Challenge To Open-Carry Law Goes To U.S. Supreme Court
Attorneys for a man arrested in 2012 in St. Lucie County asked the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday to take up a challenge to the constitutionality of a Florida law that bars people from openly carrying firearms in public.
The petition to the U.S. Supreme Court came slightly more than four months after the Florida Supreme Court, in a 4-2 decision, upheld the longstanding law. Monday's 35-page petition contends the law violates the Second Amendment and conflicts with U.S. Supreme Court rulings about gun rights.
“The issue is whether a prohibition on peaceably and openly carrying a lawfully-owned handgun infringes on `the right of the people to . . . bear arms' protected by the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution,” said the petition, posted on the website of the group Florida Carry, which has helped represent Dale Norman, the man arrested in St. Lucie County.
A majority of the Florida Supreme Court, however, upheld a 4th District Court of Appeal ruling against Norman.
“(We) agree with the 4th District and are satisfied that the state's prohibition on openly carrying firearms in public with specified exceptions — such as authorizing the open carrying of guns to and from and during lawful recreational activities — while still permitting those guns to be carried, albeit in a concealed manner, reasonably fits the state's important government interests of public safety and reducing gun-related violence,” the March 2 majority opinion said.
Norman, who had a concealed-weapons license, was arrested for carrying a gun openly in a holster. A jury found Norman guilty of a second-degree misdemeanor, and a trial judge imposed a $300 fine and court costs.