News

In Florida, Legal Open Carrier Sues Tampa LEO

Law Shield will be watching the progress of a recently filed lawsuit in Florida, in which a man named George Freeman is suing a variety of Tampa law-enforcement officers because he was detained and searched while legally open-carrying a handgun while fishing.

Co-plaintiff is Florida Carry, a gun-rights group in the state. Its Executive Director Sean Caranna outlined the incident in a statement: On June 13th, 2015, one of our members, George Freeman, was detained for over an hour after a Tampa Police Officer unsuccessfully attempted sneak up behind him while fishing and grab his holstered handgun. George turned immediately when he felt an unknown person grab for his gun while reaching for a concealed backup gun. As soon as he saw the uniformed officer, George stopped before he drew his backup and did not resist the seizure of his handguns. He also presented his valid Florida Concealed Carry License to the officer. This extremely dangerous and uncalled-for move by the police officer to seize George’s legal handgun didn’t end once the officer found out that Mr. Freeman was not doing anything wrong. After detaining our member for over an hour the police realized that they could not find any crime to charge him with. So they issued him an order, a trespass notice that prevents him from going to the public pier at Ballast Point for one year. George Freeman was NOT breaking any law, but he was banned from the city pier for exercising his Second Amendment Right to Bear Arms. Law Shield notes that Open Carry is a comfortable alternative for having a self-defense handgun on your person, but the practice is not without its share of risks — one of which is being confronted by law enforcement. We applaud Mr. Freeman’s calm demeanor during the incident, his knowledge and assertion of his civil rights, and his willingness to go to court to demonstrate his commitment to exercising his rights. We hope he’s successful in his suit.

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Comments (84)

  1. It is legal, in Florida, to open carry to and from fishing, hunting, camping, and shooting events. Not only is this (most likely northern transplant ) po-LICE wrong in his knowledge of the law, he is an idiot for trying to grab the pistol from the owners holster. Damn lucky he is still alive and without any broken bones or bullet holes.

  2. Dang! I said I wasn’t going to do this anymore but I cannot resist. You are right, I would not listen to Shakespeare. I like to read his works but I would absolutely would not seek him out for advice as he was, to me, “just” a writer — a very good one, but still, a writer. Why would I seek advice from him? Its like taking advice from Sean Penn or any other movie star — which many people do. Those guys do not know anything, and being famous does not make them worthy of giving advice.

    You keep referring to other people and what they think but as best I can tell, you have not actually “done” anything yourself. Thank you, but I am one of the guys out here facing things that you pretend do not exist. You continue to act on what some person you never met believes and I will base my actions and opinions on what I actually see and do on a daily basis — along with other cops, while you do not deem us worthy to have contact with — until you need us..

  3. I think the Marcatus Center has its own biased agenda. “Taking its name from the Latin word for “markets”, the Center advocates free-market approaches to public policy. Washington Post columnist Al Kamen has described Mercatus as a “staunchly anti-regulatory center funded largely by Koch Industries Inc.”[3]”
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mercatus_Center

    1. >Mercatus as a “staunchly anti-regulatory center funded largely by Koch >Industries Inc.”[3]”
      >https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mercatus_Center

      Every person, organization, and study contains bias, including the posts on Wikipedia! Free market or even anarcho-capitalist advocacy doesn’t have much to do with seizure rules and its adverse impact on freedom, liberty, and due process.. Diss’ing Mercatus for their position on seizure “rules” smacks of a straw man to me, Michael!

  4. Miles, You are the one living in a delusional fantasy land! However, there is much philosophy of great value to be gleaned from science fiction. Good writers express their ideas in many styles and forms. I doubt you would listen if I quoted Shakespeare either.

    I could cite many sources to learn about the the complete hijacking of justice and due process that asset forfeiture causes. Check the Mercatus Institute recommendations in their bi-annual “Freedom In The 50 States study.” Obviously the Mercatus Institute believes it to be important. I could recommend other sources of truthful information but Mercatus is a quick read and stresses the importance of the goal of eliminating asset forfeiture laws. You obviously wish to continue your life of denial with “eyes wide shut!” so I’m done communicating you. You have only provided me with another reason to never talk to cops!

  5. Rogue cop 0
    Level headed citizen 1
    This cop deserves retribution and Mr. Freeman deserves recognition for remaining calm during the incident. Too bad these hot-dog cops give the good cops (big majority) a bad rap.

  6. Counselor, you are correct about my posting “interestingly omit(s) the relevant provision”. I noticed that after I posted and did not know how to amend it. Thnakz for pointing that out.

  7. Now I understand where you are coming from and will waste no more time on this with a person who gets his quotes from Battlestar Galactica (and throws in a really weird comment about mullahs).

    In a final attempt to educate, drug forfeitures do not short-circuit anything, they go through the full judicial process of any civil suit before the government is allowed to keep anything.

