|Primary Issue Description
|Pretzer v. Swearingen (FDLE)
|Class Acton Case - Since March of 2018 FDLE has refused to comply with the background check data correction time limits or issue the conditional nonapproval and conditional approval numbers that are required by state law. Instead, FDLE illegally started using a new “Decision Pending” status to indefinitely suspend the right to keep arms of tens of thousands of Floridians.
|Caranna v. Swearingen (FDLE)
|Class Acton Case - Florida CWFL holders and law enforcement officers are exempt from all FDLE pre-purchase background check fees. FDLE has no authority to tax these firearm transfers but is doing so anyway.
|Florida Carry v. Miami Beach
|Illegal gunpoint arrest/detention of peaceful openly carrying fishermen at a Florida Carry event.
|Guedes v. BATFE
|Federal Bump Stock Ban Challenge
|Florida Carry v. Thrasher (FSU II)
|FSU enacted new regulations prohibition ammunition while the FSU I case was ongoing.
|Florida Carry v. Broward County
|1) Preemption and constitutional challenge of county's ordinances regulating firearm sales, possession, carry, and use. Filed 2014, Won 2020
2) County Appealed
|1) Victory - Order declaring ordinances invalid and awarding damages.
2) On appeal
|Primary Issue Description
|Bretherick v. State, 170 So. 3d 766 (Fla. 2015)
See: Love v. State, 286 So. 3d 177, 180 (Fla. 2019)
|Florida Carry Amicus to Florida Supreme Court on Burden of Proof in Defensive Immunity Hearings.
|Law Changed - The state now bears the burden of proof in pre-tiral immunity hearings.
|Florida Carry v. UF, 180 So. 3d 137 (Fla. 1st DCA 2015)
|Preemption and constitutional challenge of university's policies regulating firearms possession in private vehicles and in the home. Filed Jan 10th, 2014
|Regulation Changed as to vehicles, Home based challenge needs to be based on an as applied challenge.
|Norman v. State, 215 So. 3d 18, 21 (Fla. 2017)
|Restoration of Open Carry as protected activity under the Right to Bear Arms.
|Court recognized right to carry in public.
Lost as applied to Mr. Norman's unconcealed carry of a handgun.
|Florida Carry v. Thrasher, 248 So. 3d 253 (Fla. 1st DCA 2018) (FSU I)
|Preemption challenge to Florida State University firearms and weapons regulations including prohibiting firearms in private vehicles. Filed Sep 8th, 2015
|Freeman v. Tampa, 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 164281 (M.D. Fla. Dec. 8, 2015)
|Defense of civil rights of Florida Carry members for multiple violations by Tampa and its agents.
|Victory - Qualified Immunity Denied. Case settled.
|Florida Carry & SAF v. Tallahassee, 212 So. 3d 452 (Fla. 1st DCA 2017)
|Preemption and constitutional challenge of city's ordinances regulating firearm possession and use in public. Filed May 2nd, 2014
|City conceeded that the ordinence is not enforced and is void.
|A.B. v. Daytona Beach
1)Police refuse to return firearms seized during illegal search of Veteran's home.
|1) Victory - Order for return of property issued 8/13/2013
2) Victory - City violated Preemption
3) Victory - Counter-Claim Denied 8/13/2013
4) Victory - 5th DCA awarded MORE attorney's fees. 10/02/2020
|Florida Carry v. City of Leesburg
|Preemption of City's ordinance regulating firearms despite state law.
|Ordinance Repealed after case was filed.
|Florida Carry v. St. Petersburg College
|Preemption and constitutional challenge of college's policies regulating firearms possession in private vehicles and non-lethal electronic defensive weapons on campus. Filed Mar 3rd, 2014
|Victory - Policies changed. Case settled.
|Florida Carry v. Eastern FL State
|Preemption and constitutional challenge of college's policies regulating firearms possession in private vehicles. Filed Feb 3rd, 2014
|Victory - Policies changed four days after case filed. Case settled.
|Florida Carry v. UNF, 133 So.3d 966 (Fla. 1st DCA 2013) (En Banc)
|Preemption of university's policy regulating firearms possession in private vehicles and threat of criminal enforcement despite state law.
|Victory - Univ. regulation of firearms violates preemption and RKBA.
|Mackey v. State, 124 So. 3d 176 (Fla. 2013)
See: Kilburn v. State, 297 So. 3d 671, 672 (Fla. 1st DCA 2020)
|Amicus to Florida Supreme Court arguing that concealed carry with a license can not be assumed to be a crime.
|Victory - Carry alone is not cause for a Terry Stop.
