May a gun club member open carry at a gun club meeting? – The Global Tofay

May a gun club member open carry at a gun club meeting? - The Global Tofay Global Today

May a gun club member open carry at a gun club meeting?

I received what is an interesting email regarding what any normal person would think would be legal.  The question involved a gun club that meets in their HOA community clubhouse (with permission).  The club has no range, but was formed to share the experiences of members, participate in occasional shooting, and share learning about gun matters, such as the selection, safe use, handling, cleaning, and even discussions on the law regarding firearms.  The questions were:

1. “Can we openly display our firearms during a meeting of our club?” As examples, (a) can we legally bring a firearm to a meeting in the clubhouse of our HOA, put it openly on a table, disassemble it, clean it, and reassemble it, and (b) can we bring firearms from our private collections to our meetings for others to examine?

MY ANSWER:

We start from the premise that “open carry” of firearms is unlawful per F.S. 790.053 unless otherwise excepted by other statutes.  You’d think that what you do in private should be your own damn business, and from a constitutional standpoint – I think that assumption would be correct.  However, most of the exceptions to open carry are in F.S. 790.25 – and the only subsection that even gets close to the question posed is F.S. 790.25(3)(g), which allows open carry for:

“Regularly enrolled members of any organization duly authorized to purchase or receive weapons from the United States or from this state, or regularly enrolled members of clubs organized for target, skeet, or trap shooting, while at or going to or from shooting practice; or regularly enrolled members of clubs organized for modern or antique firearms collecting, while such members are at or going to or from their collectors’ gun shows, conventions, or exhibits;

This club doesn’t seem to fit any of the above, nor is a “meeting” a “gun show, convention or exhibit”.  I realize this makes little sense, and I’ll also guess that with a little bit of thinking the club could legally figure a way around the problem – simply change the purpose to a club “organized for gun collecting”, with a weekly “exhibit” scheduled.  There’s nothing in the statute that requires that you can’t discuss or do other things while at the exhibit.  However, I’d make sure all of this was put into writing – and of course – only club “regularly enrolled members” qualify, so you also want a written list of those members.

Of course,  the real answer is to change the law so that: “Open carry of firearms and other weapons is lawful on private or public premises where a person with legal authority authorizes such, unless possession at such a place is specifically prohibited by Florida or Federal statute.”  If you like the idea — contact Marion Hammer at Unified Sportsmen of Florida – or the NRA-ILA.  And, ask them to sponsor it.

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