  8. @Miles: If the “hobo” incident is the one I saw a video of, a homeless man was up on rocks, partially surrounded by LEO’s. He had a knife in his hand and proceeded up higher in the rocks when the officers fired multiple shots from AR15’s and handguns, resulting in his death.
    As the video did not show what occurred at the initiation of the incident, it is unclear if he had attacked anyone or why so many LEO’s (it appeared to be close to a dozen) were present for one homeless man.

  9. I stand by my previous posts — and you still continue to cite things that are unproven or, simply, untrue and of which you have no personal knowledge.

    I am not familiar with the “hobo” incident but can still pretty much guarantee that he was not fleeing from “many automatic weapons” as most police departments do not have “automatic weapons” at all and, if they do, those weapons are strictly controlled.

    You also overstate the importance of qualified immunity as it only applies in a narrow case of circumstances; In Harlow v. Fitzgerald, 457 U.S. 800 (1982),[1] the U.S. Supreme Court held that it only applies tp government officials “insofar as their conduct does not violate clearly established statutory or constitutional rights of which a reasonable person would have known.”

    The “reasonable person” standard is well known in both civil and criminal courts.

    Finally, I am not offended. However, your use of “mundane” in reference to citizens offends me. That word indicates that something is dull or has no meaning and that in NO way characterizes how I or most other police officer view citizens.

    As for drawing my weapon, I’ve done it numerous times but only used it once and that was when I fired at the 16 year old that had shot me. Drawing and using are two different things and the great majority of cops never fire their pistols except on the range.

    1. In the next to last paragraph of my previous post, I meant to say that “I am not often offended”.

    2. SWAT teams appear to have automatic weapons, do they not? They have all kinds of even larger weapons that they inherit from military hand-me-downs (as well as those they buy with funding from asset “forfeitures” (short-circuiting due process) and “The War On Drugs.” SWAT teams are commonplace, which is another part of the problem. To quote a prophetic line from the TV series, “Battlestar Galactica”: When the police and the military tend to become the same, the people tend to become the enemy” (or something to that effect). You might want to check out some of the video footage of SWAT team raids on a natural food co-op in S. California too. But then again, members of the food co-op were trading in un-pasteurized milk so I’m sure it busting into the facility with guns drawn was an appropriate response to that threat!

      I can’t tell whether or not you were offended by my use of the term “mundane,” because you made two contradictory statements. If you were offended, I simply take that as evidence that you do not recognize and accept that you are a member of a protected class (cops). Few cops do.

      The black-robed Mullahs in their ivory tower? I have about as much respect for them as they have for the Bill of Rights and U.S. Constitution these days!

      Police very rarely suffer from criminal prosecutions for actions that would land a mundane in a cage–that is the bottom line. Victims of cop violence must typically pursue damages in civil court, which doesn’t provide much of a deterrent to cop violence.

      Spend a few hours reading L.A. Times “Journalist Of The Year” Radley Balko and then get back to me. I’m sure you’ll say he got it all wrong too!

  10. As a Licensed Plumber doing work in some of the highest crime areas in Detroit it was my practice to immediately after exiting truck to pull out a .45 acp and pull slide and chamber round to let all interested parties see and know I was armed. I have no doubt it saved me from a couple of robberies, as I was robbed at gun point several times before obtaining a handgun in 1990s. I firmly believed in letting who was going to target me that I was armed and it gave them second thoughts.

  11. Yet another classic reason why open carry is a big mistake. None of this would’ve happened if the locals didn’t freak out at the sight of a gun. Out of sight, out of mind.
    Keep it to yourself, people.

  12. So many police act before they know the laws on the books .I hope this gun rights groups is successful in their law suit . I think the officers who make the arrest should be the ones who pay their $15,000 dollars of court cost . Maybe than they will make sure before they arrest someone ,They know the laws .

  13. I’m a cop and, while we do make mistakes sometimes and even do stupid things sometimes, I have to stand with Whiskey Papa on this one. Don’t believe it happened.

    1. Sorry Miles. I’ve watched too many cops conducting themselves poorly beyond any doubt on video.

      Any cop in a similar situation would open fire on the “sneak” immediately and the sneak would almost certainly be dead. No one would question the cop’s action in the least, because cops are protected by double standards in morality and behavior. They are a special class that is protected from the consequences of law, which everyone else must respect and endure.

    2. Cal, I’m going to have to put your post in the same category that I placed the one to which I originally responded. All I can say beyond that is that you are wrong on every point in your response. The proof lies in your use of the words and phrases “Any”, “No one”, and “protected form the consequences”. Finally, “I’ve watched too many” is also completely different from actually being there and doing it.

    3. If for no other reason than “qualified immunity” (and there are many others), cops are protected by a second set of standards (laws) than mundanes. The entire concept is highly flawed and it creates more problems than it solves. It is a widely believed myth that we all live under the same laws and what the ink on paper says vs. what laws and controls are enforced and imposed on people at the muzzles of the state’s guns are two very different things! Qualified immunity protections should not exist.

