The Racist Roots Of Florida’s Gun Control & How It Is Still Enforced Today

By Luis Valdes

Slave Market in St. Augustine, Florida
Slave Market in St. Augustine, Florida

Florida – -(AmmoLand.com)- The regulation of owning and carrying firearms has been a hotly contested issue since Florida being founded as a US territory in 1821. Why was and is it such an issue? Simple.

Chattel Slavery.

Florida was founded as a slave territory and its entire economy functioned through this barbaric practice. You can’t have a slave society if the very people you are putting in chains have access to arms. So, laws were put in place to create a system that would prevent their escape and ability to rise up against those that oppressed them.

Thus, the regulation and restriction on the carrying of firearms was created. With the Civil War resulting in the abolishment of slavery and the era of Reconstruction, it was believed that true equality would spread throughout Florida and that those now freed would be able to defend themselves from those that wished to enslave them again.

Armed and Free Blacks
Armed and Free Blacks
Armed Black Union Soldiers Came Back to Florida After the War
Armed Black Union Soldiers Came Back to Florida After the War

Alas, Reconstruction ended and the era of Jim Crow began. Lawmakers instituted new laws to strip and disarm Black citizens. The State Constitution was revised in 1885 and it stated the following regarding the ownership and bearing of arms.

The right of the people to bear arms in defense [sic] of themselves, and the lawful authority of the State, shall not be infringed, but the legislature may prescribe the manner in which they may be borne. – Article 1, Section 20, Florida State Constitution, 1885.

As a result, the Segregationists running the Florida Legislature passed a gun control law in 1893 and further revised it in 1901 and 1906—that prohibited the carrying of handguns and repeating rifles, openly or concealed, with ex­ceptions for peace officers and persons licensed by a county commissioner.

The entire system was a may issue process in which the licensing authority could on a whim deny the issuance of a permit to any one of their choosing. Black Floridians were unilaterally disarmed because of this law and were susceptible to violent attacks.

Such attacks were both on the individual level and coordinated. For example, the horrific Ocoee massacre where an affluent Black community in Orange County was utterly destroyed on November 2, 1920. What was so special about that day? It was election day and the goal was to keep Blacks from voting. The FBI showed up a few weeks later, not to investigate the murders or arson. But only to investigate the election fraud.

No one was ever prosecuted for the violence and loss of life.

There was also the Rosewood massacre in Levy County. Another affluent Black community that was burnt to the ground in 1923 under the false pretenses of rape.

Rosewood Massacre
Rosewood Massacre, Remains of Sarah Carrier’s house in Rosewood, Florida, claimed to have been taken January 4, 1923 but probably taken in the days following.

Black Floridians had their homes and businesses destroyed along with their land stolen from them. No one of color lived in Cedar Key or Sumner because of what happened on that first week of January back in 1923. The State of Florida even stayed quiet about the whole ordeal until the late 1980s and didn’t officially apologize until 1994.

On the individual level, numerous Black Floridians were the target of racially motivated violence. One such instance is that of Rubin Stacy, a Black man in Fort Lauderdale who was lynched in 1935 after he was accused of assault and rape because he was Black. Instead of being tried by a jury of his peers in a court of law, Rubin Stacy was dragged from a Sheriff’s car and lynched in broad daylight.

Rubin Stacy’s body publicly hanging in Broward County, Florida.
Rubin Stacy’s body publicly hanging in Broward County, Florida.

Such cases of racial violence are sadly commonplace in Florida’s history. The lawmakers at the time had no issue with it and with the disarming of Florida’s minorities by enforcing laws that restricted the carrying of firearms. The bigots fully supported Jim Crow and knew that an armed Black population would never stand by and allow themselves to be treated as second-class citizens.

Jim Crow Era Segregated Drinking Stations
Jim Crow Era Segregated Drinking Stations

Justice Buford blew the issue wide open in 1941 when he wrote in the opinion of Watson v. State on the truth about Florida’s racist roots of gun control.

