An Interview With A Florida Open Carry Advocate

Florida Open Carry Advocate Michael Taylor in Miami Beach

2019 is shaping up to be a battleground year for firearms rights not just in Florida, but throughout the country. Among other things, in Florida we are fighting to maintain, and expand the recognizance of our right to openly carry firearms, beyond the narrow exception as defined in Florida Statute 790.25. At the forefront of this fight is Florida Carry, Inc, and at the tip of this spear is Michael Taylor…

At almost every open carry fishing expedition in Florida, Michael is there. Equipped with fishing tackle, sidearm, and AR-pattern rifle, he’s rapidly becoming one of the more prominent fighters for our rights. Here at RGG, I recently had the chance to (virtually) sit down with him and pick his brain on the Second Amendment, open carry, fishing, and more…

An interview with Michael Taylor of Florida Carry

Q: How did you get into firearms?

A: I am a new gun owner as of November 2017. What made me get my first firearm was right after the Parkland shooting in South Florida. When David Hogg, March for our Lives, and Mom’s Demand Action were on their crusade trying to ban assault weapons I saw it then and I still see it now how they want to come up with so called common sense gun reform. After the end of 2018 I now own a few. Now is not the time to get complacent.

Q: How did you get into openly carrying while fishing? Did you see others doing it?

A: After purchasing my first firearm I started to learn all the laws on firearms. How I could carry it legally, how I must store it in the vehicle, etc. I was very limited on how I could carry in the public without a concealed Weapons License. Not having the money for the class and the fees to purchase the license I had to put it off. While on YouTube and the Internet I was learning everything I could about Florida Gun laws, when I ran across the Open Carry Statute in Florida but was not to comfortable carrying like that at the time. So I continued fishing without my firearm until one late at night in Fort Pierce a couple of guys were hiding under the bridge that I was fishing. I never heard them or saw them till they were close behind me. I turned around and they were within 15 feet of me yelling in Spanish dinero, pronto. My Spanish isn’t that great but I knew they wanted my money. I did what I could and swung my fishing pole at them and took off running. I was in a real bad situation that night and if they would have had a weapon I was done for. From that point on I open carried every time that I went fishing. How I got introduced to Florida Carry is a fun story. As I was doing research I started calling LEO agencies of places I had fished and started asking questions about 790.25 (3)(h). I had posted one not sure if it was facebook or youtube, but Eric Friday of Florida Carry’s general counsel reached out to me and ask me if I had heard of FC and how I learned of the law and so forth. From that day forward I found FC would be the organization I would grow to love and trust. Not taking away from the NRA but Florida Carry is looking out for us here in Florida.

Q: From my basic research, you have twice been harassed by law enforcement in the State of Florida while legally, within the definitions of Florida law, exercising your right to openly carry a firearm. Can you briefly detail those two incidents?

A: I have had 4 police interactions 2 went pretty smoothly, and the other 2 went very wrong very quickly. The Miami Beach, FL incident was with guns drawn and detained for 2 hours and they injured my shoulder. Most recent was in Port St. Lucie, FL. I was trying to explain the law and they just put me in handcuffs, and then proceeded to take my firearms away from me as well as my GoPro off my head.
1st Interaction Stuart

2nd Interaction Miami Beach

3rd Interaction Fort Pierce

4th Interaction Port St. Lucie

This is probably all I can say at the moment about this.

Q: How did it feel, being targeted and harassed by the government for exercising your rights?

A: I do feel for LEO because they do have a tough job, but that does not give them the right to violate me or any other persons rights when they are following the laws that were given to us in Florida. Both interactions had parts that scared the shit out of me. Miami Beach I had several guns pointed at me. Port St. Lucie they were so hell bent on being right that no matter what I said to help them understand the law they were ready to take me to jail.

Q: Where are you, in a legal sense, with these incidents?

A:Pre-suit notice has been given to Miami Beach. Pre-suit notice to Port St. Lucie will be sent soon.

