What does Florida have in common with South Carolina, California, New York, and Illinois, along with D.C.?
The fact that Florida will put you in jail just for peacefully carrying your holstered pistol uncovered in public, even if licensed to carry.
You can, however, get away with it if you are hunting, fishing, camping, target shooting, or going to or from one of these activities - and ironically, during those exceptions you don't even need a license to carry, so the issue clearly isn't about trust or safety, but merely how it looks.
Republican state politicians in Florida love to give lip service about how much they support and defend Second Amendment Rights, but they continually appoint leadership in the State Senate who always block bills that legalize open carry from ever getting a floor vote.
The gutless wonders fear it will hurt tourism. Never mind that tourism doesn't seem to suffer in the 45 states where open carry is legal, and where 30 of those states don't require a carry license to do it.
So what can one do, when nothing ever gets done to restore liberty despite years of effort? When writing emails, letters, making phone calls, and speaking with lawmakers in person gets about as much done as spitting in the wind?
Protest! And do it creatively and deliciously.
How, you might ask? Here are a few ways to figuratively poke a thumb in the eye of hypocrites who continually deny your right to carry in the manner that you choose:
1. Openly carry ammunition. It's perfectly legal, as there's no state law in Florida against it. And more so, there's no local laws against it - or at least any that could be legally enforced. That's because ammunition in Florida enjoys state preemption.
Don't try this on private property, but on public property where you have the right to be, and are behaving not causing any problems, carry your spare ammo magazines on your hip openly. Even wear an ammo belt with your cartridges clearly showing.
Better yet, wear a bandoleer or two across your chest. You cannot be lawfully trespassed from public property when you are not breaking the law and are following lawful rules and regulations.
Now, it's conceivable you might be barred entry from certain public places due to some made up "it just ain't safe" rule. But record the encounter and sue them if you are able to. If it's at a Fair on public property, just tell them you don't plan to ride any rides and see what happens. They just might let you in.
But you can surely wear ammo on public beaches, walking down a public street, walking into a public library, or city hall, etc.
2. Wear a t-shirt with a pistol pic and the words, "Lawfully Armed Citizen", or "Licensed and Carrying". Download a free graphics program such as "The Gimp" or "Inkscape" and create the graphic, then print it out on transfer paper and iron it on your shirt.
3. Openly wear a pistol-shaped holster with a lid, such as for the P-38 pistol. Don't put a pistol in it, as a corrupt judge might still let an open carry charge stand against you. Instead, put a spare ammo magazine or some loose ammo in it - because remember, ammunition also enjoys state preemption along with firearms, and ammo ain't a firearm. Only firearms are barred from open carry.
If you carry it completely empty, you lose the leverage of state preemption. You gotta cover the angles whenever you can. And having a lid means no one can see inside it, so even though it might look like you are advertising you are carrying a gun, whatever is in it is still concealed, because the holster is not transparent. In any case, advertising you are carrying is not against the law. Open carry means you can SEE the firearm itself.
4. "Printing" is not illegal. You can wear a full-sized pistol on your side in an outside-the-waistband holster, with a long t-shirt pulled tight over it, and as long as the gun itself cannot be seen, it is perfectly legal, even if it is obvious it is a gun, so PRINT! Better yet, do it in groups on public property whenever you can.
5. Freedom Cover! Wear this little cloth covering over your pistol. A few have been wearing these in Florida with no reports of arrests yet. Not saying it can't happen, but you'd probably beat the charge and be in a position to sue for false arrest.
But if a little unsure about this method of protest, put a plastic training gun in a holster and put this cloth over it. It would still be a powerful First Amendment statement.
USE these FIRST AMENDMENT free speech activities to impress upon lawmakers that you are serious about restoring your liberty to carry how you wish to carry.
Who says that you must hide your rights in order to exercise them? Now you may wish to only conceal your firearm and that's fine, but if you truly love liberty you will advocate for free citizens to carry as they wish.
We don't all want to carry the same way, but we should all want every free citizen the choice to carry as they will, openly or concealed.
***This article is NOT meant to spur debate on which type of carry is best. Rather, it's a call to get the law changed, so that our rights in this area will no longer be violated.***
It's high time we take off the gloves and get in their face, figuratively speaking, to demand our liberty. If they refuse to legalize open carry, then make it as embarrassing as possible to them until they relent.