back to article Florida cops cuff open-carry, balls-out pirate packing 'operational' flintlocks

A Florida pirate was arrested recently after allegedly firing shots at passing cars using his pair of "operational" black-powder pistols, presumably flintlocks. The Florida Keys Keynoter and Reporter has the story. It seems that Monroe County sheriff's deputies, responding to notifications of shots fired on the old Seven Mile …

  1. frank ly

    Much fuss over nothing?

    I've seen an old (genuine) flintlock fired without a ball. The wadding goes about fifteen feet, the smoke a bit less so. Unless witnesses saw him load a ball before firing then it's his word against the police? It looks like they can have him on open carry violation though.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Much fuss over nothing?

      I am puzzled. I thought it was carrying a concealed weapon which usually needed a special licence - if allowed at all?

      1. rh587 Silver badge

        Re: Much fuss over nothing?

        "I am puzzled. I thought it was carrying a concealed weapon which usually needed a special licence - if allowed at all?"

        Some states actually permit Concealed Carry (with or without a permit), but not Open Carry.

        Some have it the other way round, and other permit both.

        Carry laws are legislated at a State - not federal - level, and thus there are 51 (including DC) sets of rules, all subtly different.

        1. Charles Manning

          Re: Much fuss over nothing?

          "and thus there are 51 (including DC) sets of rules"

          Then there are various municipal by-laws pushing the number up to many hundreds.

          1. codejunky Silver badge

            Re: Much fuss over nothing?

            CC protects everyone. Not only must an attacker consider that you are armed, they must also consider the observers as well. Chances are people will not be armed and will rely on the possibility, but there will always be a few who are armed. I would guess this helps with home defence as well as the occupants may be armed even if you never see them carry.

      2. Phil Skuse

        Re: Much fuss over nothing?

        It does seem odd to us Rightpondians.

        If you are so scared of being attacked that you feel the need to carry a firearm then why conceal it?

        You'd be better off having it in plain view where everyone can see that you've got it. Then nobody will dare risk attacking you. If it's concealed then there's slightly more chance you will have to use it.

        Would a mugger try to rob the seemingly unarmed guy, or the guy with the glock in a holster and an AK47 slung over his shoulder?

        1. Khaptain

          Re: Much fuss over nothing?

          As usual there is always more than one point of view.

          When someone openly carries, the mugger has at least two choices.

          1 : He goes and mugs someone somewhere else who is not protected.... In this situation the guy that open carries avoids the crime happening anywhere near him... If this is the case and everyone open carries then crime should go way down because the muggers would see that everyone is capable of defending themselves. ( Theoretically)

          2 : The open carrier becomes a target. If the mugger is clever, he distracts the open carrier, clubs him over the back of the head and the mugger now has a Glock and an AK47 with which he can mug many more people that he could have empty handed. Not a great situation.....

          3 : If someone in the vicinity is concealed carrying the mugger does not know this, the mugger unwarily begins doing his job and starts to mug someone, (obviously not the cc guy), the cc guy see the event and begins to chase or shoot the mugger...( Theoretically).. Hopefully the mugger gets scared and stops doing the naughty....

          4 : In reality, most people who carry, concealed or not, are not actually prepared for any kind of shooting scenario, and especially not prepared to actually kill someone, which requires ignorance, in which case is likely to shoot the wrong person or requires a hell of lot of pure cold blood.

          I think the CC is a good thing in the hands of those that know how to use a gun, can remain calm, analyse the situation and respond with lethal force only as a last resort... Shooting, and shooting precisely under stress, is far, far more difficult than people might imagine... An expert marksman can become a complete numpty when the adrenaline starts flowing.

          1. Jediben

            Re: Much fuss over nothing?

            Umm, so your mugger is attempting a mugging empty-handed in order to try to steal a weapon from a victim who is OPENLY carrying a gun, while he is actually legally allows to carry a firearm and could therefore have one to use anyway, to then steal the gun to use in a mugging against someone else who may or may not be openly carrying? I know criminals are stupid, but this must be a Floridian mugger.

