Tuesday, April 25, 2017

COC (Concealed Open Carry) - A Florida Protest! © 2017 Phillip Evans

COC, "Concealed Open Carry", is a quiet and peaceful First Amendment Protest, and it's coming to Florida. 

It's a manner of firearms carry that can legally be exercised by any citizen who possesses a weapons carry license issued by Florida or issued by any other state that is recognized by the state of Florida as a reciprocal state.

How Does One Do COC?

It can be something as simple as wearing a t-shirt in a public park or at any other publicly owned property * or building where licensed firearms carry is legal, which states: "Lawfully Armed".

Or wearing your spare ammo carrier or pouch openly. Or wearing Paul Schaller's "pistol dust cover" (pictured below on the left) over your outside-the-waistband holster and pistol. Or openly wearing any holster which fully covers your handgun - all of these things are legal in all places where concealed carry is legal, under current state law.

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All of the above activities are also legal on private property, but you have to leave private property if asked, or risk being arrested for armed trespass, a felony.

Why Do COC?

Because once again, Florida (with a Republican majority in both state houses and a Republican Governor) has failed to restore the right of open carry of sidearms that citizens in 45 other states enjoy.

"Republican" turncoat and traitor, Senator Anitere Flores, the Senate President Pro Tempore in the Florida state legislature turned against almost two million licensed-to-carry citizens (after begging the NRA for a good rating in a personal letter when running for reelection), and used her position on the Senate Judiciary Committee to keep SB 644 (Open Carry) blocked in committee to keep it from a full vote in the Senate.

So far, she has not been over-ruled by Senate President Joe Negron (as he has the power to do, who is A+ rated by the NRA) in her decision to oppose this and other pro-liberty bills that would also legalize campus carry and airport carry (in non-sterile areas).

And Senator Greg Steube (good man and patriot), who sponsored those pro-freedom bills has not yet publicly called out Sen. Negron on his dereliction of duty, nor scheduled any hearings for the bills in his own committee.

Here we have tyranny and a defeatist attitude working together to again deny us the restoration of our rights. Typical for Florida these days.

But citizen patriots are starting to wake up, and we have a plan. If Florida politicians don't get it into gear this session, there will be some embarrassment for them until they get settled into their next legislative session.

Up to this point meek, mild, implorative petitions to have our Constitutional Rights honored and restored have so far fallen on the unconcerned ears of Republican state politicians who enjoy high ratings from the NRA, but who are loath to do anything substantial to actually earn their good grades.

Yes, we have had a precious few true friends from time to time in the Florida Legislature working to restore our basic self-defense firearms carry rights. As mentioned earlier, Senator Greg Steube is one such patriot and friend.

But the animosity runs so deep against licensed-to-carry citizens, that even Senator Steube (he should be raising Cain and publicly calling out Senator Negron) has fallen prey to some degree to a defeatist attitude. How deep, might you ask?

In Florida, you can be fined and jailed for not covering over your holstered pistol, even if you have submitted an application, paid the government fee (poll tax), passed the background checks, taken an approved training course, have been finger-printed and photographed, and finally issued a weapons carry license by the state.

And this infringement has been going on since 1987, when Democrat Janet Reno rallied the antis to make peaceful open carry a criminal act. That's a lot of deep.

After jumping through all the hoops Florida forces you to jump through in order to exercise your Second Amendment Right to Keep and Bear Arms as guaranteed by the Supreme Law of the Land, the U.S. Constitution, you have to keep your firearm HIDDEN under clothes or in a fanny pack or purse, or ELSE! The else is the threat of armed and badged agents of the government putting you in handcuffs and stuffing you into a patrol car for a free ride to jail, rudely interrupting your day.

The shame to Florida is that wearing a holstered pistol in broad daylight (or nighttime) uncovered in public is legal in 45 other states, with about 30 of those states not even requiring a carry license!

That's so sweet of Florida to protect people from themselves. If only licensed-to-carry citizens were responsible, law-abiding adults, Florida would not have to treat them like children who cannot handle that much freedom (have I laid on the sarcasm thick enough here?).

People will wonder if there is any real difference whether you see someone's handgun or not, as long as you clearly know the person is armed.

The public will know at that point that Florida having a general ban on carrying a holstered pistol openly is like someone loudly "whispering" a secret. What will be the point of the secrecy? Just because the government says it should be that way?

COC is likely to garner more attention than actual open carry, because it is a manner of carry that is a little unusual, in that people usually either carry concealed with no indication they are armed, or they carry openly.

But this quiet, non-confrontational protest is precisely what we need to demand our rights back. The reason to carry in a COC manner in the first place is because Florida is an unusual state. It's firearms carry laws are strange.

You see, in Florida, open carry of handguns is no legal trouble at all if you do so while fishing, hunting, target shooting, or camping - or directly going to or from those activities, WITH NO CARRY LICENSE REQUIRED!

To put a licensed-to-carry mother or father in jail for not covering their holstered pistol in any other circumstance, such as when walking on a trail in a park or down the street, after jumping through all the hoops to receive a carry license is immoral, especially in light of Second Amendment protections against such abuse.

