The Bizarre World of Florida

Over sheriffs’ objections, Florida House approves bill to allow concealed weapons during emergencies April 12, 2014

Evacuations caused by hurricanes, toxic spills and riots could be grounds for people to conceal guns in public without a permit, according to a bill backed by the National Rifle Association that passed the Florida House 80-36 on Friday.

b4s_guns041214_12937447_8col“The bells of liberty are surely ringing throughout Florida today,” said Rep. Heather Fitz­enhagen, R-Fort Myers, the bill sponsor. “We are making sure that no Floridian in lawful possession of a firearm must leave it behind while evacuating in an officially declared state of emergency.”

HB 209 passed with six Democrats voting for it, including Rep. Amanda Murphy of New Port Richey and Rep. Carl Zimmermann of Palm Harbor, despite objections from his sheriff.

“The bill is crazy, it’s absurd,” said Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri.

Gualtieri and the Florida Sheriffs Association lobbied against the bill, calling it too vague. There is no way to know for how long, or in how large a geographic area, a gun owner might qualify to conceal a weapon after an evacuation order.

Also, the bill applies to those who are “in lawful possession” of guns. That’s not the same as a gun owner, and could apply to adult children or spouses of gun owners with clean criminal records who are found carrying guns.

A companion bill, SB 296, is sponsored by Sen. Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg, and awaits a hearing in the Appropriations Committee before a floor vote.

Sen. Charlie Dean, R-Inverness, had supported the bill but now opposes it because of its vagueness.

“At what point do we have control over knowing when someone is no longer evacuating?” asked Dean, a former sheriff of Citrus County. “In most of my experience, officers are there to help you in an emergency. I’m not really sure what advantage you have by sticking a gun in your belt.”

Rep. Victor Torres, D-Orlando, said it makes the job of law enforcement too risky during emergencies.

“You are introducing concealed firearms in an environment that is already teeming with tension,” said Torres, a former New York City transit cop. “If this bill passes, I hope that tragedy is not a byproduct of our decision here today, and if it is, I hope we are ready to accept responsibility.”

But gun-rights advocates like Rep. Jimmie Smith, R-Inverness, said concerns were overblown.

“Every single time we’ve made changes to protect the Second Amendment rights of people, we hear about this wild, wild West,” Smith said. “It’s going to be more dangerous. Shootings everywhere. And yet, we have one of the lowest rates of crime we’ve ever been at.”

Another NRA-backed bill, HB 523, was approved by a wider margin, 94-22, minutes later. It authorizes county tax collectors to accept applications for licenses to carry concealed weapons and firearms in an effort to make the permits more accessible.

“This bill is to ensure that Floridians do not have to wait six months to drive multiple hours to have their concealed weapons permit, at the time perhaps a natural disaster occurs,” said its sponsor, Rep. Jamie Grant, R-Tampa.


Off-Duty Deputy Shoots Man After Catching Couple Having Sex in Community Pool March 31, 2014

reflections+of+boca+del+marAuthorities say an off-duty deputy shot a man after a confrontation with a couple that was having sex in the pool of a Boca Raton housing complex, according to NBC affiliate WPTV.

The deputy, who lives in Reflections of Boca del Mar at 5500 Pacific Blvd, said he found the couple engaging in sexual activity, WPTV reported. He told the couple that he is a deputy and asked them to leave the premises.

Although they left reluctantly, the couple returned a short time later and the man approached the deputy, who was sitting in a lounge chair, according to WPTV.

The man was reportedly hovering over the deputy in a threatening manner, leading to a confrontation in which the man attempted to strike the deputy and the deputy opened fire.

The man is now in critical condition at Delray Medical Center, according to WPTV.

Detectives are investigating the incident, and the unnamed deputy has been placed on administrative leave, which is standard protocol.



The man was reportedly hovering over the deputy in a threatening manner, leading to a confrontation in which the man attempted to strike the deputy and the deputy opened fire.

The man is now in critical condition at Delray Medical Center, according to WPTV.

Detectives are investigating the incident, and the unnamed deputy has been placed on administrative leave, which is standard protocol.


Man finds a real steal on Craigslist .. that would be his truck, trailer, tools and wallet to be specific March 29, 2014

Filed under: Robbers,Fraud,Guns,Bad Luck,WTF?,Controversy — floridaduh @ 4:20 pm

A Casselberry man, who buys and sells salvage cars, got a call from people who said they had an old junker in the driveway and that he could come and pick it up if he paid cash.

