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Florida Police Chiefs Will Back Revised Open-Carry Bill

 

Acknowledging "momentum" behind a proposal that would allow people with concealed-weapons licenses to openly carry guns, the Florida Police Chiefs Association said Thursday its board of directors had voted to back the controversial measure --- as long as changes designed to protect law-enforcement officers are included.

A spokeswoman confirmed that the police chiefs' group had contacted the sponsors of the proposal (SB 300/HB 163), Sen. Don Gaetz, R-Niceville, and his son, Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fort Walton Beach, who both say they're on board with the changes.

 

  "The police chiefs understand that momentum is building," association spokeswoman Sandi Poreda said. "And because of their concerns for police officers' safety, they wanted to go ahead and reach out to the bill sponsors and work on these amendments, which they believe will better protect officers."

If the measure passes, 1.45 million Floridians with concealed-weapons permits would be able to openly carry guns. Opponents --- including a number of Florida sheriffs --- warn that people who openly display guns could get hurt as a result, either by criminals or law enforcement.

Gun bills will be heavily debated during the 2016 legislative session, which starts Jan. 12. Along with the open-carry proposal, lawmakers are looking at allowing people with concealed-weapons licenses to carry guns on college and university campuses and are considering a proposal to shift a burden of proof in "stand your ground" self-defense cases.

By a vote of 15-7, the police chiefs association's board of directors --- who represent law-enforcement agencies in different districts of the state --- agreed to support the open-carry bill when the amendments are adopted.

In a "Red Alert" email Wednesday to association members, Executive Director Amy Mercer cautioned that the police chiefs' group "reserves the right to oppose the bill in the future, particularly if our amendments are changed or removed or if other amendments are added that are found not to be in the best interest of the FPCA and our members."

Lawmakers will consider four proposed amendments, which have not yet been filed.

One amendment would add a provision to the Senate bill. The amended version would include House language stating that a person who displays a firearm "intentionally … in an angry or threatening manner, not in necessary self defense" is not covered by the proposed open-carry law.

Second, both current versions of the proposal would allow fines to be imposed on people --- including police officers --- who infringe on others' rights to openly carry guns, unless probable cause exists to believe that crimes have been committed. A proposed amendment would ease that standard for law officers, who would be required to have "reasonable suspicion" before stopping people to verify or investigate the carrying of guns.

Third, the current proposal states that no one who infringes on the right to openly carry guns --- including police officers --- would be immune from legal consequences. However, the agreement between the Gaetzes and the police chiefs association specifies that nothing in the bill would be intended to restrict a law enforcement officer's ability or authority to conduct investigations as otherwise allowed by law.

"Sovereign immunity is a vital tool that allows law enforcement officers to perform their duties without fear of frivolous lawsuits," Mercer wrote. "Officers will not fear losing sovereign immunity when investigating a person open or concealed carrying."

The fourth amendment would require a holster for purposes of openly carrying a firearm.

The original versions of the bills have started moving through House and Senate committees. Matt Gaetz said Thursday he expects the changes to be added when lawmakers return to the issues after the first of the year.

"In the next committee in which the bill is heard, either the House Judiciary Committee or the Senate Judiciary Committee, it is my expectation that those amendments will be adopted," Matt Gaetz said.

The Florida Sheriffs Association would not comment Thursday. But Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri, a staunch opponent of open carry, said the four amendments wouldn't make the bill acceptable to him --- or safe for people who openly display their guns.

For instance, he said, if an officer arrives at the scene of a crime and sees someone with a weapon, "At a minimum, they're going to be thrown down on the ground with a gun pointed at them --- or worse."

And if good citizen with a concealed weapon walks into, say, a bank during an armed robbery, Gualtieri added, "he's going to take one in the chest because he's a threat."

"It's not good for Florida, it's not good for the economy, it's not good for tourism," he said.

Don Gaetz, however, pointed to the emerging differences between opponents such as Gualtieri and the police chiefs association.

"Well, he now will have the opportunity to debate that issue with his fellow law-enforcement officers who are taking a different view than he is," Don Gaetz said.

National Rifle Association lobbyist Marion Hammer, who strongly backs the measure, dismissed the critics.

