Escambia County Commission candidate arrested for openly carrying a handgun on July 4

·2 min read

This story has been updated to correct a mistake that appeared in the original. Stan McDaniel's live stream of the exchange with Pensacola officers audio cut out after six minutes into the nearly 30-minute video.

Stan McDaniels, a Republican candidate for the Escambia County Commission District 4 seat, was arrested Sunday and charged with openly carrying a weapon.

McDaniels, 39, is running against Commissioner Robert Bender for the GOP nomination for the District 4 commission seat.

On July 4, McDaniels was waving at passing cars outside of county offices at the intersection of Main and Baylen streets with a handgun clearly visible tucked into his front pants, according to a Pensacola Police Department arrest report.

A screen capture shows Escambia County Commission District 4 candidate Stan McDaniels talk with Pensacola Police Department officers while openly carrying a handgun. McDaniels livestreamed the encounter with police on his campaign Facebook page.
A screen capture shows Escambia County Commission District 4 candidate Stan McDaniels talk with Pensacola Police Department officers while openly carrying a handgun. McDaniels livestreamed the encounter with police on his campaign Facebook page.

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Florida law requires handguns to be concealed when in public and for the individual to have a concealed carry permit.

Police received a call for a suspicious person at the intersection at 2:33 p.m. and when they arrived, police found McDaniels there with a camera on a tripod pointed at him and holding a pamphlet of the U.S. Constitution.

The police report noted McDaniels' handgun tucked into his pants was visible for the public to see.

When a police officer told McDaniels it was illegal to openly display a firearm, McDaniels told the officer he was waving at people but would now exercise his Fifth Amendment right. The officer asked McDaniels for identification, and McDaniels provided a concealed carry permit.

Another officer arrived and spoke with McDaniels, who told him he wanted the case to go to the Supreme Court.

McDaniels livestreamed the exchange with police on his campaign Facebook page, but the video's audio cuts out about six minutes into the exchange with PPD.

In another post, he posted an image of himself with the handgun openly worn while standing in front of the M.C. Blanchard Judicial Building.

Police confiscated the firearm, which was described as a .40 caliber Beretta M9 with nine rounds in the magazine and one round in the chamber. McDaniels was allowed to keep the gun's holster.

Police did not arrest McDaniels at the scene, however, an arrest warrant was issued Sunday afternoon.

In another livestream on his Facebook page, McDaniels said he was called by PPD and would turn himself in that afternoon.

"Let's see how this process goes for trying to be free," McDaniels said.

As of Monday morning, McDaniels remained in the Escambia County Jail on a $1,000 bond.

In an interview conducted with the News Journal before the July 4 holiday about his candidacy, McDaniels said he was a strong believer in the Second Amendment.

He said he thinking about protesting Florida's prohibition on openly carrying a gun near the courthouse downtown when it was closed for the holiday.

"It's a nonviolent way to say we need to change the system," McDaniels said.

Jim Little can be reached at jwlittle@pnj.com and 850-208-9827.

This article originally appeared on Pensacola News Journal: Escambia County Commission candidate Stan McDaniels arrested on July 4