“I know something of the history of this legislation. The original Act of 1893 was passed when there was a great influx of Negro laborers in this state drawn here for the purpose of working in turpentine and lumber camps. The same condition existed when the act was amended in 1901 and the act was passed for the purpose of disarming the negro laborers and to thereby reduce the unlawful homicides that were prevalent in turpentine and saw-mill camps and to give the white citizens in sparsely settled areas a better feeling of security.

The statute was never intended to be applied to the white population and in practice has never been so applied. We have no statistics avail­able, but it is a safe guess that more than 80 percent of the white men living in rural sections of Florida have violated this statute. It is also a safe guess to say that not more than 5 percent of the men in Florida who own pistols and repeating rifles have ever applied to the Board of County Commissioners for a permit to have the same in their possession and there has never been, within my knowledge, any effort to enforce the provisions of this statute as to white people, because it has been generally conceded to be in contravention of the Constitution and non-enforceable if contested”.

Justice Buford made it plain as day, the goal of the law was to prevent this.

Proudly Armed Black Family
Proudly Armed Black Family

Those running Florida wanted Jim Crow to stay in place and they knew that a Black population that was armed couldn’t be pushed around.

As time marched forward, Jim Crow started to lose its grasp on Florida during the 1960s with the rise of the Civil Rights Movement. Jim Crow’s last gasps were heard when the State’s Constitution was replaced in 1968. Though numerous changes were made in the name of equality, the abolishment of gun control wasn’t one of those changes.

The right of the people to keep and bear arms in defense of themselves and of the lawful authority of the state shall not be infringed, except that the manner of bearing arms may be regulated by law. – Article 1, Section 8, Florida State Constitution, 1968.

The bigots, racists, and segregationists were able to maintain their monopoly of the carrying of firearms. The people were still beholden to the authority of the state to legally exercise their Second Amendment rights.

Prior to the establishment of shall-issue laws, Florida was still the same system going all the way back to 1893. County governments and their lackeys were the ones who said yes and no on who had the legal ability to carry a firearm for self-protection. In 1987, one of the last pieces of Jim Crow were whittled down. Florida went from may issue to shall issue.

Constitutional Carry

Although Florida has been shall issue in regards to a carry permit since 1987, it is finally time that the last remnant of Jim Crow be cast into the trashbin of history.

Eighteen States and growing have constitutional carry and Indiana is going through the process to become number nineteen. Currently, their constitutional carry bill just passed their state’s House and is on its way to their Senate.

Florida must reclaim its title as the “Gunshine State.” The current hurdle facing Florida’s constitutional carry bill is the legislative dictatorship. Year after year, constitutional carry, open carry, and campus carry are blocked in committee under the authority and direction of the House Speakers and Senate Presidents.

Right now, HB 6001 is the current constitutional carry bill in the House and it is under the authority and order of Republican Rep. Chris Sprowls that this bill is to not be heard and passed from the House’s Criminal Justice Subcommittee.

There are currently over one hundred Republican lawmakers in the House and Senate and yet we can count on one hand the pro-gun bills that have been introduced this legislative session. That is utterly appalling. Worse though, Florida is under the political leadership of a party that campaigns as being pro Civil Rights and pro-Second Amendment. Yet it has been over a decade now that pro-gun bills constantly die in committee and never reach the governor’s desk.

Contact Governor DeSantis and your lawmakers to let them know that they need to support Constitutional Carry so Florida can finally shed one of the last vestiges of Jim Crow still on the books.

Luis Valdes is the Florida Director for Gun Owners of America.


Gun Owners of America

Gun Owners of America has previously supported the right of members and staff to carry firearms on Capitol Hill for self-defense, as GOA supports the rights of all law-abiding citizens to carry firearms in their workplace. Gun Owners of America is a grassroots organization representing more than two million gun owners nationwide and is dedicated to protecting the right to keep and bear arms without compromise.

Gun Owners of America GOA logo

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RoyD
RoyD
7 months ago

He probably had just gotten off work at the turpentine or lumber camp. Yeah, that’s probably the reason.