            1. Khaptain

              Re: Much fuss over nothing?

              All it takes to take the arms away from someone who is open carrying is a "brick"....from a distance of about 3 metres to the back of the head.... People do not have eyes in the back of their heads and therefore their guns are rendered useless.... They might as well not be carrying..

              The point I was trying to make is that "open carrying" is not an efficient deterrent because the bad guys are aware of the situation, whereas with CC the bad guys are unaware of who/what the potential risks are ..

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Much fuss over nothing?

                Bah, that's why I never leave home without my suicide vest strapped to my body and my dead man's switch in hand.

              2. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Much fuss over nothing?


                But unless you are particularly good at throwing bricks forcefully and accurately, there's a good chance that it won't do as much damage as you expect. The target will then turn around, take out their weapon and shoot you repeatedly until they run out of bullets. How many muggers are going to take that risk?

                Seriously, find a single recorded occurrence of an openly armed person being mugged by an unarmed person.

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: Much fuss over nothing?

                  Everyone is trying to think of open carry versus concealed carry in terms of mugging. The real distinction as far as the legislators in each state has to do with the general public's feelings. In some areas people will not feel at all comfortable with people walking around openly carrying guns. These states tend to only allow concealed carry (whether a permit is required for that is another matter) or none at all. In other states, mostly out west, they are much less likely to be bothered by it, and thus they allow open carry. Some may allow both open and concealed carry, because freedom.

                2. Khaptain

                  Re: Much fuss over nothing?

                  Ok this mugger was not unarmed but the point still stands that the Open Carrying guy got robbed because the mugger was aware that he was carrying...


          2. Stevie

            Re: Point of View

            BUT Florida has "Stand Your Ground" law in effect, which can be summarized as "better be the only version of what went down". This incentivizes playing for keeps.

          3. Dan Paul

            Re: Much fuss over nothing? Not at all!

            Thanks for your opinions. I agree with all your points except #4.

            Killing someone who is trying to (or is in the act) mug you or your loved ones is not "ignorant". It demands an understanding of what is right and wrong, not "cold blood" as you put it. Killing a criminal is not always a bad thing. Any thought or reluctance about it will be too late for the victim.

            It is Social Darwinism at it's highest degree. There is no reason to coddle criminals like you do over there and if you catch them doing the act then dispatching them back to Hell is doing a great service to society. Take them out of the gene pool completely while letting the rest of the criminals know where they stand.

            Florida law has a "Stand your ground" clause that allows anyone to defend their home or themselves with deadly force (not just guns, any weapon is acceptable). It has been instrumental in decreasing home invasions in Florida.

            Criminals need to understand the consequences of their actions and the law should ALWAYS protect the victims, NOT the criminals. IMO, Criminals voluntarily gave up all civil and lawful rights when they committed the crime.

            1. Lamont Cranston

              Re: "There is no reason to coddle criminals like you do over there"

              I've always been quite proud of the fact that we don't generally* allow summary executions, over here.

              *Yes, the police are authorised to shoot to kill in certain circumstances, but arrest, conviction and rehabilitation are the general aim. Granted, we've yet to perfect the rehabilitation element. And the conviction element. And the arrest element. Still preferable to having petty criminals shot to death in the streets, though.

        2. <shakes head>

          Re: Much fuss over nothing?

          we use to have shouting matches with the police officer giving you a parking ticket, who was similarly armed.

    2. Trigonoceps occipitalis

      Re: Much fuss over nothing?

      Just put "Jon-Erik Hexum" into your search engine of choice. Guns are neutral but dangerous when coupled with ignorance and/or stupidity.

      1. Khaptain

        Re: Much fuss over nothing?

        >Just put "Jon-Erik Hexum" into your search engine of choice

        So he didn't apply the 1st rule of firearms etiquete : Always treat every firearm as though it is loaded.

