I'd read more than a few articles about carrying a concealed firearm long before I chose to obtain a permit and walk out of the house with a handgun strapped to my hip, and have written a few more since then. They've dealt with everything from gun and caliber choice to dry-fire practice, holster choice, and hitting the range. Rarely are outdoorsmen at a loss for words or topics since our everyday lives provide plenty of subject matter and all we have to do is drive around the neighborhood to come up with the next blog or newsletter column.
A few weeks ago I was passed on the interstate by a man aboard a motorcycle who had decided the rest of the traffic was too slow for his liking. Although this isn’t an abnormal occurrence on the roads of central Florida, the pistol sticking out of his waist band caught my attention. He must have known that his weapon was continually being revealed because he kept trying to pull down his T-shirt tail to cover it, only to have the wind lift it right back up again. I watched this show repeated three or four times before he got out of sight. I couldn’t help wonder what caliber the gun was and what the hell was he thinking with his choice of concealing clothing.
Wondering what the law was in this instance, I picked up a copy “Florida Gun Law Armed and Educated” by David S. Katz and James D. Phillips, Jr. to see what the legal eagles said and to read it in simple terms I could understand. As it turns out accidental or unintentionally revealing your weapon isn’t necessarily illegal in the state of Florida.
- Florida Statute 790.10 Improper exhibition of dangerous weapons or firearms.—If any person having or carrying any dirk, sword, sword cane, firearm, electric weapon or device, or other weapon shall, in the presence of one or more persons, exhibit the same in a rude, careless, angry, or threatening manner, not in necessary self-defense, the person so offending shall be guilty of a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.
- Florida Statute 790.053 Open carrying of weapons.—(1) Except as otherwise provided by law and in subsection (2), it is unlawful for any person to openly carry on or about his or her person any firearm or electric weapon or device. It is not a violation of this section for a person licensed to carry a concealed firearm as provided in s. 790.06(1), and who is lawfully carrying a firearm in a concealed manner, to briefly and openly display the firearm to the ordinary sight of another person, unless the firearm is intentionally displayed in an angry or threatening manner, not in necessary self-defense.
So to put it in simple terms: It is currently illegal to openly carry a firearm (with some exceptions like hunting and fishing) but accidentally or briefly displaying said weapon isn’t illegal as long as it was not done in a rude, careless, angry, or threatening manner. So what about our motorcyclist that repeatedly displayed his weapon? I have to believe that he made a terrible choice in cover clothing and should have placed his gun in a backpack, waist pack, or saddlebag while riding from point A to point B. He was knowingly flashing the weapon and walking a very fine line between legal and illegal. In my book, he was openly carrying the gun because his attempts to conceal it failed miserably.
The point of all this is to stress the idea that we must choose our clothing and our method of carry so they are appropriate for the seasons, activity level, and the size of our firearm. Many people have summer or dress wardrobes and weapons that differ from their winter or casual choices and they practice and are proficient with each of them. I’ve chosen to carry the same gun but I’ll change holsters and cover clothing based on the factors I mentioned. We tend to buy shirts that are one size larger than I normally wear to adequately cover either an inside the waistband or outside the waistband holster, and I always wear a belt designed to support the weight of a handgun. My wife carries the same gun but has multiple purses by Coronado Leather which fit different wardrobe choices.
“Open” and/or “concealed” are two distinct routes to the same self-protection goal, and each has laws defining what’s legal and acceptable. Be sure you know the difference and make every effort to remain on the right side of the law.
Brian “Beastman” Eastman
White River Fly Shop