Police: 12-Year-Old Allegedly Stabbed in Line at Pittsburgh McDonald’s (breitbart.com)

Last edited 7 months ago by RoyD
Whodaty
Whodaty
7 months ago

Constitutional carry, purchase and ownership everywhere, and then ENFORCE the rules already in place for misuse or illegal possession by prohibited persons. No red flags either. Innocent until proven guilty. Hey it’s all in our constitution. Plus non-negotiable minimum sentences for possession or use of a deadly weapon in the commission of ANY crime.

Heed the Call-up
Heed the Call-up
7 months ago
Reply to  Whodaty

No such animal as prohibited persons in our Constitution, that began with the 1938 FFA, and furthered by the ’68 GCA. Our 2A states, “shall not be infringed.”

Procky1
7 months ago

This is a great article. But it circles the target endlessly and never drops the ordinance. It was the DEMOCRATS who held slaves, the DEMOCRATS who created Jim Crow laws and the DEMOCRATSused their enforcement arm, the Clan, to keep “uppity blacks” in their place. There… now THAT wasn’t so hard to say, was it?

Dee
Dee
7 months ago
Reply to  Procky1

Yeah you’re not very bright. Understandably do tho. You’re a Trump guy.

Heed the Call-up
Heed the Call-up
7 months ago
Reply to  Dee

Here is a short video to enlighten you, less than 6 minutes long. It is by a black woman, but you will probably just denigrate her, too. Ignorance is supposed to be bliss, but you do not seem to be a happy person. If you research the New Deal, you will also find how it hurt blacks, as do many of the Democratic policies, including the racial aspect of abortion. The founder of Planned Parenthood was a eugenicist, that should be concerning to you, considering where the clinics are and performed mostly on blacks. From the CDC “Non-Hispanic White women… Read more »

Last edited 7 months ago by Heed the Call-up
Neanderthal75
Neanderthal75
7 months ago

I do hardly applaud your efforts sir, however you are attempting to provide empirical evidence to an individual who does not actually believe in empirical evidence, hard real world facts, or logic. The individual in question, Dee, who in all truth I believe would argue with a road sign and take the wrong way to town, has no interest in honest, open, forthright debate. He or she is not interested in educating themselves or knowing provable historical facts about any subject matter in discussion. The person in question relies solely on emotion and hyperbole to make decisions as to what… Read more »

DIYinSTL
DIYinSTL
7 months ago
Reply to  Dee

It takes very little study of history to learn that Democrats are the party of slavery, Jim Crow, segregation, bigotry, vindictiveness, cancel culture, and a couple dozen other epithets. The only difference between now and a hundred years ago is that in the eyes of Democrats, gun owners are the new negro.

Buster
Buster
7 months ago

Fences work two ways.

musicman44mag
musicman44mag
7 months ago

I gave you a thumbs up. It is common practice to have an escape plan as well as barricades to defend your self against the people you are attacking? It makes it take longer for them to get to you and gives you more time to escape. Makes for a safe and good warfare environment getting to your safe space.

Neanderthal75
Neanderthal75
7 months ago
Reply to  musicman44mag

Well, let us take a look at your premise for just a moment shall we? Have you ever heard of armed drones? Have you ever heard of Secret Service snipers using .375 Cheytac or .460 Steyr sniper systems? These and other sniping platforms are available to all government snipers in all of the alphabet agencies. There are optics which the government owns and has access to, which we mere peasants of a civilian nature cannot buy and cannot own! I wonder why that is? Then we have a little thing like helicopter gunships, owned by the FBI, not just the… Read more »

Dee
Dee
7 months ago
Reply to  Neanderthal75

I stopped reading after your 2nd word. Smh. This sh!t explains your lack of education and bigot thinking. Remove the patriotic sh!t from your name and stop hiding in the closet and be who you really are. I’ll still support you…I’ll fight for your LGBTQ rights!!

Buster
Buster
7 months ago
Reply to  Neanderthal75

When the first shot goes off, it will be decision time for every Law Enforcement officer. If they stay in uniform – sheriff’s deputy, local cop, game warden, state cop – it doesn’t matter – they will be considered enemy and are fair game. There will be no middle ground.

The good cops know who the bad cops are, and the bad cops will get fragged pdq.

