Five years ago, Dale Lee Norman of Florida challenged his state’s policy against open carry of firearms after facing arrest for openly carrying a .38 caliber handgun while walking down a highway. Norman argued that the right to bear arms detailed in the Second Amendment also offered the right to carry a gun in public.
But on Thursday, the Florida Supreme Court finally issued a ruling prohibiting the open carry of firearms in public areas, explicitly stating that the Second Amendment actually does not protect the practice.
“The State has an important interest in regulating firearms as a matter of public safety, and that Florida’s Open Carry Law is substantially related to this interest,” the decision states, continuing: “The right of Floridians to bear arms for self-defense outside of the home is not illusory.”
While this particular case is unrelated to the mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando last year, it comes at a time of increasing tensions between pro-gun and gun control advocates. Pro-gun advocates have consistently claimed that open-carry policies and gun-free zones will prevent mass shootings from occurring by allowing people to defend themselves from attackers wielding guns.
In response, gun control advocates cite how more guns in any given area are statistically more likely to yield violence and homicides. And while ownership of guns in one’s home for self-defense is legal and often non-controversial, research has similarly yielded that possession of a gun is unlikely to make individuals more safe.
Norman originally argued that the Supreme Court’s decisions in D.C. v. Heller and McDonald v. Chicago, by establishing the right to keep guns in the home for self-defense, simultaneously established the right to carry a firearm in public. Additionally, he cited two antebellum state supreme court decisions affirming “the right to openly carry in public.”
In response to these historical laws, the majority argued that “[t]he notion of a strong tradition of a right to carry outside of the home rests on a set of historical myths and a highly selective reading of the evidence. The only persuasive evidence for a strong tradition of permissive open carry is limited to the slave South.”
As per Slate, the Florida Supreme Court’s decision is just the latest in a series of blows to pro-gun advocates. It follows a 4th Circuit decision maintaining that the Second Amendment does not protect the right to own assault weapons, and a 9th Circuit decision that there is no constitutional right to concealed carry.
Featured image via Reddit