Sherrie McKnight, Co-Founder and chief evangelist, and Nicholas Lahera, Public Relations Coordinator, spoke at the Florida Senate Criminal Justice Committee in support of SB 150, a permitless carry bill, and call for Constitutional Carry.
To see the entire meeting, visit: https://thefloridachannel.org/videos/2-20-23-senate-committee-on-criminal-justice/
Sherrie’s prepared remarks:
Good afternoon, thank you Mr. Chairman for allowing me to speak. My name is Sherrie McKnight. I am the co-founder and Chief Evangelist of Big Daddy Unlimited and Big Daddy Guns in Gainesville, FL.
I have worked for years on behalf of gun rights attending rallies here at the Capitol, working to educate and train my elected officials, as well as supporting true Constitutional Carry.
The Second Amendment “shall not be infringed”. We are guaranteed that right whether we exercise it or not. I didn’t personally choose to exercise my Second Amendment right until I was 44 years old; and in the last ten years, I have become one of its strongest advocates.
Our ability to protect and defend ourselves was given to us by our creator, not bureaucrats who have no business determining how, when, or IF I have the right to protect myself. Their inefficiencies could cost me my life, as it has cost other women their lives. Everyone should have the right to defend themselves without having to jump through arbitrary hoops to do so. Criminals don’t ask for permission.
Criminals, by their very nature, don’t follow or obey laws, and innocent people are hurt in the process. I have experienced this personally. Constitutional Carry will give Floridians the freedom that the Founders intended.
I keep hearing, “the Free state of Florida”, but we are not living up to that. Florida is ONLY in the company of Illinois and New York with regard to open carry; both states with the strictest gun laws, yet both with devastating crime rates. We need to do better in Florida. Open carry is not a threat to tourism, it’s not a threat to Floridians. It’s an option that some law-abiding citizens may choose to exercise that shows criminals they are not going to become their victim.
I have a saying, “you gotta show up to go up,” which is why we are here today. I am asking you to extend the bill to support full Constitutional Carry which includes the right to open carry so that Florida may be in the company of the overwhelming majority of American states. Thank you.
Nicholas’ prepared remarks:
Good afternoon Chairman. My name is Nicholas Lahera. I represent Big Daddy Unlimited and Big Daddy Guns as the head of Public Relations. As one of the largest firearms retailers in the state of Florida, I wanted to speak to the committee today to express my support for SB 150.
The bill is long overdue considering that 25 states have Constitutional Carry. We are calling for its passage and hoping you include open carry.
There have been too many cases where innocent people became victims because a bureaucracy prevented them from being able to protect themselves. I am glad to see our state finally allowing Floridians and our hundreds of millions of visitors to express their Constitutional rights.
We want to see the bill go further. 47 states allow for open carry. Illinois and New York are hardly representative of the immense freedom we have in Florida. Florida needs to join the rest of the country and allow open carry. With Governor DeSantis at the helm, freedom should be at the forefront of every decision.
Tourism is always brought up as the argument against open carry, but Florida has an interesting loophole to open carry. “A person engaged in fishing, camping, or lawful hunting or going to or returning” from those activities may open carry. I am sure most of us in this room enjoy our beautiful Sunshine state waterways, but we don’t see too many firearms. If this is permitted in 47 other states without issue, it shouldn’t be one here.
Our organization has the vision of normalizing and destigmatizing firearms and the gun-buying process. We can only accomplish this by fighting for freedom and full Constitutional Carry which includes the right to open carry. Thank you for your time.
Big Daddy Unlimited advocates strongly for Second Amendment rights because we believe that the right to keep and bear arms exists to protect all of the other God-given rights of American citizens. Become a member today to join our community of freedom-loving Americans, and let’s work together to support and defend our Second Amendment rights.