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NRA-ILA: Institute for Legislative Action

Florida Alert! Pinellas Sheriff fights open-carry bill with bad info

DATE:

October 22, 2015

TO:

USF & NRA Members and Friends

FROM:

Marion P. Hammer

 

USF Executive Director

 

NRA Past President

 

Yesterday, the Florida Sheriffs Association (FSA) came out against the open carry bill, SB-300 by Sen. Don Gaetz and HB-163 by Rep. Matt Gaetz.  It is a bill to stop concealed weapons and firearms license holders from being arrested for violating the open carry law if their firearms become accidentally and unintentionally exposed to the sight of another person.

Sheriff Bob Gaultieri, the Florida Sheriff Organization's Legislative Chairman, announced the organization's opposition to the bill in an inflammatory interview with the Palm Beach Post -- without having the courtesy of informing the bill sponsors of their opposition.  Sen. Gaetz told me he learned of their opposition when he read it in the newspaper.

It is important to remember that this is a reversal of their position from when we passed the Right to Carry law in 1987.  At the time they opposed the concealed weapons licensing law.  They claimed they didn't like "hidden guns."  They said if they had to allow citizens to carry guns, they wanted to be able see them so they would know who had guns.  Now, they say hidden guns are okay, but if they see a person openly carrying a gun they won't know if that person is a criminal.

Below is an article just posted on the Sarasota Herald-Tribune website that exposes the misinformation Sheriff Gaultieri gave in his Palm Beach Post interview (the article also contains a link to that interview).  You should read both.

http://thegunwriter.blogs.heraldtribune.com/19764/pinellas-sheriff-fights-open-carry-bill-with-bad-info/

Pinellas Sheriff fights open-carry bill with bad info

Posted on October 22, 2015 by Lee Williams

In a Q&A style interview published Wednesday on the Palm Beach Post’s opinion blog, Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri, who chairs the Florida Sheriff’s Association’s legislative committee, spelled out his opposition to SB 300, the “Open Carry” bill, which is moving forward in the legislature.

I interviewed him for this story, and we spoke about his comments in the Post’s Q&A interview.

The sheriff  bristled somewhat when I asked if he was a Second Amendment supporter.

“I really don’t like that statement,” he said. “The Constitution is the Constitution, and I support every amendment, but every amendment is not without limit.”

You’ll remember Sheriff Gualtieri. He’s not known for his support of guns, gun owners or pro-gun legislation.

In May of 2013, he vowed to start enforcing a little-used county ordinance that requires background checks at local gun shows for all private sales. The county ordinance gathered dust since it was enacted in 1998. Violators faced misdemeanor charges. After garnering a few headlines, the plan fizzled. Gun shows were held without any problems. No arrests were ever made.
 

A year later he called the Firearms Mandatory Evacuation bill — which is now law — “crazy” and “absurd,” saying it would allow people to carry concealed firearms into a riot, rather than when they’re fleeing their homes.
 

In his interview with the Post, some of Sheriff Gualtieri’s responses are confusing. Others are downright wrong.
   
I wasn’t the only one who noticed.

“I am saddened to see so much misunderstanding and erroneous information about a bill that simply protects the rights of law-abiding concealed weapons and firearms license holders,” said Marion Hammer. “The apparent distrust of law-abiding firearms owners by their sheriffs is indeed very sad and disappointing.”

Hammer is the executive director of the Unified Sportsmen of Florida, a past-president of the National Rifle Association and an NRA board member.

Math issues

Sheriff Gualtieri starts by claiming 82 percent of the sheriffs oppose open carry.  They took a secret vote, he said, during which 47 of the 67 sheriffs voted to oppose the bill. While my dad taught math for 33 years, I’m no mathematician, but that seemed more like 70 percent than 82 percent. It causes one to wonder why they have to skew the numbers.

The sheriff told me there were 5 sheriffs who abstained and 5 who could not be contacted, so 57 voted.

I’ll give him the 5 who didn’t answer their phones, but an abstention is still a vote.

This drops his 82 percent down to 75 percent. That much is clear.

Same restrictions as concealed carry

Sheriff Gualtieri told the Post that SB-300 it too broad and has no limits, but that’s not the case. The bill is not broad. It does have limits. It has the same limits that apply to concealed carry, and to clarify that those restriction apply, an amendment was added Tuesday to the bill in Senate Criminal Justice Committee.

The sheriff didn’t agree that the same restrictions would apply.

