Seymour Gutmacher .... NRA and gun attorney
Basically this gun expert says "Open carry is not necessary, and lets stop the bill from passing"
There is a strong effort in the Florida Legislature, with a heavy push from the NRA, to pass an "open carry" of firearms bill for holders of the Florida Concealed Weapons Permit. Some proponents say this is necessary to prevent the arrest of CWP holders who may inadvertently, or accidentally expose their firearm. That is a misconception, and is not the law. Others feel it will make defensive use of a firearm safer and easier. That is debatable.
However, the vast majority of Florida citizens, including those within the firearms industry, are in opposition. Why? First, is the obvious fact that the Concealed Weapons Program has worked so well, and the laws in Florida are so firmly established, that most people wonder why we need to "fix" it with something else. Second, is the obvious fact that open carry is likely to offend many, and will likely lead to a substantial backlash by businesses who, in an effort to prevent open carry in their establishments, will take steps to ban all firearms and weapons, even those that are concealed.
Many of the states that allow "open carry" have laws that make it a crime to enter a store or business that has signs posted that forbid weapons on their premises. I personally predict Florida will pass such a law within two years if "open carry" is passed. This would be a felony in Florida because trespass with a firearm is considered the crime of "armed trespassing". It would also result in a marked reduction and effectiveness of the concealed weapons permit, because it will lead to significant restrictions in where you can currently carry. I seriously doubt that places like major grocery chains, banks, malls, restaurants, or medical facilities will welcome open carry, and will therefore take steps to prevent it. A sign that says "No firearms or weapons" will apply to both open and concealed carry if backed by a statute that prevents entry in such posted areas.
However, it is true, that it makes no sense to prevent "open carry" at places where the owner or proprietor has no objection. Likewise, if the Legislature wishes to clarify existing law that inadvertent or momentary exposure is not a crime, then the remedy is to have language stating that persons with a valid Concealed Weapons Permit "shall not be in violation of the provisions of s.790.053 (ie: prohibition against open carry) where a concealed firearm or weapon becomes momentarily or inadvertently exposed, or where the person has the permission of the person or entity on whose property he or she may be."
Florida’s Concealed Weapons Program works. Let’s not trash a system that we already have that works perfectly in favor of something so many oppose. If we want to make it better add the language I have suggested. Either that, or just leave it alone.
Jon H. Gutmacher is an atttorney, NRA crtified instructor and author of "Florida Firearms: Law, Use & Ownership"