Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Florida Carry - Open Carry Court Case, Oral Arguments

Link to video on YouTube

Florida Carry has been litigating a case through the Florida court system, a case about whether a ban on open carry in Florida is constitutional under the State and Federal constitutions.  It is quite an accomplishment that the case is being heard by the Fourth District Court.   A few days ago, the oral arguments were heard by a three judge panel.  The video above, just under 39 minutes, is of the opposing counsels giving oral arguments before the three judge panel.

 The case is State v. Norman.   From a discussion of the case on opencarry.org:

 Judge Cliff Barnes of the St. Lucie County Court found three questions to be of great public importance to law enforcement and the millions of Florida gun owners, and certified them to be addressed by the appellate court:

1. Is Florida’s statutory scheme related to the open carry of firearms constitutional?

2. Do the exceptions to the prohibition against open carry constitute affirmative defenses to a prosecution for a charge of open carry or does the State need to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a particular defendant is not conducting him/herself in the manner allowed?

3. Does the recent “brief and open” display exception unconstitutionally infect the Open Carry Law by its vagueness?

These are questions Florida Carry has asked since a floor amendment gutted SB 234, a repeal of Florida’s open carry ban during the 2011 legislative session, resulting in the ambiguous “brief” language being inserted in statute.

It is Florida Carry’s position that since the Third District Court of Appeals found a concealed carry license for handguns to be a privilege and not a right in Crane v. Department of State, 547 So. 2d 266 (Fla. 3DCA 1989), and it is wholly unlawful to carry any firearm without a concealed carry license (except for the limited situations in §790.25(3) Florida Statutes), then it must follow that unlicensed open carry must be the right protected under the Constitution of Florida and the United States.
Oral arguments may, at best, give a hint at what the justices are thinking about.  They are certainly not conclusive of how a case will be decided.  Still, the video is fascinating simply because of the difference in preparation of the two attorneys.  Given, the State had little to work with here.   However, it does show that the justices are taking the case seriously.   They did their homework.  A few things from the video:

The State Attorney seems to admit that carrying a gun is a fundamental right.

The State Attorney does not know of any studies showing that openly carrying a gun increases crime, claiming that it is "just common sense".

The State Attorney does not know how many states currently allow open carry.

This has become a very interesting case.   I have no idea how long it will take the three judge panel to reach a decision and publish an opinion.

©2014 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.
Link to Gun Watch

No comments: