There has been a lot of discussion of the recent case in Florida where a man was arrested for carrying a firearm in the open…even though he had a concealed carry permit. But this isn’t about either of these issues, this is an issue every gun owner, regardless of their state, needs to be aware of to protect themselves from an “accidental felony.”
In the case of Norman v. State of Florida, Dale Norman was arrested for carrying an open firearm in Florida. He had a concealed carry permit but when he was out walking the gun became exposed so it was now showing, no longer a concealed carry. The police arrested him since Florida has a law against open carry (watch the actual video footage of the arrest). While you would think this is just an honest mistake, the Florida court has upheld the ruling of his arrest.
Regardless of the state you live in, this is an issue every gun owner needs to be aware of because of how this is treated in the law. The precedence and the case law that exists today clearly states that, “carrying a concealed firearm is a privilege, not a right protected by the constitution.” This was discussed in detail in an article by Florida Carry, “Norman v. State.” Here they share some of the specific details of the case and the case law that is in place to support the judge’s decision and why it is being upheld.
The issue for every gun owner is to make sure you understand the laws of our state very clearly and what is a privilege given to us and what is our right under the constitution. This is where having a gun law attorney is important to many gun owners to make sure they have a clear understanding of what the law states.
The other issue for gun owners to understand is how the court system works and how judges rule on various laws. The majority of time they are looking for a case that has established precedence for a particular issue. If there is a case, regardless of age or location, it is generally what they will defer to as guidance on their ruling. Unless someone is willing to invest the time and resources to create an argument against this precedent, it most likely will be the guide for the judge. This may not be the best way to approach something of this magnitude but is how the law works.
So while we have the 2nd Amendment to protect our rights, many gun owners assume this goes beyond and into other areas, such as concealed carry. This is not the case, as Dale Norman found out. Gun ownership carries with it many responsibilities…this is just one of them. Knowing the law and not assuming logic will prevail is the best prescription for safe and legal gun ownership. And knowing what is the law and what is a privilege might just keep you out of jail.