My Thoughts Regarding The Open Carry Event On Miami Beach

The decision to openly carry or carry concealed is a personal one, and not the decision of people like Philip Levine

Florida may be the Gunshine State, but there’s still a few inane restrictions on the right to keep and bear arms in the state, most notably the right to openly carry is severely curtailed.

Most notably, we aren’t allowed to openly carry a firearm when the rule of law is in effect, except in rare circumstances as cited in Florida Statute 790.25.

A person engaged in fishing, camping, or lawful hunting or going to or returning from a fishing, camping, or lawful hunting expedition;

It’s been this way since forever, and revision attempts are a yearly occurrence in our Legislature. We almost had it last year, but the Democrats and turncoats like Anitere Flores (who was literally sleeping with the enemy - what a complete jezebel! - said in a Bobby Boucher voice…) blocked the bill and it wasn’t even put to a vote. The typical tepid excuse is that open carry in Florida will scare away the tourists. Wait, that’s a bad thing?

That being said, over the years, it has become a common occurrence for people to take advantage of the small exemption we have in the Sunshine State for open carry. Civic-minded organizations like Florida Carry organize regular fishing expeditions to public lands, where the participants openly carry (in a proper holster, please!) their firearms while fishing and enjoying Florida’s spectacular ocean views and inland waterways. 99 percent of the time, the events have gone off without a hitch, such as last month in Fort Pierce, where Florida Open Carry members gathered, with the full cooperation of law enforcement, to fish over Memorial Day Weekend. No harm, no foul, everyone walked away happy.

But of course, in the “sainted” southern oblast of Leningrad, Manhattan, aka Miami Beach, things run a little differently.

Florida Open Carry - Assignment Miami Beach

The event was announced on social media weeks prior to the date.

As I’ve noted, Florida Carry has hosted many of these events around the state over the past couple of years. Standard operating procedure is to find a public fishing location, give a few weeks notice to law enforcement in the jurisdiction where the event is happening, promote, have the event, and get on with life.

For the Miami Beach open carry event, this was the desired outcome. The event was scheduled for Sunday, June 24th, 2018, and the regional coordinator Miami Beach Police Department in writing/electronically on June 7th. I’ve copied the text of the letter from The Gunwriter, for redundancy and posterity.

June 7, 2018

Chief Oates,

My name is Christopher Philpot and I am an avid Florida Fisherman. The reason I am writing your office is because I wanted to notify you that on June 24, 2018 a few friends and I will be open carrying holstered handguns while fishing off of South Pointe Pier in Miami Beach. As you probably already know the open carrying of any firearm is legal in The State of Florida, pursuant a person engaged in fishing, camping, or lawful hunting or going to or returning from a fishing, camping, or lawful hunting expedition.

It is outlined by our State Legislators in Florida Statute: 790.25, The provisions of ss. 790.053 (Open Carrying of Weapons) 790.06 (License to carry concealed weapon or firearm) do not apply in the following instances, and, despite such sections, it is lawful for the following persons to own, possess, and lawfully use firearms and other weapons, ammunition, and supplies for lawful purposes (h) A person engaged in fishing, camping, or lawful hunting or going to or returning from a fishing, camping, or lawful hunting expedition.

The reason I wanted to reach out to your office is because I’m sure there will be citizens that do not know the law.They may contact Law Enforcement when they see someone open carrying a holstered handgun. I just want to be sure that The City of Miami Beach & Law Enforcement are fully aware that what we are doing is completely legal. My friends and I are law abiding citizens. We legally own our firearms and we have never committed any felonies or violent crimes. We are just a few people that love to fish and celebrate our Freedom & Second Amendment rights!

Sincerely,

Christopher Philpot

CC- Eric Friday, Richard Nascak, Scott Whigham, Dennis Fields

From there, it was just a matter of promotion. Now while the crowd wasn’t earth-shattering, a small amount of people taking full advantage of the legalities of open carry in Florida is still a bold statement, doubly so in the “special” city of Miami Beach.

A little background on that

Miami Beach likes to think of itself as a special place in Florida. A rich history of entertainment in culture, a formerly-vibrant nightlife scene, exemplary Art Deco architecture, and some pretty nice beaches. Historically, the city was developed and populated by people from the Northeast, Europe, and South America. In other words, a whole host people who look askance at individual liberties, or even worse, cop an elitist attitude towards such things, i.e. “guns for me and not for thee”. Now grant it, there are wonderfully stubborn exceptions to that rule, but the general consensus is that Miami Beach was founded by the “elite”. Google Carl Fisher. I could wax eloquent about the racist roots of Miami Beach, but I’ll leave that up to you all.

Anyways…

With the communications sent and the event announced, the date was locked in - Sunday, June 24th, 2018 from 9 AM - 2 PM at South Pointe Park on Miami Beach. It’s a public facility, and fishing is allowed if the angler has a shoreline fishing permit, which is free to Florida residents. Anyone attending the event was required to have this permit.

Fast forward to the day of the event. It started simply enough, with six Florida Carry members descending on the pier at South Pointe Park around 9 AM, fishing gear in tow, fishing license and carry license in order, and firearms openly carried and secured in proper holsters.

Around 10 AM is when the call to the police went out. Normally, if the police aren’t already in attendance for these events, when they roll up, they are aware of the context of the event, even if the notification is a little hysterical. Again, the Beach is a “special” sort of place, so things immediately went downhill…

Video via Florida Carry, Inc.