Licensed-to-carry citizens in Florida have been proven to be six times less likely to commit crime than law enforcement. Why should law-abiding citizens be barred from publicly exercising their right to be armed?

Why does Florida have to be the odd-ball among supposedly liberty-loving Southern states?

South Carolina is the only other Southern state to generally ban open carry of handguns, but it looks like their H.3930 bill is on the way to success, having recently passed their House, which will legalize open carry for them if it becomes law.

To Florida I say: Remove the infringements and let citizens carry as they choose - concealed or openly. Liberty Demands It!

At the very least, RINO politicians need to stop pretending they support our rights while they maneuver to backstab us. At least be honest about it like the Democrats who oppose our freedoms.

So far, their excuse has been tourist dollars, but where are the tourists going to go when Florida removes criminal penalties for open carry, to the 45 other states where open carry is legal now?

I routinely open carry in Georgia, in the Metro Atlanta area no less, where tourists abound, with no issues. Even during crowded festivals. The tourism argument measured against our rights is like weighing a feather against a brick.

The good news is that FloridaCarry.org, of which I am a member, has now endorsed COC as a valid means of exercising our First Amendment Rights along with our Second Amendment Rights. Folks, this means the kid gloves are off! The politicians will now know we mean serious business.

Certainly, those of us who COC will use our freedom of speech to speak with a voice loud enough to finally be heard. Here's to victory!

The advantage of COC style carry in and on public property (unless courthouse, school, etc.) is that you cannot be trespassed for being armed and peacefully advertising that fact, due to the protections of firearm state law preemption, and the First Amendment.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Florida Tourism Dollars Trumps Open Carry Rights © 2017 Phillip Evans

4.9 Billion Dollars - Florida state tax revenue for 2014 with 98.9 million visitors.

In 2015, there were 105 million visitors, which translates to 5.2 Billion Dollars in state tax revenue if spending still averaged the same for each person.

Folks, we are talking BIG Tourist Bucks!

Photo by Pat Williams

When Florida Governor Rick Scott said he would sign a bill legalizing the open carry of holstered pistols by licensed-to-carry citizens, he surely had those dollar signs in his eyes making sure there would never be a bill to sign.

How do I know this? Virtually every bill he has wanted passed, the Governor has worked with the Florida Legislature to get it done, or at least strongly signaled to them to get it done.

Time after time, open carry bills have failed in Senate committees - at the hands of Diaz de la Portilla (backed up by Senate President Andy Gardiner) in 2016, and Sen. Anitere Flores (backed up so far by Senate President 
Joe Negron) this year, and others in prior years, and the Governor has never opened his mouth and made one peep about it. 

Not one single word that I've seen anywhere. Why?

Too many other things on his mind to focus just a little time on repairing the damage done in 1987?

To him, things are going as planned. I believe he has either explicitly told Senate leadership to keep those bills off his desk, or he has subtly signaled it by other means, at least by his silence and contentment at what has been happening year after year.

To the Governor, our Second Amendment Rights are NOT A PRIORITY, or he would have said something, anything about the pro-liberty gun carry bills being continually shot down in the Senate.

For some reason, the vast majority of Senate Republicans in Florida seem to feel the same way. Patriot Senator Greg Steube is certainly an exception, and maybe a small handful of others, if that.

This majority of Republicans proclaim their love of liberty, but in reality too much liberty gives them a stomach ache. Their appetite for liberty goes only so far, and no more.

Even now with a U.S. President who promised, "No more gun-free zones", they STILL can't muster the courage to restore the Second Amendment Right of open carry, even for vetted and licensed-to-carry citizens!

Think about it - were most guns so small as to be easily concealable when the Second Amendment was written, especially with the outfits that were worn then? At that time it was considered sneaky to only carry concealed firearms. 

The Founding Fathers understood "bear arms" to obviously mean primarily out in the open. And although Federal Courts have ruled there is no Second Amendment Right to carry concealed firearms, they have ruled that the right applies to openly carried arms. 

Although I disagree that concealed firearms do not enjoy Second Amendment protections, at least the courts have understood that open carry is a manner of carry clearly under the protection of the Second Amendment

However, the Florida Supreme Court disagrees! Let's hope the U.S. Supreme Court slaps that ill-informed decision down. But that could take years, unfortunately.

Janet Reno orchestrated the open carry ban in 1987 in Florida. Why are these Republicans who give us lip service about Second Amendment Rights so enamored with her legacy? She's dead now, and it's high time her infringement legacy died as well.

We might not get open carry this year, but until we do, we can put a thumb in the eye of backstabbing politicians by using our First Amendment Rights to peacefully show we are lawfully armed with a firearm in public, even though we have to cover the hardware itself with a piece of cloth.

Does anyone with a modicum of common sense believe that tourists will avoid Florida if open carry is legalized, only to go to 45 other states where open carry is legal now?

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Florida: Hiding Your Gun In The Open © 2017 Phillip Evans

"Liberty loving" Republicans in Florida get A+ ratings from the NRA, and talk a good game of supporting our Second Amendment Rights.

