Florida Open Carry
Florida State Legislature & Governor
Florida Open Carry
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1. The open carry of holstered handguns used to be legal throughout Florida - it is an old right, not a new threat. In fact, 43 states allow the increasingly common "open carry" of handguns in public, in most states at age 18 without any permit; unfortunately, Florida is one of only 7 states generally banning open carry.
2. The US Supreme Court in District of Columbia v. Heller (2008) held that the right to bear arms means "the individual right to possess and carry weapons in case of confrontation;" and subsequently in McDonald v. Chicago (2010) the Court held that this right warranted applicability against not just federal but also state regulation because bearing arms was "among those fundamental rights necessary to our system of ordered liberty."
3. We acknowledge that limiting the privilege to conceal handguns in Florida to those over 21 years of age via a fee based permit system is a reasonable exercise of our state's police powers, but only if the core right to carry, i.e. "open carry," remains available to all. Despite the increasing popularity of open carry across most of the United States, a recent FBI study essentially concludes that criminals don't open carry. See Dr. Anthony Pinizzotto, et al., Violent Encounters: A Study of Felonious Assaults on Our Nation's Law Enforcement Officers, FBI (2006) (finding that violent criminals carefully "conceal" their guns and "eschew holsters"), summary available at http://www.forcesciencenews.com/home/detail.html?serial=62.
4. Our treasured constitutional tradition does not favor burdening the exercise of fundamental rights with prior restraints or fee based registration and licensing schemes when it comes to voting, publishing a newspaper, distributing handbills, or standing up for our 4th or 5th Amendment rights; having a different rule for the Second Amendment makes a mockery of the founders vision for America, as well as that of the framers of the 14th Amendment who intended to meaningfully protect Second Amendment rights in every state.
For the foregoing reasons, we residents of the State of Florida urge the Legislature and Governor to take action and restore open carry rights across Florida to all adults.