I have a scenario for you.
My legal note: I m not a lawyer. I cannot give legal advice. I can only tell my opinions related to Florida.
This scenario has several levels. First, you have a concealed carry license so you are legal to carry a concealed firearm.
Next, you have the license in your wallet, so we can assume it is on your person when you went shopping. A license on your desk does no good.
Your firearm is concealed under your shirt. So far there is nothing that would justify the arrest.
Now to the monetary exposure. The original concealed carry statute did cover unintended display. Many Lefty LEOs use this loophole to harass legal conceal carry licenses saying they were open carrying.
For some reason, the legislature did not update the concealed carry statute to address this loophole. Instead, they amended the open-carry statute. They added ‘ It is not a violation of this section for a person licensed to carry a concealed firearm as provided in s. 790.06(1), and who is lawfully carrying a firearm in a concealed manner, to briefly and openly display the firearm to the ordinary sight of another person, unless the firearm is intentionally displayed in an angry or threatening manner, not in necessary self-defense.’
This statue covers our intended display. We cannot be held reasonable for a Lefty freaking out over the sign of a firearm.
The next issue is the big box store’s policy on concealed carry. If they don’t have a policy, they can still ask you to leave. If they have a policy, but notification, they can still ask you to leave. If they have a notification on display they can ask you to leave.
All three of these scenarios have things in common. First, the store’s policy and notification have no legal standing related to the possession of a firearm. You cannot be arrested based on the fact that you have a concealed firearm.
The issue we are addressing here is covered by the trespass laws. Any store has the right to ask you to leave. If you refuse to you have violated the trespass laws.
Digging through several statutes, we find ‘Whoever, without being authorized, licensed, or invited, willfully enters or remains in any structure or conveyance, or, having been authorized, licensed, or invited, is warned by the owner or lessee of the premises, or by a person authorized by the owner or lessee, to depart and refuses to do so, commits the offense of trespass in a structure or conveyance.’
In our scenario we were never asked to leave, so we are not covered by the trespass laws.
But you say what if there was a sign on the door. Here the ‘what sign’ defense comes into play. A sign on the door cannot serve as notice unless you have prior notice for a previous visit. Our arrest fails another test.
The LEO could try to use the fact that you were armed and a threat to the public. Well, we were armed, but the only evidence that we were a threat was a freaked-out Lefty.
The fact that you were forced to the ground points to the LEO overacting. Add to this the fact that you complied with all the officer’s commands supports your claim that you were not a threat.
After reviewing all the issues around the arrest, I would say that there was no ground for the arrest. At most, we should have been asked to leave the store.
So what would I do in this situation? As mad as I might be, I would not scream or fight. These actions only let the LEO use resisting arrest as justification for the arrest. I know this seems like a self-fulfilling loop but it is the law.
I would compile with arrest, contact my lawyer, and think how much money I would make in my lawsuit against the LEO and the store.
My legal note: I m not a lawyer. I cannot give legal advice. I can only tell my opinions related to Florida. When in doubt, contact your lawyer, especially if you are sitting in a holding tank.