Alachua Chronicle | by Tim Marden | January 16, 2023
ALACHUA, Fla. – The State Attorney’s office has dismissed all charges filed against Chris Rose for an October 20 protest outside the Alachua County Republican Party’s Black Tie and Blue Jeans annual fundraiser featuring Governor Ron DeSantis as the keynote speaker.
Rose was originally arrested for trespassing at the event by an Alachua Police Department officer, apparently at the request of a security company hired by the governor’s campaign. Rose was on the sidewalk, across a driveway from the building, protesting a ban on concealed firearms carried by concealed carry permit holders at the event. He was holding a bright green poster that read, “I WILL NOT BE DISARMED BY DESANTIS.”
The event was made a gun-free zone by the DeSantis campaign’s private security firm Colorado Security. At the time of the arrest, Rose was told that the sidewalk was also considered part of the private event and therefore under the scope of the Legacy Park facility rental agreement.
Rose was never inside the building but stood outside on a nearby sidewalk.
A self-professed DeSantis fan, Rose told Alachua Chronicle at the time, “That is great that he has security protecting him, but what about me and the others at the event? If we have a concealed carry permit, we should be allowed to carry. The law only allows the Florida Legislature to create gun-free zones, not the Governor alone.”
Rose’s arrest garnered attention from the gun rights advocacy group Gun Owners of America and various online vloggers, nicknamed “Gun Tubers,” on YouTube. Luis Valdes of Gun Owners of America (GOA) told Alachua Chronicle, “GOA was confident that the Alachua County State Attorney’s Office and the Eighth Judicial Circuit would come to their senses and drop the charges filed against Chris Rose. I am proud to say that Mr. Rose epitomizes what our Founding Fathers intended when it came to a citizen’s civic duties. Mr. Rose stood up not just for his rights, but the rights of all Floridians that day and he did so in the most professional and civil manner possible.”
GOA hired attorney Eric Friday to defend Rose, and the charges were dropped the same day Friday’s Notice of Appearance in the case was filed. Valdes said, “We thank Eric Friday for his hard work behind the scenes in dealing with the State Attorney’s Office and making sure that justice would prevail.”
Regarding the resolution of his case, Rose told Alachua Chronicle, “I greatly appreciate both GOA and Florida Carry for coming to my assistance to defend my civil rights. I look forward to taking the next step in this process.” Rose declined to be more specific about that next step.
The Office of State Attorney Brian Kramer did not respond to our request for comment.