In context: Sheriff Bob Gualtieri’s anti-gun history


I feel sorry for the News Service of Florida reporter who wrote the story about the wacky comments Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri made about open carry.

Gualtieri alleged that she took his quotes out of context.

Once published, the full weight of the Florida Sheriff’s Association and Gualtieri’s office descended down upon her.

That’s a daunting prospect for a reporter and their editors. I never really trust the brokered stories that come out of those type of situations.

I have some advice for the good sheriff regarding his “I-was-taken-out-of-context” claims: boo-hoo!

It’s time to add some context of our own.

FACT: Sheriff Gualtieri is decidedly anti-gun — a true Second Amendment Butter, (i.e. “I support the Second Amendment, but…”). When I interviewed him earlier this year, he  bristled somewhat when I asked if he was a Second Amendment supporter. “I really don’t like that statement,” he said at the time. “The Constitution is the Constitution, and I support every amendment, but every amendment is not without limit.”


FACT: The sheriff believes he alone is qualified to tell gun owners how they can bear arms. He claims he supports concealed carry, but opposes open carry.

FACT: Sheriff Gualtieri has a history of outlandish what-if horror stories regard pending pro-gun legislation. He once called the Firearms Mandatory Evacuation bill — which is now law — “crazy” and “absurd,” saying it would allow people to carry concealed firearms into a riot, rather than when they’re fleeing their homes. I’m still waiting for the riots.

FACT: He once threatened to resurrect a little-used county ordinance that requires background checks at local gun shows for all private sales. The county ordinance gathered dust since it was enacted in 1998. Violators faced misdemeanor charges. After garnering a few headlines, the plan fizzled. Gun shows were held without any problems. No arrests were ever made.

FACT: Sheriff Gualtieri has been waging a one-man war against open carry legislation with spurious information, with the apparent support and approval of the Florida Sheriff’s Association. If Florida’s pro-gun sheriffs don’t speak out, they risk becoming associated with Gualtieri’s anti-gun remarks.

FACT: Sheriff Gualtieri claimed Florida’s NRA lobbyist Marion Hammer refused to meet with sheriffs or FSA lobbyists to discuss the Open Carry bill this year.  That is false. “There has been no attempt by the Sheriffs Association to work with us on the bill,” Hammer said in an email to every Florida Sheriff sent this week.

FACT: In 2013, Gualtieri, along with every single Florida sheriff, signed a pledge to support and defend the Second Amendment.

FACT: But that same year, Gualtieri told the Tampa Bay Times he supported background checks for ammunition purchases saying it “makes all the sense in the world to me.”

FACT: Sheriff Gualtieri said open carry legislation “raises questions” about a police officer’s ability to ask an open-carrier to produce their concealed-carry license.But under existing law, 790.06(1), license holders are required to have the license with them “at all times in which the licensee is in actual possession of a concealed weapon or firearm and must display both the license and proper identification upon demand by a law enforcement officer.” That same restriction applies to open carry. It’s in the bill.

FACT: Gualtieri claimed that if open carry legislation passes, a Day Care or a McDonald’s won’t be able to bar people from open carry or “having their guns on tables” while eating. There is nothing in the bill that in any way impacts the private property rights of others. Any businesses or person may prohibit the open carry of firearms on their private property.

FACT: As long as Gualtieri remains the Florida Sheriff’s Association’s anti-gun poster boy, if he grouses about context or looks for sympathy, he’ll find the latter in the dictionary between sh*t and syphilis.


About Author

Lee Williams can’t remember a time in his life when he wasn’t shooting. Before becoming a journalist, Lee served in the Army and worked as a police officer. He’s earned more than a dozen journalism awards as a reporter, and three medals of valor as a cop. He is an NRA-certified law enforcement firearms instructor, an avid tactical shooter and a training junkie. When he’s not busy as a senior investigative reporter, he is usually shooting his AKs, XDs and CZs. If you don’t run into him at a local gun range, you can reach him at 941.284.8553, by email, or by regular mail to 1777 Main St., Sarasota, FL 34236. You can follow him on Twitter: @HT_GunWriter and on Facebook @The Gun Writer.


  1. Pingback: In context: Sheriff Bob Gualtieri’s anti-gun history - 2nd Amendment Right

  2. Lee: I am glad to see you standing for the 2nd Amendment & opposing anti-gunners. However & as you know, the Herald Tribune, for which you write, is one of those 2nd Amendment-anti gunner organizations. I need go no further than the Editorial HT published on December 10, 2015 entitled Editorial: Court signals limits on assault weapons.