Law Changed in 2015 to make concealed carry licensure an element of the crime of unlicensed concealed carry.
|Mississippi v. Smith, 123 So. 3d 920 (Miss. 2013)
|Amicus to Mississippi Supreme Court arguing that Open Carry is protected by both State and U.S. Constitutions
|Victory - in Mississippi Supreme Court
|State v. Mora
|Law-Abiding gun owner and concealed carry licensee prosecuted for brief accidental exposure of handgun.
|Victory - Case Dismissed With Prejudice
Florida Carry is involved in multiple cases in order to protect the self-defense, arms, personal property, sporting, privacy, and association rights of Floridians. Attorneys should refer also to our free Legal Services Section for assistance on current cases.
Florida Carry sues Eastern Florida State College for illegal ban on guns and other defensive weapons in cars
On Thursday January 30th there was an apparent self-defense incident in the parking lot at the Palm Bay campus of Eastern Florida State College. While we won't be commenting on the incident until all relevant facts are known, something very troubling has come to light as a result.
In December the 1st District Court of Appeal sided with Florida Carry in our lawsuit against the University of North Florida. This case ruled that college policies prohibiting the lawful possession of firearms and other arms in private vehicles on campus are preempted by both statute and by the Florida Constitution. In short, colleges with such policies are breaking the law and violating the rights of students, employees, and campus visitors.
Also on Thursday, Eastern Florida State issued a press release that states, in relevant part:
The incident comes following a Florida appeals court ruling last week that struck down a University of North Florida policy that banned keeping firearms in cars on campus.
Some Florida universities have since changed their policies to allow guns in cars on campus, but Eastern Florida State College has kept its ban in place pending a final court rehearing of the UNF case.
Eastern Florida State College policy prohibits weapons anywhere on its four campuses, with the following stated in the college's governing policy manual and in the Student Code of Conduct:
"Students may not possess weapons while on college property (law enforcement officers excluded.) Weapons are defined as firearms, knives, explosives, flammable materials or any other items that may cause bodily injury or damage to property."
To be clear, there is no rehearing or appeal on the merits of the decision pending in any court. There is a pending motion for reconsideration of the court's award of attorney's fees but that has no bearing whatsoever on the finality of the 1st DCA order. The court's order is final and binding statewide and Eastern Florida State is clearly breaking the law.
On Monday February 3rd, 2014 Florida Carry, Inc. filed a lawsuit against Eastern Florida State College (EFSC), seeking a permanent injunction to protect the rights it members who are students, faculty, and the campus visitors from the college's illegal and unconstitutional regulations prohibiting defensive firearms and weapons on all college property. Since 1987 the Florida Legislature has preempted firearms law and issued state-wide licenses to carry for self-defense. In December Florida Carry won a similar case against the University of North Florida (UNF). In Florida Carry v. UNF the First District Court of Appeal ruled that "The legislature’s primacy in firearms regulation derives directly from the Florida Constitution... Indeed, the legislature has reserved for itself the whole field of firearms regulation in section 790.33(1)..." No public college or university has any authority to prevent students and the public from having a functional firearm in places that are constitutionally protected or permitted under state law. Eastern Florida State has willfully and intentionally refused to comply with the court's ruling. In short, colleges with such policies are breaking the law and violating the rights of students, employees, and campus visitors. Florida Carry will not sit idly by and watch the civil rights of Floridians be violated.
Docket Overview: Lower Court Case Number: 05-2014-CA-014025
Brevard County Clerk of the Circuit Court
Lower Court Filings:
2/3/2014 Plaintiffs' Complaint
4/30/2014 All EFSC regulations changed - Settlement Reached.
Florida Carry files lawsuit against St. Petersburg College for illegal gun and defensive weapons regulations
On Friday, February 28th, 2014 Florida Carry received a member complaint that St. Petersburg College was still refusing to allow students and employees to lawfully store firearms in their personal vehicles while parked on campus despite a widely reported December 2013 ruling of the Florida 1st District Court of Appeal. Our Campus Policy Director contacted the college and was also told that firearms could not be stored in student's cars on campus. Such illegal policies adversely affect the rights of many of our members, and others, who attend the St. Petersburg College and live in the local community.