      While I can’t make a fully informed call about most videos, where there is smoke, there is fire. Occasionally justice is brought to cops for violent acts of criminal behavior, but it is very rare.

      One particular video comes to mind. Shooting an unarmed hobo in the back for camping in the wilderness (when he feared the fire of the many automatic weapons that were trained on him and attempted to flee for his life) is murder. Mundanes may not even lawfully possess such weapons. If you are not familiar with the video, then you are not familiar with the enormous problem society is facing. I admit that I do not know the final disposition of this case, but I know that the “justice system” did not respond in any manner that resembled how it responds to the actions of mundanes! If a mundane even trains the muzzle of a firearm on someone in public who does not pose a threat, they would likely be charged with reckless endangerment and several other crimes, but cops do it every day with impunity. Maybe there are still a few cops who complete their entire lifelong careers without drawing a service weapon on their beats or in the field–I don’t know, but I’m nearly certain the number is far fewer than when I was born in the 1950s!

      To become more familiar with the problem, I suggest starting with the works of L.A. Times Journalist Of The Year award recipient, Radley Balko.

  14. The Officer used poor judgment to approach the alleged violator in this manner. He should have announced himself as a Peace Officer without delay as he approached and then took lawful enforcement action which he deemed appropriate to secure his own safety and to prevent an escalation of events. I too am retired military, with nearly 37 consecutive years in law enforcement and corrections. Maintaining control of a situation and a suspect(s) is paramount. From what the story indicates, the Officer acted improperly. Hopefully he will learn from his mistake. Rule 1 in Basic LEO 101 is at the end of the shift, go home in the same condition as when the shift started…alive.

  15. Sounds like this guy invited this upon himself. The group he is a member of stated they were doing this (going into a city park legally armed) to educate the public. Mission accomplished. With that said, the cop sneaking up and grabbing his pistol was beyond unprofessional. It was stupid, and he should be thankful he wasn’t shot. I hope he pays in court and everybody learns something from it all. Mission accomplished.

  16. I’d like to see this done correctly. Fair and equal treatment under the law requires it.

    The primary officer in question has commit a crime: Denying the exercise of a right codified in Florida Statutes, and ORIGINALLY guaranteed to individuals within the 2nd Amendment to the United States Constitution. Also, probable cause MUST exist prior to detaining a person. So, detaining without proper probable cause is another offense.

    Had any average person taken this same action against a LEO, they would be chargeable with aggravated assault (of a Peace Officer), a crime of violence (amongst other charges).

    Moreover, the commission of a “crime of violence” while in the possession of a firearm in EVERY instance is a FELONIOUS ACT in violation of 18 U.S.C. §924(C)(1), ‘crime of violence’ being defined in 18 U.S.C. § 16(b). There is no local opinion on whether to prosecute this matter. It is a FEDERAL violation which the State has a duty to uphold.

    The felony conviction from this charge results in the guilty party becoming a convicted felon and further ineligible to possess (in any manner) firearms. THAT IS APPROPRIATE JUSTICE DELIVERED FOR AN UN(DER)EDUCATED LEO.

    You want to be treated as a professional without being questioned? Be a professional, beyond questioning, and KNOW YOUR JOB.

    This same standard already applies to the general citizenry, which classification all LEOs had to proved they belonged before gaining LEO employment.

    Be smart, or become a convicted felon. It is your choice folks.

  17. He did not announce his presence and stalked someone. First contact was a grab for a firearm. Had the man shot the cop, he would have been charged with murder. But if the police did not murder him while he was in custody, the defense attorney would have made child’s play out of ripping the prosecution a new one.

    When police break the law and endanger lives, they risk becoming a victim. I am one of a likely few who have seen a cop disarmed by a citizen, The cop was out of line and threatening a man’s wife with arrest for parking in a non-designated area. He reached down and put his hand on his gun and the husband totally cold coked him in the jaw. and removed his sidearm.

    The wife went into the IHOP and called the police (this was before there was a 911). After and hour at the scene with the husband in cuffs, they released him. The cop got a loud talking to by a superior right in the parking lot.

    I respect police, but once they cross the line – well – you know.

    1. Never happened, give us a break. if it was before 911, that white trash would have been tuned up long before it escalated. Stop making up stories to justify being a coward who never served anyone but themselves.

    2. Whiskey papa…maybe YOU`VE never seen anything like that, but I know for FACT many cops have been “cold cocked” while in the line of duty. Now maybe it happened, or maybe it didn`t, but to come right out and call him a bald faced liar which is what you`ve basically done, I believe is just a little overboard. It sounds too me like maybe your a ex-cop that`s been cold cocked before!