“That’s arguable,” he told me. “It also says the courts, in interpreting any statute not just this one, are to apply strict scrutiny. It calls into question whether any existing statute, under the strict scrutiny analysis, would survive. All have been analyzed under the intermediate scrutiny analysis. I don’t know if any (restrictions) would survive if the bill would become law.”

I’m no attorney, but this argument stinks, and it’s not Hoppes #9 I’m smelling.

No rifles

The Post story included  a picture of three men queued up in a fast-food restaurant. One had an M4 slung over his back. But SB-3oo only applies to handguns. It specifies that no long guns, rifles or shotguns, may be carried concealed or openly except as provided in 790.25 (hunting, fishing, camping, etc.)

“I didn’t choose the photos,” the sheriff said. “It (the bill) is purely about handguns. I never mentioned rifles.”

Good point, sheriff.

Produce license upon request

The sheriff said the bill “raises questions” about a police officer’s ability to ask an open-carrier to produce their concealed-carry license.

But under existing law, 790.06(1), license holders are required to have the license with them “at all times in which the licensee is in actual possession of a concealed weapon or firearm and must display both the license and proper identification upon demand by a law enforcement officer.”

That same restriction apply to open carry. It’s in the bill.

Gualtieri admitted same.

“That’s true, assuming that all that survives,” he acknowledged.

Private property rights

In the Post story, Gualtieri claimed that a Day Care or a McDonald’s won’t be able to bar people from open carry or “having their guns on tables” while eating.

This too is false.

There is nothing in the bill that in any way impacts the private property rights of others. Any businesses or person may prohibit the open carry of firearms on their private property.

The sheriff does not see it this way.

“No. It says right now they can carry a firearm openly anywhere they’re lawfully allowed to be,” he told me. “Certainly, the best way to protect private property rights is to remove any ambiguous language, soit clearly says private property owners can do that.”

Stop prosecutions

One of the main reasons the bill has garnered so much support is that it will stop the overzealous arrests and prosecutions of concealed carriers whose clothing rides up and they unintentionally display a handgun.

The sheriff said these law-abiding citizens shouldn’t be “dinged” for a simple mistake, but that certainly has happened. Arrests have been made. We tried it the Sheriffs’ way in 2011 — in good faith. Instead of going to simple open carry, we agreed to an amendment by the sheriffs that was supposed to stop abuse of people who were carrying concealed.

It didn’t work.

Licensed concealed carriers were still arrested for violation of the open carry law if their firearm accidentally and unintentionally became exposed to the sight of another person. Their amendment said it was not a violation of the open carry law for a gun being carried concealed to be briefly exposed to the sight of another person. That amendment didn’t work, and the abuse only got worse.

The sheriff told me that no “good people” should be prosecuted for a mistake. Unfortunately, they still are.

The law in 45 states

The Post asked Gaultieri why 45 states allow open carry.

In his response, he said it’s not an “apples to apples” or an “accurate” comparison, because Florida has a strong preemption law.

For the life of me, I couldn’t figure out what he meant by that, so I asked.

“The proponents and sponsors are trying to use the statement persuasively that Florida is the only one of five states that don’t have open carry — trying to say that 45 have laws similar to Florida that would allow straight open carry — that there are no issues in other places, so there will be no issues here — that if it’s good in 45 states, is should be good here,” he said. “Take Pennsylvania — their statute is very, very narrow. Oklahoma requires a holster. You can’t stick a .45 in your pocket. Texas (open carry) law doesn’t take effect until 2016. To sit there and say this has worked out in other places so it would work here is wrong. There’s a whole myriad of laws in other states. They’re not examples. There’s a big difference between the Poconos and downtown Miami.”

I told the sheriff that of course different states had different provisions and that the 45-state analogy should be taken on the whole, but he didn’t agree.

“Show me a major metro area where you don’t have to have a handgun in a holster, or where there’s no (mandatory) weapons retention training,” he said.

Bearing arms

Sheriff Gaultieri told me he “absolutely” supports the right to carry a concealed firearm, but he refuses to support open carry.

“What I am against is the unnecessary and unreasonable display of firearms,” he said. “There’s no right here being infringed on. Everyone has a right to carry a firearm concealed.”

I told him most folks view open carry as the “bearing arms” part of the Second Amendment, but the sheriff doesn’t agree.

