Florida Officers are NOT Taught Firearms Law in the Police Academy.

I can only speak for my state, Florida, but I have found something that is very eye opening and needs to be addressed by the State of Florida.

I found that in the Basic Law Enforcement Officers Training Curriculum there is no mention anywhere of the laws and procedures relating to firearms and Concealed Carry License holders and laws, and it is vital that it be addressed immediately as it could result in the serious consequences for both my fellow law enforcement officers, and the law abiding citizens of Florida!

I have been teaching and training law enforcement and corrections officers in Florida for more than 34 years. I currently am the Law Enforcement/ Corrections Training Coordinator at Santa Fe College, Institute of Public Safety in Gainesville, and have been there for going on 20 years now. I have been very active in the past in writing and developing the FDLE/CJSTC Curriculum that we use to teach in our basic courses, acting as an SME (Subject Matter Expert) for FDLE on several subjects.

As part of my duties as coordinator, it is important that I review the current curriculums and make sure that we are teaching all of the needed information to make our officers/ deputies the very best informed and trained LEO’s we can. In addition, the more knowledgeable our LEO’s are the better they are equipped to handle situations that arise during their careers, and also helps to keep them from being liable for any misdeeds due to the lack of knowledge or training. It was while reviewing last years and this year’s Basic LEO curriculum that I found a serious omission in the text and materials.

I am sure that if I asked you how much time we spend on the firearms laws in the State of Florida in the Basic Academy you would probably say at least several hours, right? I mean with over 1.7 million concealed weapons license holders, you would think that we would address these laws and the proper way of dealing with this group of law abiding citizens correct? Well, we do not. There is actually 0 (zero) time or lessons dedicated to the instruction of the Firearms laws in the state of Florida. Even though Officers are expected to know and deal with these laws almost on a daily basis. In fact, we do not cover the laws concerning the CWL holders of Florida and what is legal and what is not as it pertains to citizens possessing firearms.

There are even only a few very brief, very short mentions of the Florida Chapter 790 in the entire training text. One of which simply mentions that it is one of the warrantless arrest exceptions for “Carrying a Firearm in Violation of an Injunction (s. 790.233, F.S.)” and “Carrying a Concealed Weapon (s. 790.02, F.S.)”[1] in Chapter 1. Chapter 2 mentions it as one of the crimes in Chapter 2, Unit 3, Lesson 2, Elements of crimes where it covers “carrying a Concealed Weapon (without a license), s. 790.01, Misdemeanor/ Felony”[2]. That is it! That is the entire law enforcement curriculum on dealing with firearms laws.

It is understood that we cannot cover every law and every situation in the Basic Law Enforcement Academies. I know this better than most people. But I also know that with the increase in Concealed Weapons License’s in the State of Florida (now over 1.7 million!) officers are encountering the law abiding citizen that is legally armed more and more. And with several current cases and lawsuits against officers and departments for unlawful arrests[3], or otherwise unknowingly violating a law-abiding, licensed citizens’ rights and getting complaints filed against them, we need to do something to better protect our officers, departments and the law abiding citizens of Florida.

I first discovered this lack of information when working on an in-service training curriculum with the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office Training Unit. They were getting complaints about officers disarming CWL holders during routine traffic stops and were investigating the legality of this issue and trying to better educate their Deputies. I assisted with the curriculum due to my involvement in this subject matter for a number of years.  We developed and used a very good curriculum and taught their deputies during in-service about the current state laws concerning the carrying of firearms by citizens. Both lawful and unlawful, and the training was well received.

The major issue at hand is the practice of officers “disarming” lawfully carrying citizens on the side of the street without any further reason than they are armed. Any handling of a firearm (which the LEO may not be familiar with) on the side of the road or elsewhere is potentially dangerous. It has been discussed and there is case law to support the view that officers, while being able to use Stop and Frisk (F.S.S. 901.151) when someone is under investigation for a criminal act, and when finding that the person may be armed AND is a danger to the officer, the officer may frisk for weapons, it does not cover frisking or disarming a law abiding citizen, who is not breaking any laws other than a possible civil infraction of traffic law. Officers can and do ask motorist and passengers if they are armed, and rightly can do so. But by Florida law it is not covered that they can then, upon learning they are a licensed, lawfully carrying citizen, disarm that person and deprive them of their property. In fact, the courts have held otherwise. In fact case law states that it is not permitted.[4] In fact, Florida law does not require a citizen to notify an officer they are lawfully armed unless the officer directly asks the person if they are armed (790.06).

In order to prevent citizen complaints and lawsuits for violation of citizens’ rights, do away with the unnecessary handling of firearms on the side of the street, and to increase the trust of the citizens with our police officers statewide (which is vital right now considering current events) I respectfully request that the CJSTC consider adding a lesson on Chapter 790, Firearms Laws and include as part of that, “Law Enforcement interactions with Concealed Weapons License Holders”.