If you aren’t in the mood for the video, here’s what went down:

  • The Florida Carry members, all law-abiding citizens in good standing, were fishing off the pier, firearms safely holstered and openly carried in accordance with Florida Statute 790.25, were approached by several officers of the Miami Beach Police Department, including one Officer Villamil, one (or more) of whom had their duty firearms drawn and pointed at the six gentlemen, none of whom were making any furtive or threatening moves. The six were subsequently disarmed, handcuffed, and detained for two hours. One was injured during the “takedown” and had to seek medical attention for a shoulder injury. The men were subsequently released without being technically arrested after the responding officers got clarification of the law, and established the validity of the men’s fishing permits and carry licenses. Lee Williams over at The Gunwriter has many more details.

According to Florida Carry, legal action is pending. Good.

My take

I almost went to this. I’ve been meaning to participate in an open carry event here in Florida, but the timing never worked out. Ironically enough, when this came on my radar, my spidey senses started tingling. Knowing the rancid politics of Miami Beach, and the unbridled histrionics and anti-gun sentiment of the majority of the Beach resident population, I had a sense something bad was going to happen. Unfortunately, it appears I was correct. However, as they say - a ship is safest in the harbor, but that’s not what ships were designed for. I honestly feel I should have gone, and maybe taken a few hits for the team. At the very least, I should have attended as a “lone survivor” - grabbed a 4K camera rig from somewhere, wireless streaming kit, a decent mic, taken an Uber in, and left the guns at home. Photography Is Not A Crime, after all. Yes, concealed carry would have been perfectly lawful at South Pointe Park, but if the cops decided to frisk the lone survivor, finding a gun would have defeated the purpose of the concept - don’t give ‘em anything to bust you on. Just shut up and record. If they decided to detain, that’s when the lawsuits fly.

Ramblings aside, I actually feel bad I kind of chickened out. I’ve got a wife and stepson, and seeing dear old Regular Guy Stepdad frog-marched on TV by Philip Levine’s henchmen isn’t going to do their emotional state much of any good. And that’s how the enemy gets us. They don’t go for us directly, they find the vulnerable spots. Family, friends, jobs. Any little leverage they can use, they go for it. And frankly it’s a sad situation. However, in retrospect, I do feel that with the “shield” of Florida Carry, the immediate issues (detainment, property confiscation) can be lessened. Next time - I’m there.

I do feel the police grossly overreacted. The six were not making any threats or furtive movements. They were fishing, and just happened to have holstered firearms on their hips that happened to be openly carried. They could have had shirts on and concealed, and the threat level would have been the same, it is just that no one would have seen the guns. I guarantee people fish off of South Pointe Pier all the time while armed. They just choose to conceal. Regardless, the police overreacted. However, since the victims here were men lawfully exercising their right to keep and bear arms, the media isn’t spinning this as an example of law enforcement heavy-handedness. If the victims were illegal immigrants and their kids, I suspect the Miami Beach government would have rolled out the red carpet and given them taxpayer-subsidized food, drinks, and heck, maybe even free guns and ammo. The government seems to be alright with equipping illegals with firearms.

Defenders of the MBPD will of course claim that the cops can’t have knowledge of each and every law. This is true, they aren’t androids. But, as the justice system likes to say, “ignorance of the law isn’t an excuse”. And this goes for the police as well. The police were notified of the activity prior, and barring that, they all have easy access to the sum of human jurisprudence in the palm of their hands. It’s a simple matter to look up relevant legislation on one’s smartphone, or at the least, place a radio call to headquarters where a clerk can do the same, in minutes. Two hours of handcuffed detainment, as well as the men being treated like street thugs, is uncalled for.

My instinct tells me there was some political grandstanding going on here. Philip Levine, current mayor of Miami Beach, is campaigning hard to become the next governor of Florida. Levine, a Democrat, supports a hardline approach to gun control and wants to reverse Florida’s state pre-emption law, which would allow Miami Beach to write it’s own firearms regulations, which would put the gun control regimes in places like New York City to shame. Philip Levine has no redeeming qualities as a person, and is a traitor to our nation, and should be removed from office and barred from ever seeking public employment for the remainder of his life. His sociopathic political leanings nearly led to several innocent men being harmed, or worse, this past Sunday. Levine, had these men been injured by the MBPD, their blood would have been on your hands.

As an aside, I’m not casting dispersions on the MBPD as a whole. I’ve had dealings with them before, and they’ve been great. But like with any group of people, there’s always a few bunglers, and unfortunately it seems the mayor’s henchmen, rather than professional law enforcement officers, were sent out.

Open carry should be a personal decision, not one for the government. If someone carries a firearm, why does it matter if it is visible or not? Feelings shouldn’t factor in with enumerated rights. I really don’t care what the progressives and tourists think, and neither should you.

Situations like this hit home. The waters are rough right now, but we need to stand up and tall and express our support for our freedoms and individual rights in word and in deed, all day, every day. The opposition is well-financed and well-versed in media deception and manipulation. Our advantage is in numbers, historical precedent, and a true grassroots movement consisting of real people, not puppets and Hollywood automatons.

Besides, our way, individual freedom, is way more fun. We’ve got steak.

Join Florida Carry

Supporting the big national organizations like the NRA and the Second Amendment Foundation is a great thing to do. However, a lot of work is done at the state and local level, by organizations like Florida Carry. Their most popular “plan” is the Executive Plan + NFA Trust, where for one price, you have the highest level of membership along with the preparation of a free NFA Trust, which simplifies the purchase of NFA items such as suppressors.

Join today at this link.

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