A Miami reporter was arrested this week, for carrying a weapon on school grounds. He had a concealed weapons permit. There are a couple of problems with this arrest.
1 The law he was undoubtedly arrested for violating was 790.06(12), which states (in relevant part):
No license issued pursuant to this section shall authorize any person to carry a concealed weapon or firearm into…any elementary or secondary school facility…
Which would seem to make this a valid arrest, until you look at the statute like an attorney, At that point, you see that the legislature treats school facilities and school grounds as two different animals. See 790.115(1) (relevant parts):
(1) A person who exhibits any sword, sword cane, firearm, electric weapon or device, destructive device, or other weapon… at a school-sponsored event or on the grounds or facilities of any school…
The legislature could easily have said grounds, had it meant grounds. Instead, it chose to use the word facility. In fact, looking at the definition of “Educational facility” in 159.29(22), we see that facility DOES mean buildings:
(22) “Educational facility” means:
(a) Property, limited to a structure suitable for use as a dormitory or other housing facility or a dining facility, that is operated in the public sector and used for or useful in connection with the operation of an institution for higher education…(snip irrelevant language)
(b) Property that comprises the buildings and equipment, structures, and special education use areas that are built, installed, or established to serve primarily the educational purposes of operating any nonprofit private preschool, kindergarten, elementary school, middle school, or high school…
Even if the court decides that this reading is incorrect, it is only a Class 2 Misdemeanor. I don’t even think it will get that far, however. Because he was arrested on the sidewalk in front of the school, this would not in any way constitute the “facility.”
The second problem I have, is that since the weapon was concealed, and the reporter safely on the sidewalk, the police officer in this case had absolutely no probable cause to search him to FIND the weapon in the first place. This entire arrest smells. Perhaps this reporter was reporting on things the local gendarmes found offensive.