MICHAEL J
MICHAEL J
7 months ago

I often wondered why old, obsolete, and outdated laws remain on the books. The answer always seems to be, “just in case”. Politicians make laws but for some reason they are:1. Unable to remove them, 2. Unwilling to remove them or 3. Refuse to remove them. I believe the latter.

Buster
Buster
7 months ago

Whooo-eeeee! I feels me some serious white guilt this time!

Despite the fact that I’m as much Hawaiian and Cherokee as I am “white” European, this article still makes me wanna’ go throw hundred-dollar bills at every black person I see – `cuz we all know blacks in America would be far better off today had their ancestors never come to America.

Neanderthal75
Neanderthal75
7 months ago
Reply to  Buster

Here’s a newsflash for you and your white guilt: If you have never owned slaves, bought or sold slaves, then you are not responsible for the slavery that occurred. Further, the only reason that the slave trade out of West Africa was able to operate was because the more powerful black Nations, AKA tribes, conquered, enslaved, and sold the men, women, and children, they had vanquished and enslaved to the Western Europeans who were not capable of going inland, because of the bad air “mal Aria”. I must also point out that these laws put into place, in not just… Read more »

RoyD
RoyD
7 months ago

What a bunch of horseshit! Lets look at what the author wrote: “I know something of the history of this legislation. The original Act of 1893 was passed when there was a great influx of Negro laborers in this state drawn here for the purpose of working in turpentine and lumber camps. The same condition existed when the act was amended in 1901 and the act was passed for the purpose of disarming the negro laborers and to thereby reduce the unlawful homicides that were prevalent in turpentine and saw-mill camps and to give the white citizens in sparsely settled areas a… Read more »

Ronnie
Ronnie
7 months ago

Funny how Similar this is TO WHAT IS HAPPENING to Us Firearm Owners NOW !! This Government Has Gotten Too Much POWER Over US !! Too Far Left! too Liberal — How is this A CONSTITUTIONAL NATION ! When the Politicians That are to Govern the country DO NOT TREAT US FAIRLY ! their ACTIONS Up to Now – Seem More Like – DICTATORS / TYRANNTS ! And we The People Know That there IS NO ” GUN VIOLENCE EPIDEMIC” by Their Definition! There IS A — ” CRIMINAL EPIDEMIC” !!!!! From Our VIEW —- And they are acting like… Read more »

Dee
Dee
7 months ago
Reply to  Ronnie

If you think this is what going on now then this just broaden the distance we are from solving the real issue. Ronnie don’t you ever compare the shit going on now to what happened in the past. It shows your lack of empathy on past and present racial hatred in this country.

musicman44mag
musicman44mag
7 months ago
Reply to  Dee

MAKING DRASTIC DRACONION LAWS TO DISARM US ALL. Notice the last word in the aforementioned sentence Dee? Your claiming someone else is a racist and showing a perfect example of what racism is. Claiming someone else is racist while making a racist comment. He mentioned the likeness of what happened to blacks back then as to what is happening to all of us. AGAIN notice the last word of the opening sentence. ALL. You are the one separating us drawing conclusions based on your narrow minded brainwashed singular CRT attitude. I recognize it is not your fault though, you are… Read more »

Last edited 7 months ago by musicman44mag
Dee
Dee
7 months ago
Reply to  musicman44mag

Yea no wonder Trump chose the Republican Party to take over because you muthafuckas are some of the stupidest incest filled lowest portion of our country. No wonder Nancy and Chuck wants to wipe you guys out. Lol. Stand behind your phones and your computers. Continue with y’all spineless Ted Cruz wanna-be ass…lol. Because chances are you’re not smarter than me, have less education than I do, don’t make more than me, and probably have less guns than I do. Now nothing I just said doesn’t mean shit to me or does it represent me. I’m a God fearing Husband,father,… Read more »

musicman44mag
musicman44mag
7 months ago
Reply to  Dee

Silly little girl. You say you are better edumacated.

“Love you guys. Wouldn’t be hear if I didn’t”

Dumbass you chose the wrong here.
Go back to your cave little girl troll.