    3. Your such a Moron, I debated whether it was worth responding.
      1. Never happened
      2. Didn’t happen because Cold cocking a cop is felonious assault in any state.
      3. Taking a law enforcement officers weapon= Deadly force
      4. CCW permit does not make you an expert at anything
      5. Law enforcement officers are assaulted everyday, but there superiors aren’t showing up at the scene of the assault, releasing the suspect then chastising the officer that was assaulted
      6. Refer back to number 1

  18. @Tom, I’m recently retired military, other members of this blog are former, retired and current military. You insult many, many good, patriotic men and women with your claim that we can’t even spell Constitution.
    Speaking of Constitution, where I was raised, we capitalize the C in Constitution.
    You conflate public officials who were voted into office with the military as well.
    How in the hell did you forget that those confiscations ended with the firearms returned or the owner reimbursed for the unlawful confiscation of firearms?
    While I’m addressing points out of order, I’m quite certain that you complain about illegal immigration, but you also complain about efforts to staunch the flow of illegal aliens near the Texas-Mexico border.
    Where else should ICE look for illegal aliens instead, in the Pentagon?! The New York Stock Exchange? Oh, I know, up near the Canadian border!

  19. @Mikial, I tend to speak, in person or online in an argumentative tone. My apologies if that seems like I’m seeking an argument, I was seeking clarification, as Pennsylvania is considered northeast and I do have a soft spot for my home state that I’ll likely never fully figure out.
    An example of some confusion, the state is open carry, but to carry a pistol lawfully when hunting requires a permit, per the unelected PA game commission.
    The very cradle of liberty has all manner of odd practices that clash with that status as the cradle. We retain an inefficient state store system, designed by a governor who stated he wanted alcohol to be as expensive and inconvenient as possible to acquire.

    Of course, Philadelphia always was a special case, as it was always and remains the most populous city in the Commonwealth and state codes acknowledged the congestion of the city. Open carry in Philadelphia is unlawful, but the state is a shall issue state and my second CCW permit was from the city.
    Hell, a century before the Declaration of Independence was penned (as I recall, 50 years either way for wiggle room), celebratory gunfire was outlawed in the city. I can’t argue with that, as I was present for a neighbor’s daughter catching an expended ricochet on the leg on Independence day.
    Blithering idiot is the most polite thing that comes to mind in regards to the gun owner who fired into the air that night.

    I’ll close for the evening with a reminder of Matthew 5:22 : “That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.”
    Raca is the transliterated term for fool.
    Falling again back to “judge not, lest ye be judged”.

    1. @Wzrd1

      Thanks for the apology, and no worries or offense intended on my part.

      It’s just that too many people on these blogs seem to think it’s an opportunity to be a keyboard assassin, so I very much appreciate your response.

      I do see PA as different from the other states around you. It would be good if the Congress would get off their collective backsides and pass a universal reciprocity law. If every state is required to recognize every other state’s driver’s license, then why not each other’s CCW?

      I lived in Utah for many years and they accept a CCW from any other state in the Union. That’s the way it should be. Virginia is pretty good too, and between my VA and Utah permits I can legally carry in 37 staes currently, including PA.

  20. Court upholds ban on openly carrying guns

    Author: Jim Saunders, News Service of Florida
    Published On: Feb 18 2015 01:51:45 PM EST Updated On: Feb 18 2015 11:15:41 PM EST
    TALLAHASSEE, Fla. –
    In what judges described as a first-of-its-kind case, an appeals court Wednesday upheld a Florida law that prevents people from openly carrying firearms, finding that the restriction does not violate constitutional rights to bear arms.
    The ruling by a three-judge panel of the 4th District Court of Appeal stemmed from the 2012 arrest in Fort Pierce of Dale Norman, who was openly carrying a gun in a holster. A jury found Norman guilty of a second-degree misdemeanor charge, leading to the appeal on constitutional grounds.
    A local gun rights attorney, Eric Friday told News4Jax about his original fight in court for his client Norman.
    “What the court said today was there’s a right to carry a gun outside the home for your own protection, and that’s protected by the constitution, but in order to exercise that right, you have to get a license… That makes no sense,” said Friday.
    Friday argued that his client’s federal and state constitutional rights were violated when he was arrested.
    “The court disagreed with that. However, the court did state one important thing no court has ever said before in the state of Florida– that is, the right to carry, that there is a right to carry outside the home,” he said.

  21. @Duane, that is interesting. I’ll have to check on the code in Florida, as there are conflicting claims here.

    One thing I’ve never figured out from my own home state of Pennsylvania, the state is open carry, save when hunting and one requires a permit to open carry a handgun. Worse, that law is from the PA Game Commission, who are unelected, but wrote law.
    In the very state that the Constitution was penned!

    I was born and raised in that state, I doubt I’ll figure it out before I die of old age, if I manage to live that long.