In December the 1st District Court of Appeal sided with Florida Carry in our lawsuit against the University of North Florida. The court ruled that college policies prohibiting the otherwise lawful possession of firearms, and other arms, on campus are preempted by both statute and by the Florida Constitution. In Florida Carry v. UNF the First District Court of Appeal ruled that "The legislature’s primacy in firearms regulation derives directly from the Florida Constitution... Indeed, the legislature has reserved for itself the whole field of firearms regulation in section 790.33(1)..." No public college or university has any authority to prevent students and the public from having a functional firearm in places that are constitutionally protected or permitted under state law. In short, colleges with such policies are breaking the law and violating the rights of students, employees, and campus visitors.
On December 23, 2013 Florida Carry issued a warning to public colleges and universities statewide.
"Any Florida public college or university that fails to notify all students and the public that prohibitive policies regarding the storage of firearms, or other defensive arms, in the personal vehicles of its students and visitors are void and unenforceable by the first day of Spring semester classes will be subject to being sued by Florida Carry for violations of 790.33 Florida Statutes and/or Article I, Section 8 of the Florida Constitution."
On Monday March 3rd, 2014 Florida Carry, Inc. filed a lawsuit against St. Petersburg College, it's board of trustees, president, and the campus security official enforcing the college's illegal firearm and non-lethal electronic defensive weapons policies. This is the fourth Florida College or University that Florida Carry has been forced to file a case against for refusing to follow state law. Florida Carry will not sit idly by and watch the civil rights of Floridians be violated.
Lower Court Filings:
3/3/2014 Plaintiffs' Complaint
When Hueris Mora came to us, we did what we always do when contacted by someone who is facing gun carry charges. We set about researching the charges and circumstances of the incident. Florida Carry only gets involved in these cases when good people face unjust charges because they choose to lawfully carry defensive arms.
In his case, it was immediately apparent that continuing prosecution by the office of Katherine Fernandez Rundle, Miami-Dade State Attorney, was unjust at best. Our consulting attorneys statewide were in unanimous concurrence that prosecution of this case, despite the clear language of 790.053, was completely baseless.
The car he was riding in the back seat of was stopped and everyone ordered out. As he got out, Hueris raised his hands and told the officer "I have a concealed carry license, and I have a gun on me." This is exactly what law enforcement asks that law-abiding concealed carriers do when stopped by police.
When he raised his hands above his head, his shirt rode up exposing his properly holstered handgun. The gun was only exposed because he raised his hands to surrender to the officer and inform him that he was armed. He was arrested and prosecuted months after SB234 was passed clarifying that "brief" exposure is not illegal. The officer and State Attorney used that subjective "briefly exposed" language and the requirement that a licensee be "carrying a firearm in a concealed manner" in to justify the arrest and prosecution.
The Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office must have also known that they were in an untenable position because they quickly agreed to take the possibility of jail time off the table. Removing the possibility of imprisonment was not an olive branch offered in the interest of justice, it was in fact a Trojan Horse. This underhanded move was their only way to keep prosecuting the case because it had the calculated effect of taking away Mr. Mora's public defender. Once the Assistant State Attorney prosecuting the case had effectively maneuvered to deprive Mr. Mora of legal counsel, an offer was made. An offer so common in Florida that it is considered the standard plea deal... "You can retake the concealed course to get your license to carry back but kiss your gun goodbye."
Hueris knew he was getting the shaft despite having done nothing wrong, so he did what nobody before in Florida (that we know of) had done. He didn't sign the deal. This was a brave decision despite having no legal help at that time.
Florida Carry has consulting attorneys who do countless hours of pro bono work behalf of our members. Unfortunately, at that time we did not have a criminal defense attorney in Mr. Mora's area. That's when we reached out to Jesus "Jojo" Rodriguez. He didn't blink. Pro bono defense of a truly worthy young man who needs our help? "Absolutely!" was Jojo's immediate response. Our other attorneys and legal interns rallied together to provide support and Mr. Rodriguez, Florida Carry's newest consulting attorney, drove this case home. The charge of violating Florida's Open Carry Ban was dismissed with prejudice at trial. We finally won this fight that deprived Mr. Mora of his handgun for nearly six months. Unfortunately the baseless criminal arrest record will follow him for life unless he is able to afford to have in expunged in five years.
