Florida has over a million citizens who have valid concealed carry permits issued by the Florida Department of Agriculture. The eligibility requirements are strict as are those reasons which make one ineligible for a concealed carry permit. It appears that those who carry are being increasingly prosecuted by State Attorney Angela B. Corey from the 4th Judicial Circuit.
State Attorney Corey’s website states:
As your State Attorney, I am charged with upholding the United States Constitution, as well as the Constitution and Statutes of the great and sovereign State of Florida, as they relate to the prosecution of crimes committed against our citizens. By adhering to this standard we will vigorously pursue justice for all victims of crimes while maintaining the rights of every individual.
In an email the Florida TEA Party states, “Florida Assistant Attorney Generals and Local State Prosecutors are out of control in fighting against the Second Amendment. Once again the anti-gun elements in the Florida Attorney General’s office are attempting to scuttle the appeal in the case of Norman v. State. The Norman case is the only viable case in the country arguing for recognition of the constitutional right to open carry.”
Norman v. State (FL) is the case of Dale Norman, a law abiding concealed carry licensee, who was arrested on February 19, 2012 and prosecuted in Fort Pierce, FL for violating Florida nearly complete ban on Open Carry after his otherwise lawfully carried handgun unknowingly became unconcealed while walking down the street the first time he carried outside his home with his new Florida concealed carry license. Watch the video of the arrest of Dale Norman:
According to the Florida TEA Party, “Since the appeal was first brought, the West Palm Beach Office of the Attorney General has repeatedly attempted to derail the case based on procedural arguments that the lower court did not properly certify its questions of great public importance. The AG’s office even appealed the case to the Florida Supreme Court in an attempt to keep the Fourth District Court of Appeals from hearing the case. They want the case heard by a Circuit Court where a recognition of the right to carry will not have state-wide effect and will be decided by only one local judge. A request was sent to the Assistant Attorney General in Palm Beach asking them to consent to the lower Court amending its judgement to include the certified question in the order of Judgement and Sentence to correct the AG’s claimed procedural defect that may exist.”
The response: We (the Attorney General’s Office) will take “no position”…
Florida Carry notes, “The Second Amendment question is fairly straightforward; Florida courts have clearly found that the carrying of a concealed firearm is a privilege, subject even to being banned completely, not a right protected by the constitution. Florida appellate courts have held that the ‘Retroactive application of (new Florida Statutes), is not unconstitutional because a license to carry a concealed weapon or firearm is a privilege and not a vested right.’ Crane v. Department of State, 547 So. 2d 266 (Fla. 1989). The Florida Legislature and Supreme Court have long recognized that there is a right to bear arms outside of the home. The ‘privilege of a license to carry a concealed weapon or firearm’ recognized in Crane cannot replace, or substitute for, the fundamental right guaranteed by the U.S. and Florida Constitutions.”
“No credible organization could question the pro-gun record of Florida Attorney General Pamela Bondi who has signed on to support many important federal amicus briefs to the U.S. Supreme Court that were filed by other state’s AGs, but her own office is apparently in need some deep house cleaning. The ruling and intent of the lower court is clear, that this case be reviewed by a panel of appellate court judges as a matter of great public importance that impacts thousands of law enforcement officers and millions of gun owners,” notes the Florida TEA Party.
There are two other cases that various Florida pro-Second Amendment organizations are involved with involving concealed carry permit holders In State Attorney Corey’s jurisdiction. In the first case, a man was arrested on his own front porch for having a handgun in a closed bag, while finishing moving. State Attorney Corey’s office claims that it was no longer his home, since he was moving, and is prosecuting him for a felony. In the second, a Florida concealed weapons licensee has been sentenced to 60 days in jail for an open carry ban violation after his shirt rode up over his holster in a store exposing his firearm.
The Florida TEA Party is asking its members to contact Attorney General Bondi and make their thoughts known. Attorney General Bondi may be contacted by using an email form, via Facebook, and on Twitter.
UPDATE 6/25/2014: Florida Representative Ray Pilon, a member of the House Criminal Justice Subcommittee, stated in an email, “She [Corey] is also the one that caused us to pass the so called ‘warning shot bill’ although that is not the purpose of the law. She prosecuted a woman for defending herself in a domestic violent incident. She missed and was prosecuted by Angela for Aggravated Battery. If the woman had killed her assailant she it would have been ruled justifiable. It does surprise and concern me that Assistant Attorney Generals are doing what you posted.”
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