"That's rhetoric. That's reaching," she said. "Every time we do something to protect the rights of law-abiding gun owners, somebody will come up with a 'what if?' "

Source: http://wlrn.org/post/florida-police-chiefs-will-back-revised-open-carry-bill

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Reviews

Naples Gun School - 5 stars Great class!! There was a lot more hands on instruction than the class that I had in Tennessee. David was knowledgeable and entertaining. Good insights on Florida law. My wife will be taking the class shortly. Thanks David. Kevin 9/15/2018

  I thoroughly enjoyed the concealed weapons class on 8/11/18. The class went beyond my expectations. Dave you are an awesome instructor and made the class fun. I would highly recommend Naples Gun Shopping and School! Thanks for sharing your knowledge! - Teresa Cannon

David is an excellent instructor. The class is excellent and exceeded my expectations with information on the laws of Florida, and as well to carry properly, load the weapons as well as placement of holding weapons. If your looking to buy a weapon he is the man to go to. I personally bought my firearm from. - Carlos Casiano

Naples Gun School - 5 stars  Martha Hohenthaner

Naples Gun School - 5 stars  This was a very good class. I did not have to take it, as I am a Veteran, however it is a good idea. I learned a lot about Florida Law I did not know. It will in the long run help keep you out of trouble. David was very patient with my wife when we live fired, because she has arthritis and had a hard time pulling the trigger in double action mode. Good Job David thanks so much..Joseph Hohenthaner

Naples Gun School - 5 stars  The class was engaging and as fast paced as it can be. The instructor was knowledgeable and worked well with a class spanning all the levels of experience and age you can imagine. I also felt it was fairly priced, especially as you just had to bring yourself and an ID - all other supplies were, er, supplied.Cliff Elam 

Naples Gun School - 5 stars  Naples Gun Shop & School gets an A+ in my book! David and Ginny were great. I took the CWP class today 7/21/18. Both are extremely knowledgeable and easy to talk to. David is one of the best instructors that I have had the pleasure of meeting. I highly recommend Naples Gun Shop & School. Best prices, Great training, and easy to deal with. I will definitely be returning to do further business. Thank you David & Ginny....see you soon!Nicholas Lupo

Naples Gun School - 5 stars  I've been a repeat customer for FFL transfers with Naples Gun School for quite some time. Dave's customer service and knowledge are second to none. After speaking with Dave for a few moments, you start to feel as if you have known him for quite a while. I look forward to continuing my business when the new location opens. - Robert Boyette

I really enjoyed the class yesterday, and it was very nice to meet David and Ginny. David is very knowledgeable, helpful, and best of all: has a sense of humor. I was more nervous than I thought I would be because this was the first time in my life that I've ever shot a semi-automatic weapon. David lives and breathes this stuff and his presence and ease with weapons was very calming for me when I was at the range. Ginny was also very supportive throughout the whole class. Thank you guys so much! It's a pleasure and I will be back to purchase supplies from you! - Shenandoah Webb

Naples Gun School - 5 starsTook the 3/31/18 class and loved it! Dave was very informative and his laid back teaching style made the 4 hour class fly by. Would recommend this class to anyone interested in a CWP. Thanks Dave and Ginny! - Kelly Gardner

Naples Gun School - 5 stars I’d like to thank The Naples Gun School for the time and effort they took in order to help me become a more responsible hand gun owner. By taking your CCWP class on 3.31.2018, I’m honestly a better person today than I was yesterday. Your course is not only interesting, but informative as well. The time we had together flew by. Throughout the whole process, they were calm and patient with every student. Especially after everyone seemed to drop their cartridges on the floor during the revolver training portion of the program. I highly recommend Naples Gun School to anyone that’s interested in becoming a CCWP holder. And I definitely will use their services by purchasing all my gun needs through their establishment. David & Ginny, thank you so much. I had a wonderful time!Chris Shaffer

Naples Gun School - 5 stars This class kept me very interested, informed and didn’t even realize 4 hours went by! Would recommend everyone to take this class! - Douglas Shaffer

Naples Gun School - 5 stars - Lurybella Lora Trejo

 

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