Random Thoughts About Florida Open Carry & “Gun Free Zones”

By Robert Farago

Constitutional Carry Open Carry
Random Thoughts About Florida Open Carry & “Gun Free Zones”
Robert Farago
Robert Farago

USA –-(Ammoland.com)- Florida is home to more licensed concealed carriers than any other state.

Yet it remains one of the handful of states that don't allow some form of open carry. Although it's hardly practiced — thanks to law enforcement ready, willing and able to charge open carriers with Disorderly Conduct or Breach of Peace — even gun-averse Massachusetts recognizes the right to bear arms in plain view.

What's up with that?

According to wikipedia.org, 4,733,359 registered Democratic voters call Florida home, compared to 4,459,087 registered Republicans. That's less than a three percent advantage. Donald Trump's razor-thin victory — 4,617,886 votes to Hillary Clinton's 4,504,975 — highlights the split. More to the point, it indicates the critical importance of Florida's 2,949,668 unaffiliated voters.

Even though Florida's state government is now solidly Republican, gun rights advocates pushing for open carry and the elimination of “gun free zones” ignore voters who are neither hard-core firearms freedom lovers nor gun control advocates at their peril.

The question: how to frame the debate?

If ditching “gun free” zones in the “Gunshine State” was simply a matter of appealing to reason, the argument speaks for itself. More accurately and tragically, the recent carnage at The Pulse nightclub and Fort Lauderdale airport's baggage claim makes the point without the need for exposition.

Common sense tells voters that if someone (other than law enforcement) had been armed in the club or airport they could have defended themselves. And, perhaps, others. Precious lives may have been saved.

At the same time, it is both factually and logically demonstrable that none of the current gun control laws would have prevented the killing. And, by extension, other homicidal attacks. Ipso facto. It's also hard if not impossible for the average person to imagine any law that would have forestalled the slaughter.

Which leaves opponents of eliminating gun free zones in a bind. Like this [via miamiherald.com]:

Dania Beach Democratic Rep. Evan Jenne — whose district includes the Fort Lauderdale airport and whose father, Ken, is a former Broward County sheriff — said it’s unrealistic to think armed bystanders could successfully intervene as a hero without consequence.

The more likely scenario, he and gun violence experts argue, would be that when police arrive on scene, they wouldn’t know which person with the gun was the instigating shooter, and that could delay aid to victims.

“You may get lucky and it may work once or twice,” Jenne said, “but I firmly believe in my heart of hearts that you’re just going to end up with a more chaotic situation and more people hurt and killed.”

Armed Americans adding to the death and injury toll during an attack is a more likely scenario? At the moment, it only exists in “gun violence experts” imagination. Given the real-world coverage of the assaults trying to make that potential scenario more frightening than what actually happened is a strategy that's, thankfully, doomed to failure.

In many ways, open carry is the heavier lift. It's one thing to “allow” guns, whether in current “secure areas” or in the wild. It's quite another to see them.

Even though there haven't been any examples of open carriers gone wild in the states where it's legal, the idea of openly armed people in everyday life is compelling to people who don't own or carry firearms. And not in a good way.

Of course, that's not an argument against open carry, per se. Which is why open carry opponents lump the elimination of “gun free zones” with open carry and generalize the issue, wringing their hands at the prospect of “guns everywhere.” Like this:

But gun experts and recent studies say easier access to guns won’t lead to a safer state.

“If it were true that having everyone armed all the time in our society was a recipe for a safer America, states that have more guns everywhere would be safer,” said Ari Freilich, staff attorney for the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. “They would have lower rates of gun violence, gun deaths and mass shootings than states that have taken steps to take guns out of the public sphere.”

Gun control advocates are now “gun experts”? Puh-lease.

More importantly, you and I know that these “more guns equals more deaths” studies are biased and entirely misleading — by their own admission. To wit (from the link provided): “this correlation does not prove a causal relationship between stronger gun laws and fewer gun deaths.”

Second Amendment
Second Amendment

Even so, Freilich's fake news statement sounds authoritative. It capitalizes on the general public's general disinterest with statistics. And general ignorance about “gun violence.”

Overcoming this FUD to gain support for open carry requires . . . more gun owners. Only those who know that firearms are safe in their hands can truly understand how they can be safe in other's hands. “Even” when the guns are in plain view.

There's one thing missing in the Herald's article on the debate in Florida over open carry and the elimination of “gun free zones” in Florida. Something that should supersede the pros and cons. The Second Amendment.

Americans have a natural, civil and Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms in any manner they wish. Truth be told, the “argument” over open carry and gun free zones was settled when the Bill of Rights was enacted on December 15, 1791.

The Florida campaign for open carry and the elimination of “gun free zones” is a clear case of gun rights restoration, a return to the principles that form the bedrock of our republic. Principles that can only be altered by amending the United States Constitution, and maybe not even then. It's a shame that the pro-gun effort isn't viewed as such.

Robert Farago is publisher of The Truth About Guns.

