A group of Florida fisherman were briefly detained by police for openly carrying firearms on Miami Beach’s South Pointe Park Pier on Sunday morning.
Florida Open Carry Advocates Detained
According to WPLG Channel 10, the six men were part of a group called Florida Carry, which seeks to expand state law and allow open carry in a majority of public places. Open carry is essentially prohibited throughout the Sunshine State, with rare exceptions, such as the one cited in Florida Statute 790.25(3). The statute says open carry is allowed if a person is fishing, camping or hunting.
Consequently, the men brought fishing poles with them, along with the printout of the statute.
The Miami Herald says Miami Beach Park Rangers notified the Miami Beach Police Department of the open carriers. The police then closed the pier at around 10 a.m. while they investigated. Video taken by one of the Florida open carry advocates, seen above, shows officers approaching the men with their guns drawn.
Eric Friday, general counsel for Florida Carry, said the men were detained for two hours. They were released when police determined the men were acting within the law when they openly carried on the pier.
“Overreaction would be an understatement, but I do believe they overreacted,” Friday said of the police.
Miami Beach Police Chief Daniel Oates disagrees.
“Given the current climate, if six people show up to to a pier in South Beach carrying guns, our citizens expect us to respond promptly and address any potential danger,” Oates said. “We did so, and I am confident our officers acted appropriately.”
Florida Carry has organized similar events in other parts of the state in the past, WPLG reported.
“We want to show the public the other side of the debate, that legal firearm owners are not monsters nor are we in anyway out to hurt anyone,” Friday said, adding that Florida Carry will likely bring legal action against the city for the police’s actions that day.
Last November, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear a case challenging Florida’s ban on open carry.
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