This training is vital to our current situation and may help prevent unnecessary litigation and even possible injury or worse happening to one of our LEO’s or a law abiding citizen. And it is important to remind everyone involved that there are multiple cases now of lawfully armed citizens saving the lives of Police Officers across the nation! Lawful gun owners are not the problem or the enemy!

 

Refs:

1 Florida Basic Recruit Training Program, Text Book 1, Version 2016.07, Page 52 & 53.

2 Florida Basic Recruit Training Program, Text Book 1, Version 2016.07, Page 74.

3 Freeman & Florida Carry v. City of Tampa, et al./ Norman vs. State of Florida (currently under review by the Florida Supreme Court) / Florida Carry v. City of Daytona Beach

4 741 So.2d 1268 (1999), Bruce WELCH, Appellant, v. STATE of Florida, Appellee. No. 98-2615. District Court of Appeal of Florida, Fifth District.

[1] Florida Basic Recruit Training Program, Text Book 1, Version 2016.07, Page 52 & 53.

[2] Florida Basic Recruit Training Program, Text Book 1, Version 2016.07, Page 74.

[3] Freeman & Florida Carry v. City of Tampa, et al./ Norman vs. State of Florida (currently under review by the Florida Supreme Court) / Florida Carry v. City of Daytona Beach

[4] 741 So.2d 1268 (1999), Bruce WELCH, Appellant, v. STATE of Florida, Appellee. No. 98-2615. District Court of Appeal of Florida, Fifth District.

 

Mandating Self-Defense Insurance for those that Carry Firearms – good or bad idea?

“The cost of using your firearm in self-defense can be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars if you have to hire a lawyer, get yourself bailed out of jail, and fight for yourself in court.”

There has been some back and forth in various media and groups on the internet about possible gun control laws that would require a person who carries a firearm for self-defense to have insurance in case the firearm is used in any incident. And some legislators thought about making it mandatory to get a concealed carry permit. I don’t think I need to tell you this is a bad idea on many levels, but just in case, let me try.

First, you should NEVER have to pay to exercise a right guaranteed by the Constitution. But even that is still not a reason good enough for some. Second, by requiring insurance to be allowed to carry a concealed or open carry firearm, you are limiting the exercise of a right to only those who can afford to purchase the insurance. That is basically “disenfranchising” to those with a lower socio-economic status. Third, the market is very limited in the choices of insurance carriers, and there is no “standard” that one can look for in a company.

Read the rest of the story here…

Anti-Gun Activists are Using Gun Phobia, the Education System and the Liberal Media to Slowly Take Away Second Amendment Rights!

By Joshua Gant, Opslens contributer, and LEO!

“The concept that you can stop crime by increasing gun legislation is so off base that it is dangerous to the safety and security of each and every citizen of the United States.”

As I sit back and watch headline after headline tick across my screen, it’s disgusting to me to witness the assault being waged on our right to keep and bear arms. For the people who seem to have forgotten, those rights are guaranteed by a document that liberals like to side step from time to time called the Constitution of the United States.

Read the rest here.

A Cop’s Perspective on The Top Ten Concealed Carry Firearms

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By Chris Wagoner:

When asked what I thought were the top ten concealed carry firearms, I thought about it and realized that you really couldn’t pick ten guns to be “the” guns. Each person is different, and has current styles and needs based on life factors that will help decide what gun is best for them. There are a few things people need to consider before they go out and buy a firearm for a concealed carry weapon. You have to consider your size (not the firearm, but your physical size), your experience with firearms, your lifestyle, and your clothing choices.

If you are really considering carrying a firearm for self defense, or one for your home or vehicle, you need to do a few things first. You need to learn your state’s laws on self defense, home defense, and defense in your vehicle. You need to learn to shoot and become proficient in the use of your firearm. You have to know you can use it while under stress, and once you can do that, you should not stop learning and training with it; your life may depend on it. Find a local firearms trainer and a local gun shop. Try out a few different firearms and different calibers. Find one you like, that you can shoot well, and that you will actually carry.

Read the rest of the article here…

Responsible Firearms Ownership: I Bought a Firearm for Self-Defense, Now What?

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By Chris Wagoner:

OK, you have decided to take that big step and buy a self-defense firearm for home or carry. Or maybe you got one for Christmas. Regardless of whether you already have one or are thinking of getting one, you need to be a responsible firearm owner. What does that entail? Well, take it from someone who has owned and used firearms for more than 40 years as part of my daily life, both as a police officer and firearms instructor. GET TRAINED!

The very first things you should learn if you are thinking of buying or already own a firearm are the four cardinal rules of gun safety. These rules apply anywhere in the world and are recognized as being the basis for all gun safety and training. Memorize them, follow them, and make others who are near you follow them too. They are simple and easy to remember and understand:

  1. Treat all firearms as if they are loaded, regardless of whether they are or not!
  2. Never point a firearm at anything unless you are willing to kill or destroy it!
  3. Always identify your target and what is beyond it!
  4. Keep your finger off the trigger until you are on target and ready to shoot!