  22. Congratulations to Mr.Freeman for maintaining his cool during that incident. His actions were clearly more appropriate than those of a hot-dogging cop. Most of the cops I met while living in Florida were above that kind of action and those few hot-doggers give the good ones a bad name I hope that cop gets ripped a new one when this case gets to court. This just shows how anti-gun thinking and legislation hurts law abiding citizens more than criminals and other deadbeats..

    1. @Dan.

      I agree, the cop would have loved to generate an incident, and if Mr. Freeman had reacted it would have ruined his chance to get justice out of the situation.

      I grew up in upstate New York and left when I was 18 and never looked back. I live in Virginia now where open carry is legal for anyone who can legally own a gun. no permit required. We have worked hard here to keep it that way, but there are still a few incidents like the one described in the post each year, and the advice of our state gun rights association is to stay cool and let the law be on your side.

  23. @ricky, first, a POTUS can sign a million treaties, they have no effect whatsoever until *Congress* ratifies them.
    Second, no treaty may override the Constitution that empowers the treaties, the Constitution is the bedrock of our laws, treaties are subordinate.
    Finally, you’re as full of sh#$ as a Christmas Goose about the “Constitution free zone” bullsh#$.
    First, our coasts are also borders. Washington, D.C. is less than 100 miles from the border of the coast. No martial law there, no summary executions, no gun grabbing. Many, many, many US military bases are within your idiotic “Constitution free zone” and there’d be a mutiny from hell if that bullsh$# was declared.

    So, go get help, you’ve lost your everloving mind.
    Or at least law off of the stupid flakes and moron milk at breakfast.

    1. @Wzrd1 — while Ricky’s rhetoric may be a bit over the top, there is a bit of truth behind each of his claims. If you doubt that there are constitutional issues in the area 50-100 miles in from the borders, I suggest you visit Texas, where ICE happily sets up its own “border checkpoints” on roads far north of the US/Mexico border, where they stop and inspect vehicles even if the vehicle has never been near the border must less across it. And you can most absolutely forget about any idea that the military in significant numbers would actively refuse any orders on constitutional grounds – they never have and never will. Most of our military would be lucky to SPELL “constitution” much less know what it says with enough confidence and conviction to do any more than gripe until told to “Shut Up And Soldier.” We already have a federal government where officials openly violate the law and openly defy orders from federal judges. The situation isn’t any better at the state and local level in many areas. Look at the illegal gun confiscations in Louisiana and other gulf coast states in the aftermath of Katrina. If you expect the constitution to protect your rights YOU the real definition of “Crazy Constitutionalist”

  24. @Mikial, where in the northeast are you speaking of?
    Open carry is and has been always throughout my half century of life lawful in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, save in cities of the first class. Pennsylvania has only one city of the first class, Philadelphia.
    Pennsylvania is also a shall issue state. That, courtesy of Philadelphia and a couple of other counties who unlawfully withheld CCW permits.
    Blanket statements like that are as bad as when someone on this very blog complained that “northern states” (blah, blah), in reference to the state of Maryland – a state most decidedly south of the Mason-Dixon line.

    1. @Wzrd1

      I guess I was referring to states in the northeastern portion of the United States. Places like New York, Maryland, Washington DC, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Hew Hampshire, and New Jersey. If it makes you feel better I’m glad to say that PA is a happy exception.

      If you’re just looking for an argument, which based on your other posts on this blog it’s evident that you are, then look somewhere else because my father taught me to never argue with a fool.

  25. This incident should not surprise anybody. Obama issued an executive order 13547 (law of the sea treaty). this executive order gives the U.N. authority over all water ways, which could also be subject to the small arms treaty that obama signed with the U.N. Also, obama issued a policy with homeland security to establish a constitution-free zone along all U.S. boarders that extend 100 miles inland. either way florida is screwed .

  26. Cops in coastal Florida are “owned”by the rich condo owning yankees. Those yankees “own” the water…….. Any complaint will brings the “Nazis” with badges down upon you…. Cruising boaters are a prime target also…. I was detained for an hour during a “safety inspection” while they tried to find a way to charge me for having a semi auto AK 47 on board……Heil Hitler!

  27. Why would you think I see dogs as a weapon or that I am afraid of them — neither of those is true. I was merely using dogs as an analogy.

  28. It looks to me as if the officer was trying to cause an incident so he could charge Mr Freeman. Dirty pool, I hope Mr Freeman wins big.

    1. @Rich

      I completely agree. And I hope he gets into deep kim chee over it. He was just another overbearing jerk trying to make a big splash. Well, he succeeded but not in the way he hoped.

      I AM a little surprised this happened in Florida where it’s a pretty gun friendly state. Up in the kommunist northeast or west coast it would be normal, not that those poor people can even carry a gun in public.

  29. Look at the people that will never seek the help they need, who already have guns. And to say the mentally ill dont have friends, or are incapable of getting one. I’ve read almost everyones comments, kudos to you.

  30. This would also be a good opportunity to challenge Florida’s carry laws. It would not only improve carry law if OC were legal, it would free up resources for law enforcement to worry about more important things than the way a peaceful citizen is carrying.

