Tallahassee, FL – Florida’s elected law enforcement officials, including Florida Sheriffs Association, announced a proposal to protect law abiding, concealed carry permit holders from arrest if they accidentally display a firearm in public.
The FSA is offering this proposal to protect Florida’s 1.5 million concealed carry permit holders and clarify Florida laws related to the inadvertent display of firearms, without legalizing complete open carry.
The proposal asks the legislature to consider an alternative that closes the loopholes but balances public safety concerns and stops short of Florida becoming a complete open carry state.
In a recent appearance before the House Criminal Justice Subcommittee, NRA Past President and current United Sportsmen of Florida President Marion Hammer stated as the reason for their support of the current open carry bill that “there have been problems for years of license holders who were carrying concealed whose firearms accidentally and unintentionally became visible to the sight of another person, being stopped, harassed and even arrested and prosecuted under the ban on open carry because somebody saw their gun.”
Included in the proposal released today by the FSA are provisions to solve any concern of arrest or prosecution of concealed carry permit holders without negatively impacting public safety, tourism, private businesses and the general public law enforcement officers serve and protect.
The FSA’s proposal:
– Requires that someone intentionally and deliberately violate the law before they can be arrested;
– Creates a presumption that a concealed carry permit holder is lawfully carrying;
– Creates immunity for lawful citizens that did inadvertently or accidentally display their firearm;
– Creates a requirement that a person be allowed to explain the situation and that they cannot be convicted if they were not given an opportunity to explain; and
– Authorizes an expunction of the criminal history record associated with an arrest under this section if the person is found not guilty or if the charge is dismissed – regardless of other eligibility requirements.
In Florida, firearms owners may:
– Openly carry a firearm in their home and on their property;
– Openly carry a firearm at their place of business in accordance with the business’s rules;
– Openly carry a firearm to and from a recreational activity including hunting or target shooting;
– Carry a firearm concealed in a vehicle without a permit; and
– Carry concealed with a concealed carry permit from the State of Florida.