The State of Florida allows its residents to own and possess firearms. However, this does not mean that there are no restrictions for the lawful possession of firearms. Therefore, if you are a weapon owner, or plan on getting one, you need to have a thorough understanding of the fundamental laws relating to firearm ownership in Florida. Knowing what the laws are and planning will help you avoid a situation where carrying of firearm or weapon may land you on the wrong side of the law.
Legal Firearm ownership (where no concealed firearm license is required)
In Florida, the legal possession of firearms and weapons is governed by Florida Statute §790.25. It allows the utilization or ownership of guns under a few circumstances. The important ones are listed below:
An individual shooting weapons for testing or target practice under secure conditions and in location designed and approved for that purpose.
Transport in a motor vehicle to and from a location for target shooting and/or hunting and fishing.
An individual who is fishing or hunting outdoors or traveling to or coming back from these activities.
The list above is not exhaustive. There are a few more situations which are not widely known where a person can carry a weapon without having a licence of a concealed firearm. An example would be for national guard members and law enforcement personnel who are traveling to and from official duties.
Requirements to obtain a conceal weapon license
It is a criminal offense in Florida to carry a firearm without a licence other than the circumstances as prescribed under the Florida Statute §790.06. The penalties for carrying a weapon of firearm without a license can be punished as either a felony or a misdemeanor. Therefore, obtaining a concealed weapon permit is mandatory. In Florida the Department of Agriculture is responsible for issuing concealed weapon permits.
The requirements for a person to apply for a licence are that she or he:
Is 21 years old or above.
Has never been convicted of a criminal offense.
Is a United States citizen.
Some possible reasons for ineligibility include:
The physical inability to handle a firearm safely.
A felony conviction (unless civil and firearm rights have been restored by the convicting authority).
Having adjudication withheld or sentence suspended on a felony or misdemeanor crime of violence unless three years have elapsed since probation or other conditions set by the court have been fulfilled.
A conviction for a misdemeanor crime of violence in the last three years.
A conviction for violation of controlled substance laws or multiple arrests for such offenses.
A record of drug or alcohol abuse.
Two or more DUI convictions within the previous three years.
Being committed to a mental institution or adjudged incompetent or mentally defective.
Failing to provide proof of proficiency with a firearm.
Having been issued a domestic violence injunction or an injunction against repeat violence that is currently in force.
Renouncement of U.S. citizenship.
A dishonorable discharge from the armed forces.
Being a fugitive from justice.
As of this date, 36 states honor Florida's concealed weapon permit. Those states are:
Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, Wyoming.
Restrictions of the Florida concealed weapon permit
The following is a list of places where you are restricted from carrying a weapon or firearm even if you have a license. Please note that this is a simplified list. See Section §790.06(12), Florida Statutes for a complete listing.
Any police, sheriff's office or highway patrol station.
Any detention facility, prison or jail.
Any polling place.
Any meeting of the governing body of a county, public school district, municipality or special district.
Any meeting of the Legislature or a legislative committee.
Any school, college or professional athletic event not related to firearms.
Any school administration building.
Any portion of an establishment licensed to dispense alcoholic beverages for consumption.
Any elementary or secondary school facility.
Any area technical center.
Any college or university facility.
Inside the passenger terminal and sterile area of any airport.
Any place where the carrying of firearms is prohibited by federal law.
Generally, open carry of a weapon is prohibited in Florida. Exceptions include in the home, place of work, hunting, fishing, camping, or while practice shooting and while traveling to and from those activities.
You should know the laws that pertain to weapon and firearm possession in Florida. Hopefully, this post has explained the basics. If you have additional questions, please contact me. I am available anytime, day or night, to help you with your criminal case.