When the man showed up to the Orlando neighborhood, off Avondale and 18th Street, police said he had a gun pulled on him.

“You know, it’s just another car. It’s just another pickup,” said Ken Bogeajis after the carjacking. “And that’s the way I treated it.”

Bogeajis advertises on his website that he buys vehicles for parts. He also surfs Craigslist and other sites looking for deals. Bogeajis said two men called and said they had a pickup for sale.

The home turned out to be a vacant lot, and when Bogeajis showed up, the men grabbed him and pulled a gun.

“It looked to be a revolver, and he just stuck it in my stomach and he was screaming at me,” Bogeajis said. “I was just begging him, ‘Please don’t shoot me, please don’t shoot me, please don’t shoot me.’”

Bogeajis decided to run from the armed men.

“He comes running and very scared and says, ‘I just got robbed,’” said Mohsin Ali.

Ali is a clerk at the Mobil station on Kaley Street and Division Avenue.

“He was very scared, very, very scared. I could tell on his face,” Ali said. “He was not comfortable leaving the store unless some cops came in.”

The suspects got Bogeajis’ truck, trailer, tools and wallet, which together is worth $25,000.

“From here on out, I’m going to have to just take more steps to making sure that I’m going to a secure location to buy a valid vehicle,” Bogeajis said.

Also see: Medical examiner shows graphic photos in Bradley trial

Bogeajis hopes everyone learns from his bad experience. If you’re going to show up someplace to buy or sell anything, you should at least bring along another person, Bogeajis said. Even better, Bogeajis said, it to arrange the meeting in a public place.


Officer’s coffee break leads to bust … Man arrested in shooting of police officer’s car March 27, 2014

sfl-flduh-shooting-cops-patrol-car-20140326-001A 20-year-old Apopka man was arrested Tuesday after police said he admitted shooting up an Apopka police car at a 7-Eleven.

An anonymous tip led officers to Tyler Endsley, who told investigators he was high on Xanax and marijuana when he shot the patrol car with a 10-gauge shotgun about 4 a.m. Sunday, department spokesman Officer Ed Chittenden said.
Police arrested Endsley on charges of attempted armed robbery, use of a firearm during a felony, displaying a firearm in public and criminal mischief. They say he planned to rob the store at 1117 E. Semoran Blvd.

Security video shows someone wearing a hoodie and carrying a shotgun pacing in front of the convenience store and looking inside shortly before an Apopka police officer arrived to get coffee.

The officer heard a shot and, went back outside and found that his cruiser had been struck with shotgun pellets.

At Endsley’s home, officers found the shotgun and clothes they say he was wearing that night, Chittenden said.

Endsley pleaded no contest last year to possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of marijuana in two separate cases.


Teachers will now be allowed to pack heat and stand their ground against miserable, sassmouth sixth graders March 13, 2014

Filed under: Amazing,Bizzarre,Controversy,Dumb,Guns,OK Then .....,Scary,Stupid,WTF? — floridaduh @ 7:17 pm

South Florida school leaders aren’t concealing their opposition to legislation that would allow school employees to be armed.

A House education panel approved HB 753, which would allow districts to have at least one “school safety designee” on each campus. That person would carry a concealed gun but would first need to meet firearm and school safety training requirements. Right now, only school law enforcement officers are allowed to carry guns.

“We do not believe that arming administrators and teachers is the right solution to ensure the safety of our schools,” said Broward school superintendent Robert Runcie. “We need to continue working with local law enforcement, school police, school resource officers, campus security specialists and monitors to maintain safe learning environments.”

Palm Beach County school officials are also opposed.

“The School District of Palm Beach County believes that only trained law enforcement professionals should be carrying a weapon on school district property,” spokeswoman Natalia Powers said. “Multiple factors must be taken into consideration during a crisis situation. For this reason, schools have a Crisis Team and protocols in place to ensure the safety of students, teachers and staff.”gun_1

The Miami Dade County School Board voted Wednesday to oppose the bill as well.

The bill is a reworked version of an armed-teachers bill that died in the Legislature last year. Both are a response to the fatal shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary in 2012 and an effort, one lawmaker said, to provide “one additional gun for the good guys.”