Dee
Dee
7 months ago
Reply to  Dee

Keep sucking Trump Dick dumb ass. Btw, everyone knows that his little 4 secs of fame is gone. The last of ya 25% of y’all boomers will die before the next election and the others will continue to be outsmart by Schumer. Im just glad that that ammoland is read more by bigots and boomers than progressives and smart people. I guess I’m the only dumb ass that believe y’all can be helped.

Neanderthal75
Neanderthal75
7 months ago
Reply to  Dee

Go cry me a river concerning the racists of BLM and antifa who burned to the ground black owned and brown owned and asian-owned businesses after looting those businesses!

You are a willfully ignorant leftist twit!

get honest, get educated, then come back.

Cheers from the oil patch in Central Wyoming

Dee
Dee
7 months ago
Reply to  Neanderthal75

Again by the state of the definition, minorities in the USA CANT be racist dumb ass!!

Heed the Call-up
Heed the Call-up
7 months ago
Reply to  Dee

You might want to crack a dictionary and read the definition.

Racism – a belief that race is a fundamental determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race.

behavior or attitudes that reflect and foster this belief: racial discrimination or prejudice.

So where in that definition does it state that minorities cannot espouse racism? You are proof that it exists.

Rebel VA
Rebel VA
7 months ago
Reply to  Dee

bullshit!

Neanderthal75
Neanderthal75
7 months ago
Reply to  Dee

Every post you make bruise your willful ignorance, your inability to be honest, your severe lack of historical understanding, and a serious pension to act like a five year old throwing a tantrum!

Grow up toddler!

Dee
Dee
7 months ago
Reply to  Neanderthal75

Lol…Kanye runs Wyoming. That’s why you luv it there?

Neanderthal75
Neanderthal75
7 months ago
Reply to  Dee

Kanye knows the inside of mental institutions considerably better than he understands the world around him.

Kind of like you.

Big John
Big John
7 months ago
Reply to  Ronnie

Ironic isn’t it, what happened over a century is happening once again, and even more ironic is it is the same political party that created those draconic laws then is the same political party today. Yes, it is the Democratic Party that created the racist past, to put and keep all people of color in their place. So sad that our country experienced such a grave inhuman tyranny from the left and that we appear, in our efforts to erase all vestiges of our past, that we are now bound to repeat it. Well, buckle up because we are now… Read more »

Dee
Dee
7 months ago
Reply to  Big John

Another idiot who doesn’t know anything about the history of our political system.

Neanderthal75
Neanderthal75
7 months ago
Reply to  Dee

Normally I would say kettle meet pot, but quite frankly you haven’t obtained to that level of ignorance, you’re still down in the which way do I go, which way do I go level!

Metaphorically speaking here is your binky, please take it and find a corner to sit in and calm yourself.

117
117
7 months ago

Very well written and informative, thank you.

Dee
Dee
7 months ago

I really just don’t know how to construct my words on the article. All I can say is the multitude of dislikes I have received on ammoland since my time on here explains there’s tons more hate and people who just doesn’t want to see true patriotism in this country. So hence 2020!! The old saying goes “don’t turn a molehill into a mountain” well I think the momentum is becoming a mountain unfortunately. But it should have just been human rights, constitutional rights, and an American right to treat ALL Americans equal. Racism is real and non-whites in this… Read more »

Alan in NH
Alan in NH
7 months ago
Reply to  Dee

Dee, there is plenty of racism out there on both sides. Until you open your eyes and see it from every perspective, there will be no hope of fixing it.

Dee
Dee
7 months ago
Reply to  Alan in NH

Then obviously you do not know the definition of racism.

Dave in Fairfax
Dave in Fairfax
7 months ago
Reply to  Dee

Dee,

Enlighten us. My bet is that YOU don’t know the definition and can’t apply it properly.
Your previous statement about non-whites not being capable of racism proves that you don’t know what the definition is. Your routine changes in diction show that you are a troll rather than someone who has a true interest in fixing anything.

Last edited 7 months ago by Dave in Fairfax
Dee
Dee
7 months ago

You on your phone. Use google…wait!! That’s above your education level.

