The brouhaha that occurred Sunday on Miami Beach’s South Pointe Pier — an armed confrontation, unlawful detentions, at least one injury and other civil rights abuse — need never have happened.
As we reported yesterday, a group of fishermen — who were lawfully open-carrying handguns — was fishing off of the South Pointe Pier in Miami Beach Sunday morning at around 10:40, when they were confronted by Miami Beach police officers.
At some point during the confrontation, a Miami Beach police officer pointed his gun at the group. At least one man was unlawfully detained and his weapon was confiscated. One fisherman was injured and taken to a hospital.
It appears the Miami Beach police officers did not know that while traditional open carry is generally banned, Florida law allows the open carry of handguns while hunting or fishing.
Now, it turns out that Miami Beach Police Chief Daniel Oates was told about the open-carry event weeks ago.
Here’s a letter sent to the chief by one of the organizers, which was copied to officials from Florida Carry, Inc.
June 7, 2018
My name is Christopher Philpot and I am an avid Florida Fisherman. The reason I am writing your office is because I wanted to notify you that on June 24, 2018 a few friends and I will be open carrying holstered handguns while fishing off of South Pointe Pier in Miami Beach. As you probably already know the open carrying of any firearm is legal in The State of Florida, pursuant a person engaged in fishing, camping, or lawful hunting or going to or returning from a fishing, camping, or lawful hunting expedition.
It is outlined by our State Legislators in Florida Statute: 790.25, The provisions of ss. 790.053 (Open Carrying of Weapons) 790.06 (License to carry concealed weapon or firearm) do not apply in the following instances, and, despite such sections, it is lawful for the following persons to own, possess, and lawfully use firearms and other weapons, ammunition, and supplies for lawful purposes (h) A person engaged in fishing, camping, or lawful hunting or going to or returning from a fishing, camping, or lawful hunting expedition.
The reason I wanted to reach out to your office is because I’m sure there will be citizens that do not know the law.They may contact Law Enforcement when they see someone open carrying a holstered handgun. I just want to be sure that The City of Miami Beach & Law Enforcement are fully aware that what we are doing is completely legal. My friends and I are law abiding citizens. We legally own our firearms and we have never committed any felonies or violent crimes. We are just a few people that love to fish and celebrate our Freedom & Second Amendment rights!
CC- Eric Friday, Richard Nascak, Scott Whigham, Dennis Fields
Since the good chief was warned about the event and politely reminded about the applicable state law, when the civil rights lawsuits are filed — a very real possibility — he will have no one to blame but himself.
I can’t understand why his patrol officers were not told of the open-carry event in advance and trained on this specific law.
I sent an email to the police chief this morning seeking an interview.
I will update this story accordingly.