About The Truth About Guns :

Robert Farago founded The Truth About Guns in February of 2010 to explore the ethics, morality, business, politics, culture, technology, practice, strategy, dangers and fun of guns. The TTAG team’s been at it ever since. We’ve built the site on word-of-mouth, strong writing, and a no-holds-barred attitude. Visit: www.thetruthaboutguns.com

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Phillip Evans
Phillip Evans
3 years ago

The “Pro-Second Amendment” RINOs in the Senate are using last year’s warmed over leftovers again. This might be the same garbage we’re getting. BUT WE ARE NOT THE SAME! There’s something even BETTER than open carry fishing, or an empty holster protest. We are going to do peaceful but IN YOUR FACE (to the lip-service politicians) protests! The following First Amendment actions are all LEGAL right now under current Florida law. 1. Dust covers (sometimes called “Glock socks”) on OWB holster carried pistols that have a printed picture of a firearm, letting even a casual observer know they are observing… Read more »

hippybiker
hippybiker
3 years ago

Why do you feel it necessary to censor my comments?

Randall Anderson
Randall Anderson
3 years ago

to: RealAmericansAgainstProGunAntiAmericans Least I resort to name calling and actually base my statements on true and actual facts…. First we don’t care what you say, we left the UK and then had to kick UK ass to get away from your type of ignorance and tyranny. That said, keep your bigoted, socialist, repressive, bias, tyrannical, and oppressive mushy brain the H*LL in UK and stay the H*LL out if the US…you will be safer!!! You brain dead idiot….oh, my gosh I regress to lower order of human evolution and started name calling. Geesh, I’m sorry [sic] I hope I didn’t… Read more »

Bill
Bill
3 years ago

Guns don’t, kill people kill

Martin
Martin
3 years ago

@RAAPGAA The person who states that he is safer in the UK than if he lived in a US State with Open Carry obviously has his head in a dark, warm place and does not really wish to understand the true statistics of gun ownership. I live in a State with Open Carry and for the most part, those who carry openly are contractors or people who work out where there are critters that might be searching for a “free meal”. The majority of gun deaths in the US take place in cities and states that have stringent laws against… Read more »

hippybiker
hippybiker
3 years ago

Raap ect. I live in FL, and you are an idiot and a bold faced liar. In 2016 there we were just over 562 total homicides in the entire State. Compare that to one city in IL. that had over 4000 shootings and over 700 homicides. By the way, FL. has a larger population and more transients and tourists. Also, we have more densely populated urban areas then IL.
Please go back to Hufblow.

RealAmericansAgainstProGunAntiAmericans
RealAmericansAgainstProGunAntiAmericans
3 years ago

What proof do you ever have of a “law abiding gun owner” stopping a “bad guy with a gun”? None. All “bad guys with a gun” started off as a “good guy with a gun”. Who is going to protect us from you “good guys” if you decide to go nuts? BTW, Florida has a homicide rate higher than NY,NJ, IL and CA. I’m safer in the UK than I am in FL. This article is written by a racist, fascist, sexist, bigoted fraud that calls himself a “champion of rights” when he is nothing but a mentally disturbed shill… Read more »

Wild Bill
Wild Bill
3 years ago

@RAAPGAA In answer to your question: The facts get reviewed on a local level by one of the various police agencies; then categorized; then bundled together and reported as what we all call statistic. As to racist, fascist, sexist, and bigot all those epithets are so over used that no one cares about them anymore. Can you, please, come up with some other more interesting insults.

kristen
kristen
3 years ago

Everyone starts off as a good guy. As a baby you don’t have the ability to be a criminal or preform criminal acts. Give me evidence to back up your thoughts. Just because someone supports, believes in and fights for the Second Amendment doesn’t make them a racist, fascist, sexist or bigot. And if it does, than are the minorities that support, believe in and fight for the Second Amendment also all those things? What about the LGBTQ community? What if we start attacking the First Amendment and every other that you Liberals hide behind like you attack the Second… Read more »

Scott
Scott
3 years ago

Truly ignorant comments, all scenarios of a bad guy with a gun are ended with a good guy with a gun solving the problem. The fact of you being safer in the U.K. than in Florida is documented so many times as false it just boggles the mind.
https://ucr.fbi.gov/crime-in-the-u.s/2015/crime-in-the-u.s.-2015/home
As to the authors credentials, pretty sure that you just libeled and slandered an individual that laws provide relief for… Please educate yourself.

Vanns40
Vanns40
3 years ago

And that, dear reader, is why we always come back to the one immutable truth in life; when someone has no facts and can’t present a cogent rebuttal they resort to name calling and insults.

Wayne Clark
Wayne Clark
3 years ago

I have never heard such an idiotic & contrived interpretation of what you just tried to sell as any form of facts. Read the news for the answer to your first question. First, all “bad guys with a gun” starting off as a “good guy with a gun”, is no more feasable than all Democrats starting off as Republicans ! If someone is a “bad guy”, he’s had that propensity his whole life. A “good guy” COULD turn bad…but they didn’t start out that way. Bad guys, started out as bad guys, with bad intentions, that aquired a gun legally… Read more »