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U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Florida’s Ban on Openly Carrying Firearms, Ending 6-Year Case

| November 27, 2017

florida open=-carry ban

Sorry, but no. (George Donnelly)

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday refused to take up a challenge to a Florida law that bars people from openly carrying firearms in public, ending a case that started nearly six years ago when a man was arrested in St. Lucie County.


The U.S. Supreme Court, as is common, did not explain its reasons for declining to hear the case. But the move effectively let stand a Florida Supreme Court ruling in March that said the open-carry ban did not violate the constitutional right to bear arms.

The plaintiff in the case, Dale Norman, was arrested in February 2012 as he openly carried a gun in a holster. Norman, who had a concealed-weapons license, was found guilty of a second-degree misdemeanor, with a judge imposing a $300 fine and court costs, according to court documents.

Backed by the Second Amendment group Florida Carry, Norman challenged the constitutionality of the state’s longstanding ban on openly carrying weapons. But the state’s 4th District Court of Appeal and the Florida Supreme Court ruled against Norman, leading him to go to the U.S. Supreme Court.

In a petition filed with the U.S. Supreme Court, Norman’s attorneys pointed to major rulings in Second Amendment cases from Chicago and Washington, D.C. and argued that the right to openly bear arms exists outside homes.

“The Second Amendment provides in part that `the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.’ This guarantees not only the right to `keep’ arms, such as in one’s house, but also to `bear arms,’ which simply means to carry arms without reference to a specific place. When the Framers intended that a provision of the Bill of Rights related to a house, they said so,” said the petition, filed in July and posted on the Florida Carry website.

But attorneys for the state wrote in a brief that the ban does not violate Second Amendment rights, as people can carry concealed weapons if they have licenses.

“This (U.S. Supreme) Court has never held that the Second Amendment protects a right to openly carry firearms in public, and the reasoning set forth in pertinent caselaw supports the proposition that states fully accommodate the right to bear arms when they make available to responsible, law-abiding citizens some meaningful form of public carry,” the state’s brief said. “That is precisely what Florida has done here. Thus, Florida’s law is valid under any arguably applicable analytical framework.”

State lawmakers have proposed measures that would allow people with concealed-weapons licenses to openly carry firearms, but the proposals have not passed. Senate Judiciary Chairman Greg Steube, a Sarasota Republican and prominent gun-rights supporter, said this month he did not plan to file such a measure for the 2018 legislative session, which starts in January.

–News Service of Florida

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17 Responses for “U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Florida’s Ban on Openly Carrying Firearms, Ending 6-Year Case”

  1. Veteran says:

    Several states have open carry with no problems.

  2. Dave says:

    Finally, something that isn’t backwards in this state. Imagine a State where you can not hold a marijuana joint openly in public, but your allowed to carry a gun openly in public . Talk about some backwards ways of thinking

  3. Paula says:

    Thank goodness the Supreme Court has stepped in on this one. Now, we need to rein in Steube on short-term rentals in communities zoned single-family, the sale of fireworks, and tree removal. Steube proposes a lot of laws that are very unpopular with residents and voters.

  4. Bc. says:

    No need to open carry I am a retired public safety officer I have been carrying a gun since I was 19 years old I am now 67 there is no reason for one to show off his or hers gun. And why would you want to put yourself in a position that someone could grab your gun. I do think concealed is much better the bad guy don’t no who is armed. And then you would have the show offs who would carry there 2k silver and gold 9 inch gun just to say hey look at me. They probably would be the first to be shot with there own gun. Good decision to keep the guns concealed.

  5. Peaches McGee says:

    Florida still has open carry in certain circumstances.

  6. Jon Hardison says:

    Good. We do NOT need this.

  7. Sherry says:

    Research shows that the Right to Carry has NOT led to lower crime rates! This from The Atlantic:

    The question of whether armed citizens deter violent crime or exacerbate it has been controversial in academia since at least the mid-1990s—not to mention the debate it continues to fuel in American politics. Conflicting studies have informed polarized lawmakers in the parallel battles over gun regulation.

    The case for less restrictive gun laws generally boils down to this: Law-abiding citizens have a right to protect themselves and their communities, full stop. The academic backing for this argument can be traced to a 1997 study by University of Chicago economists John Lott and David Mustard. After analyzing the impact of “right-to-carry” laws, the umbrella term for various legislation that allows citizens to acquire a concealed-carry gun permit, the authors concluded that these regulations were “the most cost-effective method of reducing crime thus far.”

