Sheriffs: Concealed carriers need a break

Posted at 10:14 PM, Jan 20, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-21 06:57:02-05

The Florida Sheriffs Association has released information about a proposal to better protect concealed carry permit holders.

The proposal would protect people from getting arrested or being prosecuted if their weapon is accidentally visible and they are law abiding citizens.

In 2009, a Citrus County man who was a permitted gun owner was arrested after an officer spotted his gun under his shirt.

The proposal would create immunity for a gun owner who accidentally displays a firearm, and officers would be required to let the person explain the mistake. If that does not happen, the person could not be convicted. Further, in order to be arrested, a person would have to deliberately show their gun.

"Most concealed permit holders, in fact, the vast majority of them, are law abiding people. They don't want to break the law. So I think what this does is define the law narrow enough that there should be really no excuse for somebody to be prosecuted for openly carrying, when it was obviously a case where the wind blew his jacket open or something like that,” Mark Zauhar said.

Zauhar has been a concealed carry permit holder for several years.

“I don't carry a lot. I have carried at times, and I have never ever had a situation where anybody realized I was carrying. So, so far it hasn’t applied to me,” Zauhar said.

From what he read about the proposal, Zauhar believes it makes sense.

"What I think it does, is it defines that gray area so that any officer who were to witness this would have greater direction, let's say, in determining whether or not there was a violation of the law or not,” Zauhar said.

The FSA said it will continue working with legislative members on the proposal.