Hammer said the specific language of the new legislation has not yet been drafted. The NRA will decide which lawmakers to work with on advancing a new bill after the November elections, she said.
State Sen. Greg Evers, a Republican running for re-election in a Panhandle district, was the 2011 bill’s main sponsor in the Senate. If he’s still in Tallahassee next year, Evers said, he would enthusiastically support a new bill, based on ongoing allegations that police are harassing concealed-weapon licensees.
“Whether I carry the bill, or someone else carries the bill, I would still work to support the bill, because we’ve still got a problem,” Evers said.
Sean Caranna, executive director of the gun-rights group Florida Carry, said he has tracked 77 complaints from bearers of concealed weapons who say they have been treated inappropriately by law enforcement officers since last year’s open-carry bill ended in a stalemate.
He pointed to the case of Dale Norman, a 23-year-old Fort Pierce man charged with openly carrying a .38 handgun on his hip, a misdemeanor, after a passerby saw him on the street and called police in February. Norman, who had only obtained his concealed-carry license days earlier, claimed the edge of his shirt was caught beneath his holster, inadvertently displaying the weapon.
He was found guilty by a St. Lucie County jury in June. His defense lawyer, Ashley Minton of Fort Pierce, said his sentence is pending while the judge considers multiple motions to dismiss that she filed during the trial, based in part on constitutional challenges to Florida’s open-carry ban.
She is also arguing that the state’s exemption for a “brief” display of a concealed weapon is too vague to be enforced.
“It’s kind of a mess,” she said of the current law.
Peter Jamison can be reached at email@example.com or (727) 445-4157.