Read the rest of the story here…

Carrying a Concealed Weapon Without a Round in the Chamber is a Matter of Life and Death

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“The only reason this could be true is that you’re either scared of your firearm or you’re simply not properly trained. If either is the case, STOP CARRYING!”

As a firearms instructor that carried a firearm as a cop for decades, and still carries one today, I understand the need for quick and immediate access to your self-defense firearm. That is why I am a proponent of the open carry of firearms if you are legally able to do so in your state. There is a reason why we LEO’s carry our firearms openly. It acts as a crime deterrent, and it gives ready access to your defensive firearm. I am also very set on teaching the benefit of carrying with a round in the chamber as you can tell from the title!

Read the rest of the story here!

What to do if You Conceal Carry a Firearm and are Caught in a “Lone Wolf” Attack!

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By Chris Wagoner:

Any time there is a discussion about gun laws, concealed carry versus open carry, and the various other issues revolving around the possession of firearms, someone will always bring up the issue that law enforcement will be confused and possibly shoot a licensed concealed carry or open carry firearms holder if involved in a mass shooting, Lone Wolf, or terrorist attack. Some of the anti-gun crowd like to use the “police won’t know who the bad guy is” argument or the “good guys with guns don’t stop bad guys with guns” line against arguments for less gun control.

If you are lucky enough to live in a state that allows concealed carry without a license — or open carry, for that matter — count yourself fortunate. If you live in a state that requires a license to exercise your Second Amendment rights, you fall within the majority of the nation. Either way if you carry a firearm and choose to do so (and what logical, realist, thinking adult wouldn’t) not many firearms classes cover what to do if you are caught up in some kind of a mass shooting or active shooter situation. So let’s try and cover a few options that you can pick from, gleaned from a few decades of training in firearms and law enforcement.

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What to Do If You Get Pulled Over While Legally Armed – A Cop’s Perspective

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By Chris Wagoner:

Recently, I was contacted by my local sheriff’s office and asked to help them out by developing training material for their deputies. This material would specifically provide legal guidelines for a police officer to follow in the state of Florida if someone he or she encountered had a concealed firearms license and was carrying a firearm, or had a firearm legally in their vehicle. Since I am a full-time law enforcement trainer in the state of Florida, and a staunch supporter of the second amendment, I gladly agreed to help.

I sat down and wrote out a training curriculum for the deputies that included Florida’s current state laws on firearms possession. I also used research from case laws regarding the rules and regulations of confiscations by police of citizens, including the notion of temporarily taking your firearm from you at a traffic stop. When all was said and done, the curriculum was well-received by the deputies and the sheriff’s office, and continues to be used not only by them, but by several other departments, and it is being considered for inclusion in the basic law enforcement training curriculum for the state of Florida.

But in doing this, it also brought to mind the other side of the coin: what should a citizen do if stopped by the police while carrying a firearm legally in the vehicle, or with a concealed firearms license and a firearm on them while driving?

Read the rest here…

Americans: Are You Willing to Defend Yourself and Those You Love?

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By Chris Wagoner:

When did it stop being cool or hip or whatever word you want to use in our society to be self-reliant and able to take care of yourself and your family? When did our ability to defend ourselves and defend those that we love become something that was considered wrong, or evil?

How in the world did we raise so many people in these United States to be afraid to defend themselves, even to the point of not fighting back when they know there is no other recourse but to die groveling in front of some lunatic or a madman with a gun?

I had a discussion, just the other day, with someone in an internet group who asked what they could have in their home other than a gun to defend their home and their family from an intruder. The conversation went on and I was informed that the person asking the question was doing so for a family member who was “very liberal” and scared of firearms. I thought to myself, how did this person who is afraid of firearms and “does not want to hurt the intruder” make it to this point? What possibly could have caused them to be this way?

Not hurt the intruder? Are you serious?

Read the rest here…

When Should a Police Officer Confiscate Your Firearm?

20160201_140207(0)-1-1By Chris Wagoner:

The recent shooting of a suspect, who was attacking a Florida Deputy, occurred when a law abiding, lawfully carrying, outstanding citizen shot and killed the attacker, quite possibly saving the deputy’s life. While no one wants to have to shoot someone, that is what happened.

The difference between this shooting and most self-defense shootings is the fact that it was witnessed (to some even directed by) the deputy. There is no question as to the justifiability of this shooting. By Florida law it’s a clear-cut case of self-defense and defense of another. Florida law permits you to not only defend yourself but also others if they are being attacked and you think they may be killed or suffer great bodily harm. (F.S.S. 776.012 Use or threatened use of force in defense of person.)

That said, there is no doubt that it was a lawful shooting. It was surprising when I saw another article which stated a local gun shop had to provide the citizen with another firearm to carry because his was taken into custody by the police. This was the point where I started to think as a cop. I am on the scene of a shooting that I know for a fact is not a crime because no criminal act was committed by the citizen. So I am looking at this particular case and wondered to myself, “What justification would I have to take the shooter’s firearm into evidence if I was there at the scene?”

Read the rest here:The rest of the story…