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.