To be tapped to carry a gun, the person would have to be an active duty or retired military or law enforcement officer or licensed to carry a concealed weapon.

Rep. Dennis Baxley, R-Ocala, said previous laws that made schools “gun-free zones” were well intended but inadvertently left schools defenseless, if a “monster” got on campus.

“They don’t even have a water pistol in which to charge the gates of hell … to confront this monster,” he said. “I think it’s time to embrace this. Firearms save people’s lives. That’s why policemen carry them.”

The bill passed with strong support from the House education K-12 subcommittee’s Republican leadership.

But Democrats on the panel say school districts did not support the legislation.

“They’re saying arming administrators and teachers does not guarantee any more safety in the school system than what is in there now,” said Rep. Gwyndolen Clarke-Reed, D-Deerfield Beach.

Andrew Ladanowski, a Coral Springs parent who chairs Broward schools’ Facilities Task Force, said he thinks this bill could benefit charter schools.

“Small charter schools do not have the financial resources to pay for a resource officers,” he said. “These schools are vulnerable.”

Rep. Dave Hood, R-Daytona Beach Shores, said it was a “creative solution” to school safety worries and provided “one additional gun for the good guys.”

Rep. Greg Steube, R-Sarasota, the bill’s sponsor, said schools would not have to create an armed “designee” program, but the legislation could aid campuses that feel vulnerable.

“Let’s give ourselves the Constitutional and God-given rights to defend ourselves,” he said.


Want to cut back child support payments owed to two moms? Have one mom drive car while you shoot at the other mom and your kids as you drive by March 12, 2014

A Hernando mother, her two children and their grandfather narrowly escaped being injured during a drive-by shooting in Spring Hill Monday night.

It happened around 7:30 p.m. in the 4200 block of Dristol Avenue.

anthony%20rivera_1394563666065_3358248_ver1_0_640_480Anthony Rivera, 21, is charged with attempted second degree murder and Alexandra Clubb, 23, is charged with principle to attempted second degree murder.

Hernando County deputies say Clubb and the woman she shot at have children by the same man.  The two apparently became involved in a verbal dispute earlier in the day at another Spring Hill location.

alexandra%20clubb_1394563774463_3358256_ver1_0_640_480Deputies believe the fight was over the women sharing children with the same man.

Later in the day, the woman noticed Clubb’s car slowly driving by her residence several times.  Worried, the woman called for her father to come out of the house.  When he came out, the two grandchildren came along.

At that time, deputies say Rivera, who was driving Clubb’s car, rolled down the window and attempted to conceal his face with a cloth.

Rivera reportedly raised a firearm and pointed it at the family.  Deputies say three or four gunshots were fired.

Fearing for their safety, the family sought cover and the vehicle sped off.

Deputies say when the located the vehicle in question, Rivera fled.  A short time later, the car was located on Stillwater Avenue and Rivera was taken into custody.

Clubb was also detained by deputies.

As the suspects were removed from the vehicle, deputies say a spent shell casing from a small caliber revolver was found between the windshield and dashboard.

Post Miranda, deputies say Rivera denied any involvement and invoked his right to counsel.

Clubb made numerous admissions regarding her possible involvement Post Miranda, according to deptuies.

Rivera is also charged with driving with a suspended/revoked license and fleeing and eluding.  He is being held on $15,500 bond.


Florida looks to expand Stand Your Ground law, which will now be called the Everybody Is Fair Game law

gaetzIn Florida Monday, hundreds of protesters gathered at the state capitol, demanding changes in the Stand Your Ground law. The law allows a person to use deadly force to defend himself, even if retreat is possible.

In Florida’s gun-friendly legislature, lawmakers want to allow people in fear of their lives to fire a warning shot at their attacker.

“In Florida, we believe in robust self-defense laws, it’s worked. It’s created a 42-year crime low,” said state Rep. Matt Gaetz.

Gaetz pointed to the case of Marissa Alexander. She was initially sentenced to 20 years in prison for firing a warning shot at her abusive husband.

“I’m more interested in closing a loophole where someone would be punished more for missing with a bullet than they would be for striking someone with a bullet in a self-defense circumstance,” Gaetz said.

Eleven states are considering bills to adopt or strengthen Stand Your Ground laws, but 12 states are deciding whether to weaken or repeal them.

