Opinion: Florida Supreme Court Rules “Open Carry” is Not Protected By 2nd Amendment

In Florida last week while the nation was mesmerized  by the non-stop news that America’s government has been infiltrated by Ruskie operatives with a veritable cadre of Russian spies firmly ensconced in the White House, the state’s Supreme Court upheld as constitutional a Florida law that prohibited “open carry of firearms in public.” A practice that has been banned since the nation’s founding and just recently imposed by NRA-indebted Republicans to enrich the gun industry.

The Florida High Court’s Justices ruled that the Second Amendment does not protect that ridiculous “open carry” practice and it was another setback for the NRA’s attempts to force the nation’s courts to abolish any and all firearm restrictions as unconstitutional. The Florida High Court concluded, like many other state and federal courts around the nation, that the Second Amendment cannot be read to prohibit states from regulating the various ways guns are kept and used.

The Court heard the challenge to the Florida statute after a man was arrested and charged with “openly carrying” a handgun while strolling alongside a U.S. Highway. The ruling began by acknowledging that “virtually any adult who has no physical impairment or felony record can carry a gun in public in Florida;” it just has to be concealed. It was too much of a restriction for the Florida gun fanatic who had to show off his “manhood” in public and cried foul. He argued that specifically; the Second Amendment protected his right to openly carry firearms and that the Florida law was an unconstitutional violation of his 2nd Amendment rights.

The man claimed that according to the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in “D.C. v. Heller” and “McDonald v. Chicago” created an “individual’s right to keep a handgun in the home for self-defense.” The frightened gun enthusiast said if an individual has a constitutional right to keep a handgun at home for protection, it is just obvious it also granted him the constitutional right to walk around in public with his gun in plain view for all to see.

The Florida High Court used the exact same analysis deployed by virtually every Federal Circuit Court in considering the NRA’s 2nd Amendment challenges to a state’s firearm rules. The Court asked:

Whether the law ‘burdens conduct protected by the Second Amendment based on a historical understanding of [its] scope,’ or whether it falls into a ‘historically unprotected … category of prohibitions.’”

The court found that the law did not fall into a historically unprotected category, and instead implicated the “central component” of the Second Amendment—“the right to self-defense.”

The Court’s majority quoted an influential law review article and noted what historians, not NRA historical revisionists, have known for a couple of centuries:

“[T]he notion of a strong tradition of a right to carry outside of the home rests on a set of historical myths and a highly selective reading of the evidence. The only persuasive evidence for a strong tradition of permissive open carry is limited to the slave South.”

In a recent 4th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling, the Court noted that firearm restrictions that fall outside historical protections for the right to bear arms are presumptively constitutional. However, since the concept of “open carry has no firm tradition in our legal history, there is more than enough justification for the constitutionality of open carry bans.”

Last week’s ruling may not have been a giant win for gun safety advocates, but it was a major defeat for gun fanatics simply because they seem to never lose; at least not any losses the media is willing to report. The Florida Supreme Court decision was handed down barely a few weeks after a 4th Circuit decision ruled that the Second Amendment does not protect assault weapons, and within a year of the 9th Circuit Court’s ruling that there is no constitutional right to concealed carry; something that “has been widely banned” since the nation’s founding.

As noted by Marc Joseph Stern at Slate, “because the Supreme Court clearly has little appetite to expand Heller and McDonald, these decisions will probably stand as the last word on the subject.”

Gun safety advocates can possibly take a measure of solace knowing that no matter how remote the chance to achieve much in the way of “legislative victories” in the NRA-controlled Congress, these few court rulings are highly unlikely to be overturned by the Supreme Court; unless Trump disbands the High Court and replaces it with the governing board of the NRA. It is something that is not remotely implausible.