    I know: Some of you are dedicated concealed carry only advocates. You can carry however you like; I don’t care. If you take the “open” and “concealed” out of carry, however, you’re left with a right: Not just keeping (owning) but bearing (carrying) arms. A well-codified law will, if it must, specify that since carry is not necessary illegal, a person cannot be detained without RAS just to see whether they have a carry permit. It should also offer recourse against an officer who harasses people just for carrying.

  31. As a retired LEO, I can say that the tactic this officer chose was unsafe and inappropriate. However, Florida law is clear. Open carry is not legal in the State. I believe this lawsuit is designed to challenge that law. I don’t know why it’s not legal because there are many very rural areas in Florida where it would be practical and appropriate. I can understand why open carry would be illegal in cities and towns but it should not be illegal in the boonies. IMHO.

    1. It is legal, in the state of Florida, to open carry when you are fishing, hunting or camping. He was fishing and well within the law to open carry.

    2. The 2015 Florida Statutes

      (3) LAWFUL USES.— , it is lawful for the following persons to own, possess, and lawfully use firearms and other weapons, ammunition, and supplies for lawful purposes:

      (h) A person engaged in fishing, camping, or lawful hunting or going to or returning from a fishing, camping, or lawful hunting expedition;

    3. Michael, you refer to the correct section of Florida’s statutes, but interestingly omit the relevant provision, choosing instead to quote the irrelevant provision says nothing about whether the possession can be open. The following provision says what you meant, noting that section 790.053 is the prohition against open carry.

      LAWFUL USES.—The provisions of ss. 790.053 and 790.06 do not apply in the following instances … :

      (h) …

  32. I hope he wins and wins big with no room for appeal. In fact, I hope it painful enough that more nit wit officers don’t try the utterly stupid move to snatch an open carry gun from behind someones back which could have resulted in death or serious injury to the victim – George Freeman – or the idiot officer who attempted this move and possibly even an innocent bystander had the officer gotten even more stupid.
    Filing trespass charges unless Mr Freeman violated a trespass order were simply retribution for no other charges being applicable and to prevent the cops from feeling as foolish as they looked.
    Go get them George Freeman and lets hope the departments involved hold some immediate retraining for involved officers, better carry law training for all officers and make specific policy changes to how these departments are intending to handle future incidents involving legal citizen carry, open or concealed.

  33. What a fool this local LEO is. If anybody should know there local law. It should be the LEO’s. Why would this LEO even attempt to grab the handgun? He had no reason to. Was there a warrant out for this person for a crime? NO! It was a stupid action on his part.

  34. I carry ED a full size Sig 320 concealed. In my view open carry by civilians in crowded urban places is asking for a problem and other than increasing personal egos although lawful, it does little to project any good for the pro-gun community in the eyes of the general public. Yes I have carried open carried while in the border desert and while hunting possible dangerous game but as a BUG for the long gun that I was armed with. As it has been said “to each his own.”

    1. It’s been proven time and again that in places where law abiding citizens are permitted to conceal/carry the crime rate is much lower. Why? Because who wants to take a chance robbing someone and end up with a hole in their chest.
      http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2013-08-09/picturing-plunge-gun-crimes-gun-sales-surge
      http://www.theacru.org/harvard_study_gun_control_is_counterproductive/
      And the sources go on and on. But it’s a pain to post then from my phone.

    2. Great we should lose or not use our second amendment rights
      as others may not like it.
      What other rights should we give up if others don’t like it ?

  35. How does that apply to Wheelchair Drivers? I have a “Special Wheelchair Rig” which allow’s me direct access to my “Piece”. Though NOT directly on my Person, is that considered a “Personal Carry” or a “Carry Optional Rigging”…

    1. TxFree is right on. In my opinion, open carry is an ego thing. like the guy who buys a pit bull or Doberman because it enhances his image (in HIS eye, anyway). I was a training officer in a large police dept. and we teach our guys to keep their off duty weapons concealed and not to wear t-shirts, caps, etc. that identify them as cops, otherwise, you may become the first target. If we are in a store, etc. where a robbery or worse, is taking place, we do not want the bad guy(s) to know who we are until WE are ready for them to find out. If you want to open carry, go ahead, but realize that you will be the first target if someone wants to take people out and they know in advance that you are armed.

    2. I can see the ego thing with a pit bull however if you want a highly trainable dog you buy a full sized Poodle which is the most intelligent dog or the second option is the Doberman then comes the German Shepard. Its entirely how you train them every dog is protective of its meal ticket their owner. As you see these animals as weapons its no wonder that you are afraid of them as you are not their master you show fear and they sense that become the master and show no fear talk to them like they were children it disarms them and you will become a better LEO because of it.

