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    Greg and Beth

    the political and personal musings of two
    mountaineers living in west-central Florida
     
    A Conviction You Won't Hear Much About Comment
    Gregory Morris, 6/29/09 8:55:50 pm
    Attorney Jon Gutmacher discusses a recent case that ended with the conviction of a man for "carrying a concealed firearm." Read his analysis. This is a good case study for anyone who wants to own, carry or use a firearm in Florida.

    Gutmacher's advice is that in a similar situation, simply stay inside your home and avoid the confrontation altogether. While generally I agree with that sentiment, I think it is also worth noting that simply getting a concealed weapon permit gives you a degree of immunity from political-ladder-climbing prosecutors and bug-up-their-ass judges.

    We really don't know all the details, but we can still take some valuable lessons away from this case.

    The other thing this case brings to mind is Florida's silly statute which makes open carry illegal. Since "Conceal Carry" requires a license, and "Open Carry" is illegal, the only way you can have a readily usable gun on your person and not run afoul of state law is if you have a CWP and your gun is completely concealed.

    Open Carry in any circumstance (other than hunting) is illegal. If you have a CWP and your gun shows a little, then it is "Open Carry" and illegal. If you don't have a CWP, and your gun is partially hidden, then it is prosecuted as "Concealed Carry" (first degree misdemeanor) instead of "Open Carry" (2nd degree misdemeanor.) So basically, without a CWP, there is no way to take the common-sense measure of safely securing a firearm when police arrive because both open and concealed carry would be illegal for you.

    Gutmacher discusses the fact that there are valid legal defenses to prosecution under those statutes, but the law needs to be clarified. You shouldn't have to have a law degree to know when and where the law allows you to carry your firearm. There is no question that one lawful use of a firearm is self defense, but the law muddies the water by making it difficult to legally possess a firearm for that purpose.

    Update:

    Second District Court of Appeal, June 5th opinion (pdf).



    [Comments are closed after a month.]

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