        The problem here though was not the gun, it was the meatbag behind it. If this guy had a kitchen knife he would have stabbed himself in the heart pretending to be a vampire, if he had a pack of cards he would probably be capable of slitting his jugular by pretending to whisk a card out of the back of his collar.....

        Stupid is what stupid does..

        1. Dan Paul

          Re: Much fuss over nothing?

          Exactly, you shouldn't have a weapon if you can't handle it properly or don't learn to. That includes being prepared to use it. Whether that be a gun, knife or a baseball bat.

          I'll say it again, it's not the tool that causes the problem; it's the person who uses it that is the issue.

          And to the other poster who suggested the name to look up; do you have any more suggestions? Because one in 310 million is statistically insignificant.

          THAT is "much fuss over nothing". Same goes for cops that shoot themselves in the foot.

  2. Uberseehandel

    Neither Funny nor Accurate

    Almost certainly percussion cap, not old black powder pistols are flintlocks, by any means.

    Just give us the story, if the alternative is a grossly laboured piece lacking in either humour.or reportage.

    And why is THIS old non-relevant story being given space, anyway? It ranks right up there with chavs chucking fire crackers around.......

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Neither Funny nor Accurate

      Is the answer to your question "because these types of stories give bitter old moaners something to complain about in the comments."

  3. PhilipN

    $328 Bail?

    Why? Is that how much he had on him?

    1. seven of five

      Re: $328 Bail?

      Probably converted from a piece of eight...

  4. Inventor of the Marmite Laser Silver badge


    Just because

  5. jake Silver badge

    "A Florida dumb-ass was arrested recently"

    There, fixed that for you.

    N.B. That's not called a "Navy Colt", rather it's the "Colt Navy". I own an 1851, pulled out of a Port Orford Cedar box lined with straw buried under the floor of my barn in Nevada, and an M1861 that Great-grampa bought new, I have the original sales receipt. Both are still excellent shooters.

    1. Chris G Silver badge

      Re: "A Florida dumb-ass was arrested recently"

      Colt Navy was a nice shooting pistol, good looking and well balanced, the only thing arguably better from that era IMO was the Remington Navy though realistcally only for it's even better looks.

      I have fired an old cap and ball duelling pistol that would have looked the part for a pirate, it must have been the magnum of it's day with a huge .62" ball and a powder load that gave impressive recoil and enough smoke to hide a stagecoach complete with the four horses..

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    And the Police didn't shoot him dead?

    I think someone needs to go back to training....

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: And the Police didn't shoot him dead?

      Probably the wrong colour.

      1. earl grey

        Re: And the Police didn't shoot him dead?

        Well, in spite of your bias and prejudice, the police in the states shoot and kill far more whites than blacks. it's just that there's not a march and a riot every time it happens. And no, i'm not going to bother looking up the percentages based on crime, population or anything else... You have interwebs to search that info yourself.

        1. Hollerith 1

          Re: And the Police didn't shoot him dead?

          The Guardian online has a page with a running total of people killed at the hands of the police across all the USA. They break it down by race. Last time I looked (a couple of days ago) it was a total of 558 for 2015.

        2. Gene Cash Silver badge

          Re: And the Police didn't shoot him dead?

          The police do not report statistics for the number of people they shoot, so anything reported is someone's guess.

          And my experience is yes, the cops shoot far more blacks than whites. They certainly stop/bother/arrest far more blacks than whites.

          There are now marches & riots because people are getting tired of that shit.

          1. Dan Paul

            Re: And the Police didn't shoot him dead? @GeneCash

            You sir are spreading more lies and conjecture!


  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Ironic really since that was the kind of firearm the original signatories to the constitution had in mind when they drafted the right to bear arms bit, rather than the NRA extension that now seems to include everything from rocket launchers to sniper rifles.

    It appears the only firearm you can't carry is a flint lock musket

    1. Grikath

      Re: Strange...

      That's because you don't as much "carry" it, as "lug around"...

      and to add insult to injury, the complementary bajonet that is essentially part of the weapon gets you into trouble more and faster than the actual firearm...