    3. Add a double target for the criminal who wants another gun, it’d be like carrying a billboard saying “Shoot me first, get a free prize!”.
      Personally, the only time I open carry is when hunting and might need a dispatch round.

    4. I agree, Txfree.

      Why draw attention to yourself? The same goes for clothes that advertise guns, or stickers on your vehicle. Low profile avoids a lot of problems and might give you an edge when something comes up. As T. Roosevelt said, “Speak softly and carry a big stick.”

  36. As a LEO and still working I can say I’ve had the occasion to stop officers from doing stupid things like this. It’s often stated the best officer is not the smartest but the one with common sense. This officer probably has a history of doing similar things that have been questionable. He sounds like a typical “Tackleberry”.

    1. Thank you Ron H.. You hit that right on the head! I have many LEO’s in my family and friends, retired and active . I’m so glad to see when people like you with standards and common sense speak up. Keep up the good work and thank you for all you do. God Bless and be safe.

    2. This LEO should be fired and banned from any police agency for the rest of his life for a blatant display of stupidity at the highest level!!!

      I live in AZ where it’s legal to carry open or concealed without permits. I prefer to carry concealed because I want the bad guys to guess whether I am armed or not. I just hope and pray that I will not be involved in such an encounter , but I am ready just in case.

    3. He does sound like an incident awaiting the wrong time and place to happen, Ron.
      That was a hazardous, inappropriate escalation, rather than standard engagement that is more typical. Grabbing for a firearm without warning is a way to have something spiral out of control in under a second.
      Fortunately, nobody ended up suffering from high speed lead poisoning.
      It’ll certainly be interesting and expensive for the municipality that employs that officer!

    4. Totally agree. I live in a state where I have the option of open carry or concealed carry but I choose concealed. I don’t wear what I call “shoot me first” clothes or advertise my favorite firearms manufacturer, or the NRA, with a sticker on my vehicles windshield.
      What is the point of calling attention to yourself other than making yourself the first target of opportunity.

  37. Super dumb move by the cop.Officers get paid to uphold the law. This mindless move illustrates stupid assumptions on the officers part and exposes him to a deadly threat. The officer should have at least put cover between himself and the target.If some person sneaked up on me to try and grab my gun they would most likely have to answer to a higher authority for that action-uniformed or not.By not identifying himself as a Lawman the individual could be an impostor.Dumb.

    1. “…after some complaints were received….”
      Yeah? I’d like to hear those 911 (or other) calls. I don’t some pussies who faint at the mere sight of a gun may have called in, or, more likely, that park, which I know well, is heavily patrolled. Its in a rich part of town, after all, where all the rich tax payers live and want to see cops as part of their tax dollars at work. Also, its a cushy ride. Nice park, shady, on the bay, concessions, lotsa of nice young moms to talk to whilst protecting them….bored, happen to see a guy with a gun – “Hey, let’s roust that guy, tell this cute blonde to watch us heroes protecting her, get her phone number as a witness….”

  38. As a former LEO, I am embarrassed to see this report. Considering how gun friendly Florida law is, the Tampa officer should know the law concerning concealed/open carry of firearms.

    I wonder if this officer is aware of the recently passed law regarding accidental display of a concealed weapon. I hope he learns the law. In Florida, it is perfectly legal if your weapon prints, or when your concealment garment uncovers your weapon while moving around or if blown open by the wind.
    Before officers can enforce the laws, they need to know the laws. Usually common sense covers most situations, but there are many occasions when the letter of the law makes all the difference.

  39. Been cases, not just in Florida, but other states, where people with a valid CCW were put in handcuffs and their weapons seized.
    This is why I don’t carry open. While not all cops go ‘bat crap crazy’ over seeing a weapon (they generally recognize that if your weapon is exposed, you have a valid carry permit), there are enough ‘psycho’ cops out there to make life difficult for those for those that do choose open carry. A few years back in a state that I lived in (then, but no longer), a man was legally carrying on his own property, county cop shows up and arrests him. Some ‘dumb assed’ neighbor called to report a man with a gun. The man was charged for hunting out of season, since no other charge could be made to stick.
    Being a former cop myself, and even at my age (68),with lightening reflexes, someone, cop or not, trying to grab my weapon, would have been picking himself up off the ground while staring at the working end of my back up weapon.

    1. Roy, I retired from the phone company a few years ago and one of the ‘outside plant’ techs was an older gal whose name was Doris but everyone called her Granny. Her husband was a hard-core scooter bum who worked for years and saved up enough money to buy a brand new Harley bagger for cash. He had a buddy that was in prison in Illinois and his first long road trip was to visit his pal in the slammer. He had an unloaded semi-auto pistol in one of his saddle bags and the magazine with a box of ammo in the other. He left Arizona and was somewhere in Nebraska and got stopped by a cop who asked him if he was carrying any arms and he replied ‘Yes Sir’ and said they items were in the bottom of each bag. He was arrested, put in jail with a bond of something in the neighborhood of $20,000, which of course he couldn’t pay. He went to court and the judge said he could forfeit his new bike to the state and he’d drop the charges. So guess what? The cops got a $18,000 to $20,000 bike for free and I’ll bet one of the cops is now riding that bike. What a crock of BS that was.