Sybrina Fulton wants Florida’s law gone. As Trayvon Martin’s mother testified before a Florida Senate committee Monday, hundreds of protesters outside rallied in support of repealing it. George Zimmerman, a crime watch volunteer, killed Martin, claimed self defense and was acquitted of murdering the 17-year-old.

“I feel like there’s no justice in Stand Your Ground law,” Fulton told CBS News.

Asked what she thinks would happen in Florida if the law is expanded to include warning shots, Fulton said, “I think everybody is going to go out and buy guns and shoot and say, ‘OK, this is my warning shot.’ And I think it sends an awful message.”

The woman who fired a warning shot toward her husband will be retried in July because of improper jury instruction. This time, prosecutors plan to push for a sentence of 60 years.


You have to go through the zoning board for a lot of things …. but not for opening a firing range in your backyard March 7, 2014

Filed under: Bizzarre,Controversy,Dumb,Funny,Guns,Shooting,Stupid,WTF? — floridaduh @ 2:43 pm

Varrieur and Gordon practice their firing stance with unloaded weapons in the yard of Varrieur's home in Big Pine KeysEvery Wednesday afternoon, Doug Varrieur steps into his backyard in the Florida Keys, aims his .380 caliber Smith & Wesson pistol and fires shots that ricochet through city halls around the state.

Varrieur, 57, discovered a little-noticed part of Florida law which prohibits local governments from restricting gun rights in any way, and in December he set up a personal gun range on his property in a residential subdivision.

Neighbors were outraged by the live gunfire, but their surprise was nothing compared to that of municipal leaders, who were shocked to realize there was nothing they could do about it.

“The rational gun owners I speak to realize this is lunacy,” said Michael Ryan, the mayor of Sunrise, in southeast Florida.

Ryan, a lawyer by trade, is one of numerous city and county leaders now trying to regain some control over recreational gunfire in their communities, particularly in dense urban zones.

Palm Beach and Broward counties in south Florida have a lawsuit pending to overturn the law, noting that it forced them to rescind restrictions, for example, on taking guns into child care facilities.

But in a state known as the “Gunshine State” for its loose gun laws, few expect the Republican-dominated Florida legislature to make any changes.

“You can slice and dice it anyway you want, but there’s an accident waiting to happen,” said Rick Ramsay, the Sheriff of Monroe County, where Varrieur’s gun range is located.

Ramsay and Ryan point to the death of 69-year-old Bruce Fleming in Deltona near Orlando on Christmas morning. Fleming was struck apparently by accident by a shotgun blast from a neighbor’s property. The shooting remains under investigation.

Varrieur, an author of diet books, set up his shooting target on December 26 after he and his wife bought his-and-her pistols for Christmas, and baulked at the 70-mile round trip to the nearest commercial gun range to practice shooting.

Under Florida Statute 790, gun control is solely under state, not local, jurisdiction. The only state restriction on recreational shooting on private residential property is that the bullets cannot fly over a paved public road or an occupied dwelling, and that shots cannot be “reckless or negligent.”

Legislators in 2011 put teeth into the law by imposing a $5,000 fine and authorizing the governor to remove from office any local government official who attempts to restrict gun use.

Although nothing in the state law specifically required him to try to block errant bullets, Varrieur mounted his target on a 7 X 7-foot backstop which he installed against a 12-foot-tall shed. When he fires his weapon, Varrieur is shooting in the direction of a canal used by boaters to reach open water.

Varrieur said he stations his wife and father on the edge of the canal to warn him if a boat is coming. And he said he informs the sheriff’s department of when he will be shooting.

Recognizing that other gun owners will want to follow his lead, Varrieur now offers upon request instructions for building his backstop and his personal set of “Varrieur Range Rules,” which recommend weapons should not exceed a .357 Magnum and a ban on alcohol consumption.

“My passion is to make sure they are safe, safe, safe,” Varrieur said.

After seeing a news account about the controversy in the Keys over Varrieur’s gun range, mayor Ryan wrote in February to Governor Rick Scott asking him to explicitly promise not to exercise his authority to remove from office any local public official who imposes reasonable restrictions on target shooting in residential neighborhoods.

Scott, through his general counsel, responded, telling Ryan it would be “prudent” to wait until the Palm Beach and Broward lawsuits are resolved.