Q: What has the general reaction by the public been, in your eyes, to the Florida Carry members doing these expeditions? I’ve only attended the one on South Beach and though it was positive, it was my only experience. How has it been overall?

A: Doing these open carry events and even when I go out by myself, the public is curious. Most have honest questions about:why and how we open carry instead of concealed, why we are out in the public carrying hand guns and rifles, are we going to shoot the fish. Some have even had their children take pictures with us while we were armed. For the most part we have positive reactions from the public. I have never seen anyone scream for their life at any point during these events. Every now and then we get one that just does not agree. We don’t get pushy and try changing their mind. I always finish up those with “I just wanted to let you know it is your right if you want to express it or not” and I keep on moving.

Q: You don’t have to name names, but has there been any notable freak-outs? Crazy cat ladies screaming at you? Boxed-wine aficionados lecturing you to death?

A: At least not open carrying. I did go to a Mom’s Demand action event and told them I was buying my son who was turning 14 at the time an M&P 15-22 for his birthday and the entire room gasped.

Q: When open carry becomes fully legal in the State of Florida, will you do it on a regular basis? Or will it be something more situationally dependent?

A: Yes I will continue to Open Carry. This is how I started carrying and for me it is way more comfortable then trying to conceal. At this point I am hoping to be a big part of helping get our Open Carry rights back. I also have plans on a petition for Constitutional Carry or Open Carry. Then it will be trying to get the funds to make it happen.

Q: When you travel to a free-er state, do you open carry there? For example, I visit Georgia on occasion and I always try to open carry up there, just because…

A: I haven’t had the time to travel outside of Florida yet, but yes I do plan on carrying in every state that allows me to. I know the wife and I are going to be planning a trip up to Michigan after the baby is born. I will open carry there for sure.

Q: What are your concerns overall for firearms rights in the State of Florida? What can the audience and everyone do to help?

A: We have quite a few Anti-Gun Organizations like Mom’s Demand Action, March for Our Lives, Every town for Gun Safety, and now BAWN (Ban Assault Weapons Now). Not sure who is funding them but they have slowly had an effect on what is going on with gun laws here. Examples are raising the age limit. I am sure they had a little bit to do with the bump stock ban even though Trump signed it. They are trying to get rid of so-called high capacity magazines which would make quite a few million Florida gun owners felons if they get that passed, and they are still coming after the AR-15. What can anyone do to help stop this? Join Florida Carry they are fighting back against any and all gun laws that will affect us here. Talk to your State Representivies Congressmen, Senators about your concerns.

Q: What’s your preferred carry firearm?

A: Glock 23 Gen 4. Her name is Felicia!

Q: Do you suppress?

A: Not yet, I am looking at a Honey Badger by Q

Q:I stink at fishing, but I can at least catch something, but I’ve always thrown it back since I’m even worse at grilling fish. What’s the best fish, in your mind, for the grill?

A: Best fish in my opinion to grill is going to be Mahi Mahi. What’s my favorite fish to catch? Snook, Grouper…

So my life for the last year has been really dedicated to open carry fishing, pro-gun rallies, educating and raising awareness of gun rights and laws here in Florida, fighting against Anti-Gun groups and making sure I vote for the right people into office that are looking out for Our rights. I also have produced over 35 open carry video on my YouTube channel (Soloyaker) throughout the state of Florida. I have met close to 100 likeminded friends that share the same ideologies. My next few goals are to learn more about politics and run for office, and to create a petition for constitutional carry/ open carry and to get it on the 2022 ballot. I hope to be running for office by this time as well. Knowledge is power.

##Find out more about Michael and Open Carry in Florida

Michael’s Youtube Channel

Michael’s Instagram feed

Support and join Florida Carry

Some scenes from the Florida Open Carry October 2018 event on South Beach

Friendly faces on South Pointe Pier...

The Second Amendment is for everyone...

Fishing was done...

No, don't.

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