Righting a Wrong Created by the Courts and Over Zealous Prosecutors…

“If the state of Florida is going to accuse a citizen of committing a crime, the state of Florida should have the burden of proof at each and every part of the proceedings.”

Yesterday was a huge step in the right direction for Constitutional believers and concealed carry license holders in Florida. The ripple effect could be felt nationwide.

Gov. Scott (R) of Florida signed SB-128 into law, correcting what many, especially the legislators in Florida who wrote the original “Justifiable Use of Force”, thought was a travesty of the courts.

What many people who are unfamiliar with self-defense laws do not know is that in Florida if you used a firearm or any other weapon in self-defense, before this Bill was signed into law, you had to have a hearing before a Judge and the prosecution to prove you used it in self-defense. This was the only way to be able to claim self-defense immunity. Yes, you read that correctly, you had to prove in a court of law that you were innocent.

 

Read the rest of the story here…

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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.

Why Gun Control Will Not Work

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By Chris Wagoner:

If you do not live under a rock and pay any attention to the news and media at all, you will have heard the terms “gun control” or “common sense gun control” and also “assault weapon ban.” The issue is that if you ask different people to define these terms, you get different answers. No one can explain for you exactly what these terms mean, and there is a reason for that—a very simple reason. These terms describe something that does not exist. There is no such thing.

What? I know, I know– you have been bombarded with these terms for a couple of years now. You think you know what they mean, but you really don’t. They simply do not exist: there is no way to have, make, or legislate anything called “gun control.”

Gun control is a fallacy that those who fear or do not like firearms use to try to describe something they think will stop the shootings and killings that happen around the country. Well, I hate to burst their bubble, but there is not one single law—not one single “gun-free zone” or anything like that—that has stopped a single shooting. I would love to see the confession of a gun-wielding psychopath who said they were going to shoot up a location but decided not to because they saw a sign that read “gun-free zone”. There are people who think this happens; they are so sure of this that they want to create more gun-free zones. I guess it will take some incident they are involved in to make them realize you cannot legislate safety by taking away the ability of law-abiding citizens to protect themselves.

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National Reciprocity is Way Overdue

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By Chris Wagoner:

On the very first day of the new 115th Congress, Representative Richard Hudson (R-NC) introduced national concealed carry reciprocity legislation. As a concealed carry license holder himself, this is something that President-elect Donald Trump has repeatedly said he supported.

The idea of being able to carry your firearm from one state to the next if you are licensed or allowed to carry in your home state has been long discussed. Previously, legislation such as this would have had very little possibility of passing, especially with a Democratic White House where it was sure to be vetoed before the ink was dry. But it appears, with the inauguration of the new Republican President-elect looming, that Congress has already started to seriously consider the kinds of things that it could not even dare to think about before.

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What Can We Do About All the Violence?

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By Chris Wagoner:

I just watched a video of the first shots fired by the Ft. Lauderdale airport shooter. It appears he casually walked through the baggage claim area, drew the gun from his waist, and started to fire. I will say that it looked like he was very determined to shoot the first victim, as he passed many others before he decided to act.

What kind of a person does this type of thing? What kind of person shoots and kills a fellow human being for no reason at all? It is morally reprehensible and against the very basic tenets of most religions, including mine. It is also against how I was raised. So, what can we do to stop — or at least reduce — the occurrence of this type of event?

Well, I hate to burst the bubble of all those who think that changing any laws will make a difference. These types of events have been going on throughout the entire history of this nation and many others. And as our nation grows, and more and more people crowd into the available land system, more of these types of shootings and morally reprehensible acts (The Facebook Torture Crew comes to mind) will happen. The very freedoms that we cherish so much are what make this type of act possible. You cannot have safety without true freedom. You cannot legislate morality into the laws of our land.

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