On May 22nd, 2013 Florida Carry, Inc. filed an action in court to stop Daytona Beach’s illegal practice of refusing to return firearms to people, including veterans, who were Baker Acted but found to be no danger to themselves or others. For too long, many jurisdictions throughout Florida have refused to follow the law. In 2009 the Florida Attorney General made clear in an official opinion that the continued detention of firearms or other property after a person was released, without being found to be a danger to themselves or others, was prohibited by Florida law. Despite the clear instruction from the Attorney General and the legal prohibition on creating their own firearms rules that has been in place since 1987; these individuals and agencies who have sworn an oath to uphold the law, have instead continually violated the law and the Constitutional rights of law-abiding Florida gun owners. It is time to hold these jurisdictions responsible and require that these people in authority follow the laws they swore an oath to uphold and enforce.
As Florida Carry Executive Director Sean Caranna previously reported, an honorably discharged combat vet. called a veteran’s assistance hotline for someone to talk to after drinking too much. Instead of finding the sympathetic and understanding ear of a fellow vet, the VA hotline worker got the police to come out and take this man, who has risked his life in the defense of our country during multiple combat tours, from his home and submit him for mental evaluation. After he was taken in to custody and separated from his firearms, the police officers searched his home without a warrant or any exigent circumstance and illegally seized $20,000 worth of his firearms, bows, arrows, ammo, first aid, and protective equipment. Including the Japanese Arisaka Rifle that his Grandfather brought back from WWII and the medical shears that this patriot used to cut two fellow Infantrymen from a HMMWV during an IED attack.
One talk with a qualified mental health professional was all it took to determine that the combat vet was never a threat to himself or anyone else. Now the police department refuses to give this man, who has stood watch for our defense, his property back despite numerous previous court decisions and instructions from the Florida Attorney General that all instruct that his property, including firearms, should be immediately returned.
The Legislature and Governor have made it clear that due process protections must be honored if a person's right to keep arms are to be curtailed. The City of Daytona Beach acted without authority, and despite the constitutional guarantee of the due process of law, to seize personal property and continues to deprive A.B. of his constitutionally protected arms despite the legislature's clear preemption of firearms policy/law and hundreds of years of court precedent governing the taking of personal property by a government entity.
This problem has been found statewide and Florida Carry got involved in this case to protect the rights of all Floridians. The denial of personal property rights without just cause and the denial of the right to keep arms without due process of law must end now.
5/22/2013 - Complaint: Complaint_A.B_and_FL_Carry_v_Daytona
6/12/2013 - Answer Brief: Daytona's Answer and Counter-Claim
6/28/2013 - Motion to Strike: FL Carry's Motion to Strike affirmative Defenses
6/28/2013 - Answer to Counter-Claim: Plaintiffs answer to Counterclaim Daytona
8/13/2013 - Order of Replevin Granted - Firearms Returned (Damaged)
8/13/2013 - City's Counter-Claim: Denied as Moot
Norman v. Florida is the case of a law abiding concealed carry licensee who was arrested and prosecuted in Fort Pierce, FL for violating Florida nearly complete ban on Open Carry after his otherwise lawfully carried handgun unknowingly became unconcealed while walking down the street the first time he carried outside his home with his new Florida concealed carry license.
A St. Lucie County Judge denied all constitutional arguments to dismiss the case against Dale Norman. While the court made findings that the statute is overbroad and is facially vague, the court still issued a conviction on an “as applied” standard.
The County Court judge also did not fully consider the Second Amendment or the Right to Bear Arms under the Florida Constitution; denying those motions to dismiss the case because the question of the right to bear arms "is for someone above the level of this court."
The Second Amendment question is fairly straightforward; Florida courts have clearly found that the carrying of a concealed firearm is a privilege, subject even to being banned completely, not a right protected by the constitution. Florida appellate courts have held that the “Retroactive application of (new Florida Statutes), is not unconstitutional because a license to carry a concealed weapon or firearm is a privilege and not a vested right.” Crane v. Department of State, 547 So. 2d 266 (Fla. 1989).
The Florida Legislature and Supreme Court have long recognized that there is a right to bear arms outside of the home. The “privilege of a license to carry a concealed weapon or firearm” recognized in Crane cannot replace, or substitute for, the fundamental right guaranteed by the U.S. and Florida Constitutions.
The County Court did, however, certify the constitutional questions directly to the 4th District Court of Appeals as questions of great public importance.