  40. Yes, when Florida went for the open carry law this past year we lost. Well not all. If we bend over or if or shirt blows open and exposes our firearm we can’t be harassed by law enforcement. Full open carry, did not pass in Florida.

  41. So many people post in these blogs screaming about how open-carry does a disservice to our overall Second Amendment cause. This story is a prime example of an open-carry demonstration that irrefutably dispels such opinions. This scenario went exceptionally well and overwhelmingly served to positively further educate the public on their Second Amendment rights. Here’s how…

    Without question, the amount of mainstream news coverage on this reached thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of people who just witnessed the city, their attorneys, and the police, all get spanked publicly for violating this man’s right to open-carry. There is no doubt many of those viewers had no clue prior to this incident that they could even legally carry. I’m certain this educated the public to think twice about calling in a man with a holstered gun, as well as spurred additional research by many that will begin to carry. This is good.

    Anyone that works in government, especially law enforcement, knows how an incident such as this spreads like wildfire throughout all department levels, thus forcing the issuance of new policy memos and re-training in order to stop boneheaded officers from further violation of such rights and to limit future liability. This is also good.

    And finally it served as a strong message to the proactive anti-gun groups that we are still winning, which serves to demoralize and disrupt their operations. At a minimum it will at least agitate them which is a morale booster for us, and source of personal satisfaction for me. This is always a good thing.

    1. @GMan

      This was not an open carry demonstration as you claim. It was a guy fishing, carrying openly under the law that specifically states it is legal to do so. No reasonable person could think that a guy fishing on a long public pier was “about to” (the legal standard under Terry) commit a crime.

      In contrast, in actual open carry demonstrations the demonstrators will typically create scenarios where they might be confused with someone who is “about to” commit a crime, specifically in order to create and film armed confrontations with cops for (misguided) political purposes.

      At any rate, the cop who grabbed for that gun could and should be charged with criminal battery and possibly assault. What an effing loser.

    2. @ PeteDub

      At no time did I claim this to be “a demonstration” in the sense that you’ve inferred. What I actually stated was, “This STORY is a prime example of an open-carry demonstration…” Emphasis on the word “story”, as in the entire story serves to demonstrate a point that benefits the advocacy of the Second Amendment through open-carry.

      In the English Language, the word “demonstration” is not exclusively reserved to serve only your imagination’s singular interpretation. More broadly, I appropriately applied it in an expansive context to describe a show of open support, and all without any regard to Mr. George Freeman’s actual intent.

      More specifically, whether singular or in a group, any time someone is exercising a specific right, such as Mr. George Freeman was, they are in effect “demonstrating” their support for such a right.

      The fact is, neither you nor I know with absolute certainty Mr. George Freeman’s intent that day, but under no circumstances would that preclude me from characterizing the entire STORY as a “demonstration” of a successful conclusion to exercising the right to open-carry.

      As for the remainder of your comment, that too lends itself to narrow mindedness. Nowhere in the article or the video was it ever stated that the public felt Freeman was “about to commit a crime”. It was simply stated that Tampa Police received a call from “concerned residents”.

      Obviously you do not consider their “concern” to be reasonable, but that does not mean it wasn’t qualified. It easily becomes reasonable when authorities take into account the laws of that region and the specific circumstances of this scenario.

      In this case it transpired within a family park while the gentleman was exercising a rather obscure law which allowed his open-carry only under very specific conditions, of which, the public is not regularly exposed to. Given those particular circumstances it would therefore be quite reasonable to expect someone in the public at large to consider this unusual enough to at least generate a call of concern.

      But most insulting, and just as ignorant, is your implication that open-carry demonstrations “typically” attempt to intentionally appear as illicit for the purpose of drawing in law enforcement in hopes of filming potential conflicts.

      This makes it hard to ever take you seriously in the future.

    3. G-Man, most of us out here new exactly your interpretation of “demonstration”. Unfortunately there are those out here that are not as well educated as yourself, and his response in general lends itself to make others out here think he really didn`t grasp not only your response, but the article in it`s entirety. You make valid points in both of your posts.

  42. I was a cop for over 20 years. If some of the current crop of busy body cops would think a little and maybe look for real criminals of the taking the lazy route of enforcing penny ante ordinances the world would be a better place. We need more working cops and less revenue agents.

  43. As a former leo myself, I find the the actions of the officer reprehensible and stupid. Not only did the officer not know the law, but he was extremely stupid in the handling of the situation. To attempt to grab a handgun from a holster opens oneself up to all kinds of nightmarish scenarios. Not knowing the law is also inexcusable. All in all, the police department and the city of Tampa need to be held accountable.

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