    Reading that Editorial, I am amazed how the HT can simply make any statement it wants and declare it to be fact, like the claim that the majority of Americans support even tighter restrictions on the “most deadly” weapons available to private citizens. What guns did HT say needed tigher gun restrictions. The “dangerous & unusual” per the HT Editorial (That includes the AK in your photo-dangerous & unusual per the HT). Who should decide what is dangerous & unusual? I guess your paper means Judges and liberal newspapers. Not our elected officials of course. The HT finds laws supporting the second amendment enacted by legislatures to be “unfortunate” (see the HT editorial comments in the article about the Illinois legislature). I am sure that HT considered the CCW law and the pending open carry legislation to be really unfortunate.

    If the HT can claim that the majority of Americans support more gun restrictions, I can just as easily point out that the cities with the toughest gun was have the highest per capita incidents of gun violence and, of course, criminals always obey gun control laws. I really want liberals like the HT staff to suggest what restrictions should be imposed upon my constitutional rights.

    We already have more gun control laws than we need. Lets pass some more gun restrictions to give the criminals more of an advantage. Sounds like that is the HT’s position.

    It is the positions that the HT holds like this why I cancelled my subscription a long time ago. I now only check in from time to time to catch up on its latest liberal rant. Hey Lee Williams, any comment on this great editorial comment by the HT? Frankly, I am surprised that the HT tolerates either you or your 2nd amendment stance.

    P.S. This is basically what I wrote in my comments to the 12-10-15 Editorial that the HT never published.

    • Thanks, David.

      There’s a literal and ethical wall between me and our Editorial folks.

      I make no apologies for what they write, and I’m sure they say the same.

      I appreciate you readership.


    • The content above about the Herald Tribune, David, is precisely why we cancelled our subscription to the Herald Tribune about 7 years ago. I won’t subscribe to it or any other lying Liberal rag EVER again, as long as I live. Just my two cents, but I know numerous people who feel the same as we do. Thank You!

  3. Mr. Williams,

    Great stuff! I’ve had several attack me for nor supporting Sheriff Gualtieri. This is exactly why! He can claim whatever political affiliation he likes, however, I will not support a sheriff that has consistently attacked pro-2nd amendment legislation. Personally, in regard to the 2nd, I find him no different than Joe Biden.

  4. The hard-left Marxists who infect our federal government plus the MSM media prostitutes who protect them will gleefully lie, falsify, fabricate, slander, libel, deceive, delude, bribe, and treasonably betray the free citizens of the United States..

    Second Amendment foes lying about gun control – The Second Amendment has nothing to do with hunting. The Second Amendment has nothing to do with personal self-defense.Firearms are our constitutionally mandated safeguard against tyranny by a powerful federal government. Only dictators, tyrants, despots, totalitarians, and those who want to control and ultimately to enslave you support gun control.

    No matter what any president, senator, congressman, or hard-left mainstream media prostitutes tell you concerning the statist utopian fantasy of safety and security through further gun control: They are lying. If their lips are moving, they are lying about gun control. These despots truly hate America..

    These tyrants hate freedom, liberty, personal responsibility, and private property. But the reality is that our citizens’ ownership of firearms serves as a concrete deterrent against despotism. They are demanding to hold the absolute power of life and death over you and your family. Ask the six million Jewws, and the other five million murdered martyrs who perished in the Nazzi death camps, how being disarmed by a powerful tyranny ended any chances of fighting back. Ask the murdered martyrs of the Warsaw Ghetto about gun control.

    Their single agenda is to control you after you are disarmed. When the people who want to control you hold the absolute power of life and death over your family, you have been enslaved. The hard-left Marxist and Islamists who infect our federal government plus the MSM media prostitutes who protect them will gleefully lie, falsify, fabricate, slander, libel, deceive, delude, bribe, and treasonably betray the free citizens of the United States into becoming an unarmed population. Unarmed populations have been treated as slaves and chattel since the dawn of history.

    Will we stand our ground, maintaining our constitutionally guaranteed Second Amendment rights, fighting those who would enslave us?

    American Thinker

    • One point — I’ve stopped saying “MSM” and instead use “traditional media.”

      We, friend, are the mainstream.

      They’re the outliers

    • COULD NOT HAVE SAID IT BETTER !!!!! The Sheeple have no clue. I wonder everyday how many people would be running to my house if this great country collapsed.

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