Dave in Fairfax
Dave in Fairfax
7 months ago
Reply to  Dee

Dee, You didn’t look it up. I know the difference. I also know not to use Google for anything. You have no idea what my level of education is. You are full of assumptions and insults, but have no knowledge of anything. The problem is that you are proud of your ignorance and refuse to learn anything. That’s a whole new level of special. What has me interested is the amount of time you spend on the web for somebody who says that they are too busy. I’m also intrigued by the number of computers that you use. Either you… Read more »

Last edited 7 months ago by Dave in Fairfax
Arny
Arny
7 months ago
Reply to  Dee

I seen this racism you speak of NOT EXISTING when I was a child. I still see it at times in todays society. No where what it used to be. But it’s there & from all races. In school as a child I seen what racism was not knowing it at the time (1970s). I heard a many of their parents making many statements to the fact of not wanting me in their households because of my skin pigmentation (white). Not of anything I had done personally. Or my family to theirs. Then & now I have black people in… Read more »

TimmC
TimmC
7 months ago
Reply to  Dee

Your right Dee there is only one race….Human. Racism has been on the decline with every generation and only remains with an archaic few. Bigotry does still remain. We ALL must stop using words or phrase’s of color. I am not a black American, I am a American. He not that white guy over there, he’s just that guy over there. Unfortunately too many in media are profiting from keeping this from happening. They want us in our collective little boxes, rich, poor, gay, Jewish, Evangelical,Asian,urban,white,Black etc etc. We are individuals and need to treat each other that way. The… Read more »

Dee
Dee
7 months ago
Reply to  TimmC

Do you think most folks believe what you written? I would only wish. Do you think black America have been fairly treated in this country? Are you a freedom fighter fighting for the human right of Americans?

Buster
Buster
7 months ago
Reply to  Dee

Racism Racism Racism…Keep stokin’ that non-existent fire, Dee.

Follow the money

musicman44mag
musicman44mag
7 months ago
Reply to  Buster

You can blame the resurgence on Obama. He rekindled the flames of racism. Fing muslim did just what they wanted. Made us separate and take sides against each other right after we had shown that we were beyond that. Do you think obummer would have become president without the white vote or did they have it all set up like they did for obiden and we didn’t catch it. I am sick and tired of all this crap. We need to grow up, forgive but not forget and go beyond what happened in the past like we were doing. We… Read more »

Buster
Buster
7 months ago
Reply to  musicman44mag

Blame Blame Blame…

The only real problem blacks in America face is the 6 inches between their ears – the exact same problem you and I have.

No amount of brow-beating by the likes of Dee is going to address the root of the problem – it only serves to exacerbate the problem.

Dee
Dee
7 months ago
Reply to  Buster

You truly can’t sound any more stupid than you sound right now. But again it’s your 6 inches that seems more laughable.

Buster
Buster
7 months ago
Reply to  Dee

Yeah right…Let’s hear LeBron James (the self-made multi-multi millionaire) tell us all about how whitey is keepin’ the black man down. LeBron was able to overcome all the racism and bigotry and all the evil things whitey did (and still does), but the “average” black in America just can’t do it?? What an arrogant, hypocritical POS! Look at 90% of the hood rats. Look at how they dress. Listen to what they say and how they talk. I’m a business owner. I desperately need good people – I don’t care what their race is. But I defy you to give… Read more »

musicman44mag
musicman44mag
7 months ago
Reply to  Dee

Oh you are so full of shit. Ever hear of Farakan, or Samuel L. Jackson, who belonged to the Black Panther Party. Black Panther Party, the group that goes to the polling place and tries to stop whitey from voting. Ya but obummer said it was ok so since your bro said it was koo than I guess it iz.
Only white people can be racist. That just shows what I said earlier is true. You are the racist spewing shit on this page and trying to divide people.

Last edited 7 months ago by musicman44mag
Dee
Dee
7 months ago
Reply to  musicman44mag

Lol…yea you been listening to your “Fake News” guys a little too much. Think about how stupid that sounds.