Florida—the original home of the shall-issue right-to-carry battle nearly three decades ago—again finds itself in the forefront of the fight for gun owners’ rights. This time, lawmakers in the Sunshine State are debating campus carry legislation. It’s a simple proposal that would let qualified, trained permit holders continue to practice their right to carry when on college campuses, just like they do elsewhere in the state.
After nearly 30 years, Florida residents know better than anyone else that they have nothing to fear from law-abiding citizens carrying firearms for self-defense. They’ve had more time to collect data than anyone else, and that data has always shown that carry permit holders are among the most law-abiding of citizens, and that they absolutely can be trusted.
In fact, Floridians successfully defend themselves with firearms many times each year. Here are just a few of the numerous episodes occurring in the past year.
An armed robbery suspect got a surprise when the man he was robbing pulled out a gun instead of his wallet. The attempted theft occurred in Delray Beach, Fla., in early December. The man who was accosted pointed his gun at the suspect and told him to get on the ground. The suspect originally complied, but he later ran away—leaving behind his .38-cal. revolver—when the armed citizen was distracted. Police have made an arrest, and the man faces robbery and aggravated assault charges. (Sun Sentinel, Palm Beach, Fla., 12/15/14)
A Sarasota, Fla., man awoke at 6 a.m. to find an unknown man attempting to break into his home. Upon encountering the intruder in the hallway, the homeowner came under gunfire from the interloper and returned fire in response. By the time law enforcement officers reached the scene, the altercation had concluded and the criminal was already deceased. No injuries to the homeowner were reported. His 11-year-old child was present in the home at the time of the break-in. (The Ledger, Lakeland, Fla., 10/21/14)
Arthur M. Lewis, 89, a decorated World War II veteran, was working at his jewelry business around 3 p.m. when a man with a gun entered the store. Lewis quickly grabbed the .38-cal. handgun he was carrying in his pocket. The would-be robber exchanged gunfire with Lewis before fleeing the scene. He was later found at a local hospital suffering from six gunshot wounds. After being treated, the assailant was arrested and now faces charges of armed robbery, felon in possession of a firearm, aggravated battery with a deadly weapon and armed burglary. Lewis’ left arm was grazed by a bullet, but he was otherwise unscathed. (Palm Beach Post, Palm Beach, Fla., 8/26/14)
Donald Sacco, 64, was waiting at a bus stop around 8:15 a.m. when a 50-year-old stranger approached him with a knife. The stranger stabbed Sacco multiple times in the abdomen and attempted to steal his bag. Sacco tried to use his cane to fight the man off and screamed, “I don’t have any money, leave me alone!” Someone driving by the incident, who was legally carrying a concealed firearm, witnessed the attack and intervened. The suspect was held at gunpoint until police arrived. The suspect was then taken into custody and faces charges including attempted first-degree murder, aggravated battery with a deadly weapon and robbery. Sacco was taken to a local hospital and treated for his stab wounds. He is expected to survive his injuries. (Orlando Sentinel, Orlando, Fla., 7/16/14)