    The Presence of Justice
    Beyond the age of mass incarceration
    Read more

    In the roughly two decades since, additional academic studies have strongly suggested that the opposite is true: that these laws lead to higher rates of violent crime. The latest—and, at least according to one of its authors, most comprehensive—was released earlier this month by the non-partisan National Bureau of Economic Research. Like the Lott and Mustard report, the new working paper analyzes the laws’ effect on violent crime rates. But researchers used an unusual method to imagine what crime trends would have looked like in right-to-carry states had they not adopted those policies.

    The researchers built fictional, or “synthetic,” states as near-identical counterparts to the 33 that passed right-to-carry laws between 1981 and 2014. Using the states’ crime rates prior to the laws’ adoption, as well as national crime data from before and after, they created an algorithm to estimate what trends would have been prevalent had these areas never passed right-to-carry. The researchers then compared crime in the real states with findings from their synthetic versions.

    “Ten years after the adoption of RTC laws, violent crime is estimated to be 13 [percent to] 15 percent higher than it would have been without the RTC law,” the authors concluded. Just five years after, it’s about 7 percent higher. “There is not even the slightest hint in the data that [these] laws reduce violent crime,” they write.

  8. knightwatch says:

    Excellent! Those a**hole cowboy wannabeess who think it’s brave and patriotic to openly carry weapons into restaurants, malls and other public places are going to have to stick their pistols back into their jockstraps where I assume they now carry them. The 2nd Amendment is interpreted by some to allow carrying weapons (I disagree with that interpretation), but it definitely does not guarantee you can frighten peaceful people having lunch at Dominic’s Deli.

  9. palmcoaster says:

    Peaches, and what circumstance is that? if for our law enforcement I applaud it!
    Thank God and our Florida Supreme Court…thank your Honors!!
    I lived over 70 years and I never needed a gun and ain’t no hunter…that is why I pay taxes among other things for law enforcement protection. Here we are not in the battle front and the good old Far West has been long ago settled.I see open carry, like living in a militarized state were armed bullies will have the upper hand.
    Our law enforcement does a pretty good job at protecting us, otherwise I would have never reached almost a healthy 75.
    Again thank you your Honors!!

  10. Really says:

    Keep it hidden much more effective

  11. Pogo says:

    @What could go wrong with a deadly weapon waved around in public?

    Man accidentally shoots himself in road rage incident, OCSO deputies say
    http://www.wesh.com/article/man-accidentally-shoots-himself-in-road-rage-incident-ocso-deputies-say/13930544

    The whole world is laughing – and crying.

  12. Anonymous says:

    It probably is for the best. Those that can be seen carrying may be targeted, and those who carry who want to flash the weapon invite confrontation. However, with this being said, anyone that is not wearing a police uniform should not open carry either. I would like to know what the reason was behind their decision…maybe they too were bought and paid off. That’s how this political world works. It’s not what you know, its who you know. Either way, more and more people are carrying so just assume everyone has one.It is crazy that the laws can’t be uniform from state to state. We are a united nation, all laws and rules should be the same!

  13. Anonymous says:

    I would not want to open carry unless I was as good with a gun as the fellow in this video. He is incredible-please take a few minutes to watch even if you don’t like guns. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XsU5AMxvlKg

  14. Anonymous says:

    It is crazy to not have open carry. The time wasted to get your weapon could mean the difference between life and death. I guess the courts didn’t consider this, or if they did, didn’t care. When you realize how fast some can draw you would understand. The laws should be uniform throughout the country.

  15. Ken says:

    Correct…. While hunting, fishing, camping and or coming or going to said events.

  16. Mike K says:

    I was a law enforcement officer for over 25 years, an academy firearms instructor and retired as the commanding officer of a sheriff’s department, I’m all for concealed carry by responsible, trained citizens but, open carry scares and offends some people and lets the bad guys know you have a gun. Thy can easily come up behind you and render you unconscious then take your gun. That generally doesn’t happen with concealed carry as long as you take care that he gun doesn’t show, Open carry leads to problems that don’r occur when the gun is concealed. The legislature and the court isn’t so dumb.

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