The Broward lawsuit complains that the law is unconstitutional because it violates the separation of powers by giving the governor the ability to remove local officials from office. Under current law, the governor is only allowed to suspend local officials.

Ramsay said he believes a shooter could be arrested if a deputy witnesses a bullet flying over his or her property lines under the “reckless or negligent” prohibition in the law. But Ramsay said he has instructed his deputies to seek legal advice before attempting an arrest.

“The irony is if someone wants to put in an addition to their home or an in-ground pool, they have to come through code enforcement and zoning. Here we can’t say anything,” Ryan said.


Florida man with plastic gun killed by Florida police with real guns March 5, 2014

Filed under: Bizzarre,Death,Florida Nut,Guns,Sad Story,Scary,Stupid,Weird,WTF? — floridaduh @ 8:13 pm

bildeThe gunman killed by sheriff’s deputies Friday wielded a replica gun, an Airsoft-brand pistol that fires 6mm plastic pellets, Brevard Sheriff Wayne Ivey said in a videotaped news release.

Robert Striffler was shot by Brevard County Sheriff’s deputies after a three-hour standoff in the parking lot of the Moore Justice Center, during which he waved a pistol and yelled threats.

“The pistol is actually designed to resemble a firearm,” Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey said on the video. He said Striffler’s Stinger P311 had been modified — the orange tip that would identify it as a toy had been removed. The manufacturer’s website said the $15.99 gun resembles popular U.S. military pistols of the past.

“I think it’s important to keep in mind that our deputies are trained to respond to life and death situations and are forced to make split-second decisions with the best information they have available,” Ivey said. “The deputies that responded Friday encountered a deadly threat, and responded to that threat appropriately. Replica guns are extremely realistic, and difficult to distinguish from an actual, functioning firearm.”

Ivey identified the agents who fired as Chris Neel and Juan Vargas. Neel is a nine-year veteran, Vargas has served eight years. Both have been routinely placed on administrative leave while both BCSO and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement conduct investigations, both of which will be presented to the State Attorney’s Office for review.

Agency spokeswoman Deputy Maria Fernez said Neel and Vargas are part of the SWAT team that responded to the scene on Friday.

The standoff ended with gunshots at about 1 p.m.

Ivey previously said Striffler “responded in an aggressive fashion” to deputies attempts at subduing him with non-lethal force. Striffler’s response prompted the deputies to shoot to kill to protect themselves, Ivey said.

At the end of the standoff, Fernez said, the Airsoft pistol was found next to Striffler’s body.

Fernez explained the non-lethal weapon deputies used was a Taser XREP, self-contained device that can be fired from a shotgun and stuns a person with electricity. She said Neel and Vargas were not the ones who fired the non-lethal weapon, but couldn’t identify who did. Taser previously discontinued the XREP.

Fernez estimated at least 100 people witnessed the incident, and the FDLE will interview all them.


Blind man acquitted in fatal shooting gets guns back … bet you he didn’t see that coming February 22, 2014

Filed under: Amazing,Controversy,Guns,Interesting,WTF? — floridaduh @ 2:19 pm

blind22n-1-webA legally blind man who was acquitted in the shooting death of another man fought in court Thursday to get his guns back.

John Rogers said he has the right to have both of his guns returned to him.

While Judge John Galluzzo said he did not want to return the guns to Rogers, he said it was the law.

Rogers’ guns were confiscated by law-enforcement officers after he fatally shot a man. He was later acquitted.

“I have to return property that was taken under the circumstance,” Galluzzo said. “I have researched and haven’t found case law to say otherwise.”

Galluzzo said he had no choice but to return Rogers’ 10mm Glock and a rifle that was used to kill James DeWitt, 34.

The shooting happened at Rogers’ home in Geneva during a fight in March 2012. Rogers spent time in jail and went to trial in January. He was granted immunity using the “stand your ground” law.

Rogers became blind after a construction accident and said he needs his guns for protection.

“It’s my constitutional right. I wasn’t carrying these firearms around. I was in my house on a private road in Geneva out of the way,” Rogers said.

The former Marine left the Seminole County Courthouse on Thursday hoping to end the controversy.

“The family has been through enough, and I have been through enough, and I would like to retire, put this behind me and move forward,” Rogers said.

Four years ago, Rogers was accused of shooting at his cousin.

Galluzzo did order that all ammunition to be destroyed. He said it was too old and dangerous.




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