But for some reason they can't seem to stomach something so mild as to allow licensed-to-carry citizens to carry their holstered pistols uncovered without facing fines and jail, and a criminal record.

Right now, open carry, campus carry, and airport carry bills are languishing in the Senate Judiciary Committee, supposedly dead for the year, once again, because Republican leadership in the Senate is giving timid RINOs the political cover to avoid taking a public vote on these bills.

Turncoat Republican Senator Anitere Flores so far is not being over-ruled by her boss, Senate President Joe Negron (die-hard "supporter" of the Second Amendment), who has the authority to bring the bills to the floor for a full and honest vote, in spite of the committee. So much for their "support" of liberty.

So we are going to protest in a peaceful and open manner to help educate the public that open carry will not be the panic inducer that the antis make it out to be. After all, 45 other states have licensed or unlicensed open carry of handguns. And plenty of Florida tourists live in those states. Plenty of foreign tourists also visit those 45 states in spite of legal open 

If you want to carry openly in Florida, under current law, it is permitted only if fishing, camping, hunting, or shooting, or going to or from those activities.

So the next best thing is to wear a dust cover on your gun hiding it from view, satisfying the concealment requirement of the law, but not hiding the fact you are armed, as a graphic print of a pistol is on the cover leaving no doubt what it is for.

What a great way to use our First Amendment Rights to get around Florida's infringement of our Second Amendment Rights!

So far, it looks like law-enforcement understands that this product is legal.

Click here if you'd like to order one for yourself or a friend.

From the product's creator:

"The '2nd Amendment Dust Cover' was created from the idea of getting into the public eye information about concealed carry and how it relates to the Florida 790 statute.  This medium allows me to express my views on how the current Florida 790 statute relates to Florida's over 2 million licensed, concealed carriers.

The "2nd Amendment Dust Cover" has an image on it of a firearm in a holster. This allows those around you to know that you are carrying. This is the prelude to open carry and will hopefully ease any tensions with people when and if open carry is passed in Florida. The cover is created of a cloth material that when used correctly, will cover the firearm completely thus complying with the Florida 790 statute."


Breaking News as of 04/24/2017 - It appears as though Paul's "dust cover" or as one commenter stated, "Cheetos cover" is starting to go viral.

Unfortunately, many who are supposedly pro-gun rights are denigrating the product on a tactical basis or a looks basis.

For those who are, you are MISSING THE POINT. We'd rather not wear these things, and yes, they do look silly. But the fact is, they are a means to an end. They are meant to show tourists and the general public in Florida that we want to carry openly in a normal fashion, but since 1987 that will get us arrested, jailed, and fined.

So at least keep talking about it to help spread the word, and maybe one day we will all have the CHOICE to carry openly or concealed as liberty dictates.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Florida Open Carry: A Thumb In The Eye! © 2017 Phillip Evans

Tourism Dollars: The number one reason Florida Republicans REFUSE to recognize our Constitutional Right to peacefully carry our holstered sidearms in public openly.

Don't tell me that Governor Rick Scott isn't in on it. If he truly wanted open carry legalized, he would have told the Legislature to get it done, and it would have happened by now. But he has tourist dollars dancing in his eyes.

If we licensed-to-carry citizens don't hide our pistols underneath a shirt or coat, or in a fanny-pack or purse, we get arrested, fined, and jailed - and a permanent criminal record, while the criminals who hide theirs until they are ready to use them get no penalties at all, unless they get caught.

When you have about 32 or so states that allow open carry of pistols WITHOUT a license required, the UNFAIRNESS tends to stick in one's craw.

When all but about five states allow open carry of pistols whether with or without a license, one wonders what is wrong with Florida.

It's that tourism thing, I'm pretty sure. Democrats and RINOs both have said so openly.

Where are those tourists coming from to Florida? From those 45 other states where open carry is legal. And don't get me started with foreign tourists. I've carried around thousands of them in Georgia at crowded parks with no issues. No one ran and screamed, and no one posted on the Internet that they will never return to Georgia because they saw a holstered pistol on someone's hip who wasn't wearing a shiny badge.

So here's the plan: Stick a big fat thumb in the eye of lip-service politicians who pretend to support our Second Amendment Rights, but who refuse to actually do it.

While legally concealing your pistol, wear t-shirts with the free graphic images below that I created (I did not create the pistol portion of the graphic - it was free also, but I did improve it a little).

Embarrass the politicians! Wear these on publicly owned property such as at city and county parks and beaches where you cannot be ejected or trespassed merely for being armed, due to Florida's state preemption law on firearms - especially during large public events. 

You will need to convert these graphics to PNG format and add transparency, but that is easy with free graphics programs such as Gimp and Inkscape.

You can then print them out on iron-on paper and put them on your own t-shirts, or you can upload the files to Zazzle and order your t-shirts from them.

Share the link to this blog post all over Facebook, Internet forums, Blogs, and email these images to all your family and friends that would like to see open carry legalized in Florida!

Also, email these images to TV News and Internet News Sites to let them know that we will use these as a means of peaceful protest whenever we can.

Hopefully, these images will give you some ideas to make your own!