A video showing a motorist being arrested for legally carrying a gun is lighting the internet on fire.
In the last week alone, more than ten thousand people have viewed the dash board cam of a Citrus County deputy making the arrest.
Gun advocates say the video is proof Florida needs to change the current law.
The video has been seen more than 38 thousand times in January.
It shows Joel Smith of Citrus County getting stopped. Seventeen seconds after getting out of the car he is asked for his registration and insurance. As he turns, something is slightly visible in his back pocket. Deputy Alan Cox asks Smith “Why do you carry a gun for?” Ten seconds later Smith is being held at gun point. “Put your hands right up or I’ll shoot you in the blanking back”, says Deputy Cox.
Smith is legally licensed to carry a concealed weapon. But Smith was arrested anyway charged with carrying a prohibited weapon openly.
Marion Hammer from The Unified Sportsmen of Florida calls it an overreaction. “A law enforcement officer losing it and abusing a law abiding citizen who had done nothing wrong and was doing anything he could to cooperate”.
When the case got to the courthouse, the state attorney declined to prosecute saying there was little chance a jury would convict.
Florida law was changed in 2011 to say the brief viewing of a gun in a non threatening manner is not a crime. Unified Sportsmen say Smith’s case and another are proof Florida needs to do more. “They’re arguing that the accidental exposure was not brief”, says Hammer.
Deputy Alan Cox has now been put on administrative leave pending an internal investigation.