MIAMI BEACH, Fla. – South Pointe Pier was briefly closed Sunday after a gun rights group held an event there, where men openly carried firearms to promote their cause.
Officers briefly detained six armed men at the popular tourist destination about 11 a.m., Miami Beach Police Department Officer Ernesto Rodriguez said.
However, police determined the men were legally allowed to carry the weapons and the group was released, Rodriguez said.
In Florida, people can openly carry firearms while fishing, hunting and camping. The men organizing the event were fishing at the pier.
Rodriguez said police assigned two officers to the pier "out of an abundance of caution" while the men fished. Police urged people to avoid the pier while the armed men were there.
Florida Carry Inc. sponsored the event. The organization wants to expand the state law so legal gun owners can openly carry weapons in most public places. Florida Carry has organized similar gatherings in other parts of the state in the past.
"We want to show the public the other side of the debate, that legal firearm owners are not monsters nor are we in anyway out to hurt anyone," one of the men wrote to Local 10 News before the event.
Eric Friday, general counsel for Florida Carry, said the men were held by police for two hours and had guns drawn on them.
"Overreaction would be an understatement, but I do believe they overreacted," Friday said.
Friday said his group planned to take legal action against the city for how the police handled the situation.