James Hodges, though legally blind, has limited eyesight and does not always use his cane. Folded and in his back pocket as he was walking back from a jury duty appointment, it appeared to Columbia County Sheriff’s Deputy Jayme Gohdy to be a firearm, who then detained and questioned him.
Once Deputy Gohdy verified the cane was not a firearm, the "reasonable, articulable suspicion" basis for the initial detainment vaporized. Mr. Hodges should have immediately been free to go. However, the deputy, admitting to be a "tyrant", pressed the issue as well as another deputy and demanded that Mr. Hodges identify himself.
When he politely refused, as well as properly asserted his right to not be searched, they cuffed him and rifled through his papers anyway, and took him to jail.
This incident is wrong on so many levels. Now that the Second Amendment's "shall not be infringed" is starting to mean what it says, due to Justice Thomas' brilliant opinion in Bruen, the handful of states that generally ban the open carry of firearms like Florida, are going to either repeal the ban, or have it ruled as unconstitutional. Voluntarily or kicking and screaming it will happen, and soon.
Look, I get it that most citizens who legally carry would never carry openly. But I'm at least hopeful that no one who claims to be a genuine supporter of our rights would agree to put someone behind bars for peacefully carrying a holstered, visible pistol. You might not think it a good idea, but you choose to live and let live, right?
Folks, this is Gov. Ron DeSantis' state, the one who promised to sign "Constitutional Carry" if a bill landed on his desk, but who has never publicly called for it in earnest to get to his desk. See the catch?
This is the same Gov. DeSantis who made not a peep when state firearms preemption was mocked, as legal and licensed carriers were denied their right to be armed at one of his campaign events.
AND, yet another false arrest of a peaceful citizen who was lawfully protesting that firearms ban on a pubic sidewalk, without obstructing anyone's path into the event.
Florida Carry has lobbied for years to overturn numerous Second Amendment infringements, with some good success, but with much work left to be done.
The general ban on open carry is just one. Others are the many enumerated off-limits places, as well as a slew of unenumerated off-limits places where a private entity can temporarily rent, lease, or have a permitted event on public property used for the general public, and can ban firearms carry on your tax-payer owned property. That's a big one, and should be fixed pronto.