For the last several years the Florida Legislature and Governor's office has enjoyed strong Republican representation. One might then rightly wonder why the general prohibition of the open carry of firearms, which was orchestrated by Clintonite Democrat Janet Reno back in 1987, has not yet been overturned by Republicans professing to "support the Second Amendment".
There certainly has been time to do it. The how of it is clearly known. The Florida State Senate has consistently selected Senate Presidents who have orchestrated the defeat of bills that would legalize open carry by packing the Senate Judiciary Committee with enough members who would ensure such defeats, all while the NRA gives them a wink and a nod along with their A+ ratings year after year.
Could it be that Republican lawmakers in Florida simply view legalized open carry of pistols holstered on one's hip as too much liberty (except for the specially government authorized - the police)? Sorry Florida, but forty-five other states have legalized open carry of handguns. The majority of those, about 30, do not even require a license to carry in public when wearing a holstered and visible sidearm.
Could it be because Florida is a state that depends on tourism? If open carry becomes legalized would tourists avoid the state in droves, even though much of those same tourists come from the other 45 states where open carry is legal? And what about foreign tourists? Will they cross Florida off their list? If tourists wish to visit states where open carry is banned they have only a precious few where their tender eyes can be shielded from the sight of a holstered pistol not carried by persons in a uniform with a badge.
In my home state of Georgia where the open carry of pistols and even rifles and shotguns has never been illegal there doesn't seem to be a shortage of tourists from other states or other countries. So what gives? It could be that Florida lawmakers simply do not have the stomach for the public exercise of the right of self-defense.
As a result, not only is the citizens' right to keep and bear arms infringed, but their First Amendment right to express support for the Second Amendment by allowing their lawfully carried firearm to be visible is also infringed.
The vast majority of criminals who know that you are armed will avoid you and choose an easier target. Criminals are lazy and do not want to work hard. They want an easy score and don't want to risk a gunfight. Lawfully armed citizens who are forced by law to conceal must therefore risk appearing to be an unarmed target, increasing the chance of a confrontation leading to a shootout that neither most criminals nor lawful carriers would want to have happen.
ANY self-defense shooting in public puts innocent bystanders at risk of injury or death. Therefore, legalized open carry is a safety measure that helps to avoid confrontation with criminals and helps protect innocent lives, even the lives of criminals who have at least some sense of self-preservation (so their mamas don't show up on TV asking why their good boy turning his life around had to get shot by his robbery victim).
Criminals that want to continue breathing wisely know that targeting a person known to be armed is not a good idea. However, there are firearms experts and instructors as well as law enforcement officers who disagree among themselves as to whether open carry is a good idea or not. That's perfectly fine.
The bottom line is we should not criminalize a citizen's choice to peacefully carry their weapon of self-defense without a layer clothing hiding it. What is all this talk of liberty and freedom of choice in this country if we don't have the basic choice to publicly exercise our constitutional right to bear arms?
Are there any other constitutional rights that must be hidden in public when exercised, under threat of fines and jail?
Will new Florida Governor Ron DeSantis be like former Gov. Rick Scott regarding Florida's ban on open carry?
Gov. Scott said he would sign a bill legalizing open carry if it landed on his desk, then sat back and watched the State Senate torpedo every such bill without making even the sound of a whimper. I suppose that way he could keep his NRA A+ rating without rocking the boat.
Let's hope Governor DeSantis is a genuine champion of our Second Amendment rights and not the typical Florida Republican kind.
Folks, if you want to have any hope of further restoring your Second Amendment Rights in Florida then join Florida Carry for only $25 per year. This Georgia boy typing these words here is a paying member of Florida Carry. It is the best investment you can make to honor and forward ahead freedom in your state.
When you join, buy a gift membership for a friend or family member. Tell others that you have joined Florida Carry and why. And then write or call Governor DeSantis and tell him that you've joined Florida Carry because you want to see open carry legalized in Florida. To stay abreast of Florida Carry events join their Facebook group for free at this link.