The DCA accepted jurisdiction and upheld the lower court's decision on the basis of deference to the Legislative Branch on Gun Control.
The case was appealed to the Florida Supreme Court where the court upheld the decision of the 4th District Court of Appeals by singling out the Right to Bear Arms protected by Art. I Sec. 8 of the Florida Constitution for special—and specially unfavorable—treatment subject to an entirely different body of rules than the other Declaration of Rights guarantees.
Norman v. Florida has now been appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court on Second Amendment grounds (see below).
Florida Carry is providing for the continued defense of Dale Norman and seeks to clarify what the right to bear arms is in Florida. Please help us win this fight for your RIGHT to Bear Arms by joining Florida Carry.
Appeal to Florida 4th District Court of Appeal, Case 4D12-3525
Norman v. State, 159 So. 3d 205 (Fla. 4th DCA 2015)
2/18/2015 - The 4th DCA ruled against Dale Norman:
"While the right to carry outside the home has been established by the highest court of the land, no decision interpreting the Second Amendment can be cited for the proposition that a state must allow for one form of carry over another. Because the Legislature has the right to enact laws regarding the manner in which arms can be borne, it is likewise permitted to forbid the carrying of arms in a particular place or manner which, in its collective judgment, is likely to lead to breaches of the peace, see Carlton v. State, 58 So. 486, 488-89 (Fla. 1912), provided a reasonable alternative manner of carry is provided."
Motion for Rehearing in the 4th DCA was denied.
The case was appealed to the Florida Supreme Court, Case number SC15-650.
Norman v. State, 215 So. 3d 18 (Fla. 2017)
3/2/2017 - FSC-OPINION:
"We hold that section 790.053 does not unconstitutionally infringe on the Second Amendment right to bear arms, as interpreted by the United States Supreme Court in Heller and McDonald, or the Florida Constitution's freestanding right to bear arms subject to the Legislature's authority to regulate the use and manner of doing so. Because section 790.053 regulates only one manner of bearing arms and does not impair the exercise of the fundamental right to bear arms, we approve the Fourth District's well-reasoned decision in Norman upholding the constitutionality of section 790.053 under intermediate scrutiny. It is so ordered."
Petition for Cert. filed with US Supreme Court - 7/10/2017. Case Number: 17-68
If you are unfamiliar with U.S. Supreme Court procedures, SCOTUSblog.com is an outstanding reference.
7/10/2017 Petition for writ of certiorari
"Florida law provides for licenses to carry handguns concealed, but prohibits carrying firearms openly. Petitioner, who had such license, was convicted of openly carrying a firearm on a public street. The majority of the Florida Supreme Court upheld the ban under intermediate scrutiny based on conjecture by counsel about why the legislature may have banned open carry.
The issue is whether a prohibition on peaceably and openly carrying a lawfully-owned handgun infringes on “the right of the people to . . . bear arms” protected by the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution. That issue also involves the extent to which a restriction on a constitutional right may be upheld, under a proper standard of review, on the basis of a post hoc argument of counsel with no foundation in the legislative or factual record."
Docket Overview: Lower Court Case Number: 2012-MM-000530-A
Lower Court Filings:
08/14/2012 Lower Court's Written Judgment and Sentence - Written Judgment and Sentence of 6/10/2014 nunc pro tunc to 8/14/2012
08/22/2012 Lower Court's Written Order on Motions to Dismiss - Certified constitutional questions directly to the Florida 4th District Court of Appeals as matters of great public importance.
08/29/2012 Notice of Appeal
06/18/2014 Motion to Correct Judgment and Sentence issued 6/10/2014 nunc pro tunc to 8/14/2012
Docket Overview: Appellate Court Case Number: 4D12-3525
Florida Fourth District Court of Appeal Docket
Appellate Court Filings on Jurisdiction:
Docket Overview: Florida Supreme Court Case Number: SC13-212
Florida Supreme Court Docket
Supreme Court Filings on Jurisdiction:
Docket Overview: Appellate Court Case Number: 4D12-3525
Florida Fourth District Court of Appeal Docket
Appellate Court Filings on Merits:
Docket Overview: Florida Supreme Court Case Number: SC15-650
Florida Supreme Court Docket
Notable FL Supreme Court Filings:
Docket Overview: United States Supreme Court Case Number: 17-68
United States Supreme Court Docket
Notable US Supreme Court Filings: