ACSO responds to Florida Carry demanding better law enforcement training
The gun-rights group Florida Carry recently put law enforcement agencies around the state "on notice" to being sued if they don't better train officers to deal with the lawfully armed public.
We reached out for a response from Alachua County law enforcement about that message.
While law enforcement agrees this is an issue that does need addressing some say Florida Carry demanding changes or threatening a lawsuit is jumping the gun themselves.
While Florida Carry is concerned about guns being drawn on lawfully armed citizens, Alachua County Sheriff's Office spokesperson Art Forgey says determining a good guy from a bad guy isn't always easy.
"We encounter lawfully armed citizens on a daily basis, but everything has two sides and we on a daily basis encounter unlawfully arms citizens with illegal firearms so it's a balancing act."
Instated just last year all state police academies will have curriculum regarding firearms law training for recruits which should help officers know when and where carrying a gun is legal.
Chris Wagoner is retired but spent 43 years in law enforcement, he said "If the police officers know the laws, say on an open carry while fishing incident where we've had several in the state of Florida, where citizens have been drawn down on. A man standing there with a fishing pole in his hand fishing off a pier with a holstered gun is not a threat to anybody and he's not violating state law."
Forgey added, "our whole goal is to keep the public and the masses safe, not violate anyone's rights and at the end of the night us to go home safely."
Forgey says he would have liked to see an open dialogue between law enforcement and Florida Carry before their message was announced.
"Typically if you exhaust all other means of dialogue or resources before you go to that level, and to distribute that information statewide to put all law enforcement on notice it's kind of a harsh step. It's like jumping to the last rung of the ladder, we missed a whole lot of steps in between."
Chris wagoner who has helped write training curriculum for multiple state agencies told me the best way to put an officer at ease if you are lawfully carrying? Be upfront and honest and ready to show your concealed carry permit card so they know you have a gun and where it is, instead of finding you are hiding one halfway through the interaction.