You have the right to keep and bear arms. It is the second amendment to the U. S. Constitution, and arguably one of the best known. That being said, however, the right to carry a firearm is also one of the most debated and legislated rights in America. As a Florida resident or even just a visitor here, it is important to take the time to really understand your rights when it comes to buying, owning, and carrying a firearm.
Can I Carry a Concealed Firearm in Florida?
The short answer is no. It is unlawful and a third-degree felony to carry a concealed firearm in Florida, but it is possible to concealed carry in Florida once a permit to do so has been obtained through the licensing process. There are, however, quite a few restrictions and regulations that you must comply with in order to legally carry. First, you need to go through the necessary training, and then obtain a concealed carry license.
Are There Any Restrictions on Where I Can Carry My Firearm?
Yes, even with a permit, there are a variety of restrictions on where you can carry a firearm. The following are some of the most common, though this is not a complete list by any means (you should be provided a full list in your concealed carry class; if you don't get one, ask for one):
- Police departments
- Detention facilities
- Polling places
- Athletic events
- Career centers
- Any establishment that has the main purpose of serving alcoholic beverages
- Places of legislative or committee meetings
Can I Carry a Firearm Openly?
No. Though many states are passing”open carry” laws in the wake of the U. S. Supreme Court's 2008 Heller case, which found an individual right to bear arms in the U. S. Constitution's Second Amendment, Florida has not gone this far. The law does state, however, that you can “briefly and openly” display your firearm in certain cases. This would include if you wanted to show it to a friend, or if you needed to display it for self-defense. Exceptions are also made if you are traveling to or from lawful target shooting or outdoor expeditions like camping, hunting, and fishing. The regulations covering this topic are quite specific, so you should be sure to ask your concealed carry instructor any questions you have, or contact a Florida firearms attorney.
Are There Requirements on How I Must Store My Gun in My Vehicle?
Yes. Florida law allows a firearm to be carried even without a concealed carry permit while within a vehicle (private conveyance) if the weapon is “securely encased” and not readily available for immediate use. This means the weapon must be in a bag, holster, or glove compartment that has a clasp, zipper or door that must be opened before use. A briefcase, a velcro bag, a holster with a with a closed snap, and a box with a lid all comply. A simple holster without a snap is not “securely encased.”
If I have a Concealed Carry Permit in Florida, can I carry in other states?
Many states in the US have what are called “reciprocity” agreements, which simply means they will honor your gun license from your state in their state. It is important to remember that just because your license may be valid, it is your responsibility to learn and follow that state's specific gun laws. More than half of the states in the union honor Florida gun licenses, so it is easier to have a list of states that do NOT honor your permits. These states are:
- District of Columbia
- New Jersey
- New York
- Rhode Island
NOTE: This list is current to December 2017. The gun laws in these states could change, so if you are planning a trip, it is a good idea to check with the Florida Division of Licensing to be sure.
Don't Hesitate to Get Help
Malcolm Anthony is a member of the United States Concealed Carry Association (USCCA) Attorney Network. He has provided legal assistance to hundreds of good folks charged with gun violations Florida. If you are ever having any legal issues with firearms, or if you have been charged with any type of firearm-related offense, you need to have an experienced gun law attorney fighting for you. Contact Attorney Malcolm Anthony to go over the details of your case, and see how we can help.