    2. Dan Paul

      Re: Strange...

      And you "AC" are spreading lies as well. There is no NRA "extension' to the Second Amendment of the Constitution. You are just stirring up shit for your own commie agenda.

      First, the guy was arrested for SHOOTING the gun where he had no justifiable reason to. NOT because he had the gun.

      Next, the SUPREME COURT (the highest court of the land) decided that the second amendment no longer had a "militia" requirement and that ordinary citizens could own and carry guns "subject to the laws of the state" that you live in. This was decided some 30 years ago.

      The Southern states have much more flexible gun laws than the Northern ones and in some states like Texas or Louisiana you can have a full auto machine gun, rocket launcher or cannon. That is not the case in the North where you can't fart without some nancypants gun law applying.

      Perhaps you should learn about the subject you are commenting on before you make sweeping generalizations and outright lies.

  8. Chronigan

    Florida is open carry, he was not arrested for having the guns but for discharging them and disturbing the peace, which is a nice catch all for doing something the police or other citizens find annoying. Most states, if they allow the carrying of pistols in public have concealed carry, which you must be licensed for, and the pistol must be carried concealed on your person. Some states allow neither, some both, some one or the other.

  9. Mark 85 Silver badge

    Somewhat of a non-story...

    Obviously, he didn't have any balls on him (for the pistol)... People in pirate costumes are not unknown in certain parts of Florida. So he was popping off blanks. I suspect that if he did have the lead balls, the cops would have noted it.

    As for the holsters, in some states, the gun must be holstered and in open view for open carry. Putting the pistols in his sash could have been taken as "concealed" which would have been a bigger headache for him.

    What humor value is there is about it.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just another day... the crazy world we live in.

    BTW, many states allow carrying unconcealed weapons as long as you have proper training and a permit to do so.

  11. PT

    Not a "firearm"

    Under United States law, a black powder pistol is not a firearm. Directly from the ATF's web site - [pdf] -

    ... a muzzle loading weapon that meets the definition of an “antique firearm” is not a firearm ...See 18 U.S.C. § 845(a)(5)

    The definition is cast pretty broadly. It doesn't have to be old, it just has to use black powder. The regulations also state that black powder and musket balls don't count as "ammunition". So disorderly conduct is about all they can get him on, since he can't be accused of discharging a firearm in public.

    1. Vic

      Re: Not a "firearm"

      a muzzle loading weapon that meets the definition of an “antique firearm” is not a firearm


      I'd have thought that if it meets the definition of an "antique firearm", it is, by definition a firearm...


      1. Swarthy Silver badge

        Re: Not a "firearm" @ Vic

        There you go applying logic and reason to laws...

  12. mhenriday
    Big Brother

    Mr Spiering can count himself fortunate

    that he is «white» - had he been «black», it is rather unlikely that he would have survived the encounter with the Monroe County coppers. Chances are in that case, when confronting him, they would have «feared for their lives» and brought him down in a hail of bullets....


  13. rhfish

    Texas has been a concealed carry state for 20 years. We just approved open carry starting January 1 with unexpected support from some members of the Black clergy. Gun control came to Texas 125 years ago as a means to disarm former slaves.

    "Concealed Carry" is considered more aggressive than "Open Carry" since it gives the armed individual the advantage of surprise. Very few criminals carry their weapons openly. This was one argument for requiring a criminal background check before allowing individuals to carry concealed.

    In metropolitan areas (such a Dallas) police departments routinely issue news releases of CHL defenses such as carjackers getting shot by little old ladies. This seems to have a demoralizing effect on criminals.

    "Open Carry" is considered the more defensive option. Cops carry openly. There is no subterfuge. If you're armed, everyone know you are armed, including the bad guys. Most CHL holders will probably continue to conceal so as not to give away that advantage.

    About 3% of Texans have a CHL. There were 250,000 issued last year, 70%male 30%female.

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