things concerning law enforcement and military operations.
This “vote” clearly doesn’t fall into either category. Kudos to Sheriff Frank Mckeithen for making his position clear and I would challenge every Sheriff in that state to come out and either force the secret vote to be made public, or to publically declare their stance publically.