“No. the Florida Constitution states that we can have reasonable gun restrictions, and the Federal Constitution — people read too much into it,” he said. “The Fourth Amendment says people should be free of unreasonable search and seizure. It doesn’t say all search and seizure. I don’t think it’s good to be sitting in the public cereal aisle, and to see some guy with two .45s stuck in his bathing suit. If they want to carry concealed, they need to be discreet about it.”

I want to thank the sheriff for taking the time to talk to me, even though I’m one of those who, in his view, is certainly guilty of reading too much into the Second Amendment.
 

NRA-ILA: Institute for Legislative Action

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© 2015 National Rifle Association of America, Institute For Legislative Action. To contact NRA-ILA call 800-392-8683. Address: 11250 Waples Mill Road Fairfax, Virginia 22030.
 


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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

 

Naples Gun School - 5 stars Used Naples Gun School for a FFL transfer and after talking with David decided to take his CCW class and am glad I did. David is very knowledgeable and his class is small so you receive one on one training in the classroom and the range. I Highly recommend Naples Gun School. You won’t find a better class in Naples. Thank you David for a great experience. - Michael Ferrarelli

 

Naples Gun School - 5 stars Thorough, energetic, knowledgeable, PATIENT, and even entertaining at times! As an Educator, I know it can be daunting sometimes to teach the same material over and over, but David certainly didn't show it. You can tell how passionate he is about what he does.
I researched multiple options around town in choosing the provider for my CCW class. David & Ginny as a husband & wife team, provided the BEST CUSTOMER SERVICE in answering all of my questions thoroughly and promptly before even signing up. And somehow, Naples Gun School was also able to provide the LOWEST COST in town!
As a female and brand new to guns, David & Ginny made me feel safe, secure, and comfortable. THANK YOU! A+++ -
Jessica Payne

 

I took the class on 3/10/18 and I was blown away. David and his wife are excellent people and 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 and he equipped me with great knowledge during my time there. I give this class 100 out of 100 and highly recommended. David is a great guy and instructor with many years of experience!! - Cory Duffy

 

Naples Gun School - 5 stars - Larry Papola

 

Naples Gun School - 5 stars Awesome class. Great preparation for firearm handling and concealed carry details. - Jeffrey Alty

 

Naples Gun School - 5 stars Very informative. Was made to feel very comfortable. Had some prior gun knowledge, left with a lot more. I highly recommend anyone thinking about getting their permit go there. - Sara Bunker

 

Naples Gun School - 5 stars I attended the conceal carry and gun safety training class on Feb 17th, 2018. David was very knowlegable and provided a lot of information that I think should be part of any gun safety or conceal carry training. He was very professional and took the time after the class and before we met at the gun range to answer several questions I had as well as show me a few different gun options they sell. I highly recommend David and Naples gun shop & school for anyone wanting to seriously learn what they need to before purchasing or using a firearm. Thank you, David! - Amanda Daves

 

Thanks again! Not only was is very informative, but fun as well. So glad we came to y'all for the class. - Sara Bunker

 

I had a great experience and your class was very informative. Thank you - Robby Bunker

 

Naples Gun School - 5 stars Great experience, willing to give one on one instruction and very patient for beginners! - Tiffany Baker

 

Had a great experience at the CCW class. Dave explained the information throughly and made it very easy to understand. I would definitely recommend the class to anyone interested.. -Scott Sioma

 

Naples Gun School - 5 starsGreat class!!! David really takes his time to show you how to feel Comfortable with the fire arm. - Alonzo Gonzalez

 

Enjoyed the class very much! It was well taught and all the information was presented professionally and was easy to understand. I was nervous at first but our instructor put our minds at ease. Would definitely recommend! - Tony Aceto

 

Naples Gun School - 5 starsEnjoyed the class, everything well explained. The David(instructor )explain in a way everybody understand and in a dynamic way. I will recommend it without a doubt. Thanks guys! - Joel Davila

 

I had an amazing experience in the CCW class that David teaches! This class was so informative and interesting. The way David presented everything made it extremely fun and easy to retain. The size of the class was 12 people, so we all got one on one training and I feel it was the perfect size of class. I learned so many important things that I never would have even thought about without this class. Ginny was also so wonderful, and so supportive when I was nervous. I had so many questions that were answered, and the amount of knowledge Ginny and Davis shared with the class was astounding. I feel very confident now about gun safety and self defense and I would highly recommend this class!! David and Ginny know their stuff!! -Senae Hughes

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