Miami Beach

Fishing on South Beach with guns openly displayed got them attention, but not arrested

Six men with fishing equipment and firearms openly carried at their sides caused a pause in the normal Sunday morning activity at Miami Beach's South Pointe Park Pier.

After Miami Beach Park Rangers notified police, Miami Beach police closed the pier around 10 a.m. to investigate. Police eventually determined they were within their state rights to carry their guns in such a manner.

Police reopened the pier, but left a couple of officers there and stated, "We are encouraging visitors to use other portions of South Pointe Park."

The men cited Florida Statute 790.25(3), the (h) subsection of which allows openly carrying a gun by "person engaged in fishing, camping, or lawful hunting or going to or returning from a fishing, camping, or lawful hunting expedition." They came prepared with a print out of the statute.

One of the men streamed the first five minutes after police approached on Facebook live, then posted the video to YouTube.

Miami Beach Police Chief Daniel Oates said, "Given the current climate, if six people show up to to a pier in South Beach carrying guns, our citizens expect us to respond promptly and address any potential danger. We did so, and I am confident our officers acted appropriately."

Florida Open Carry, a group that wants to expand open carry gun laws, had a larger scale guns-and-fishing poles event in Ocala during April, but there was no announcement from them of an event in South Beach Sunday.

Sunday's incident occurred seven hours before a voter registration drive on Lincoln Road by the "March for Our Lives: Road to Change" activist group that seeks tighter gun control laws.