Understanding Florida's Concealed Carry Laws
Applying for a license to carry a concealed weapon or firearm for self-defense is a right of law-abiding Floridians. A license to carry a weapon or firearm concealed on your person does not authorize you to use that weapon. Use of a concealed weapon or firearm is regulated by Florida law.
Section 790.06 (1), Florida Statutes, defines concealed weapons or firearms as those carried in a manner that conceals them from the ordinary sight of another person. This includes handguns, electronic weapons or devices, tear gas guns, knives and billies.
To carry a concealed firearm is to take on an immense responsibility. It is very important to understand that a license to carry a concealed weapon does not give the license holder discretionary authority to use that weapon. The majority of people will never find it necessary to use your weapon in self-defense; however, if circumstances require it, you should know that the law will protect you only if your actions in using deadly force have been consistent with the law.
Firearms regulations are uniform throughout Florida, and a carry license is valid everywhere other than in a few specially-defined areas.
The following is a simplified list of places where you are restricted from carrying a weapon or firearm even if you have a license. Locations marked by an asterisk (*) may have exceptions or additional restrictions.
- any place of nuisance as defined in s. 823.05
- any police, sheriff, or highway patrol station
- any detention facility, prison, or jail; any courthouse
- any courtroom*
- 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 committee thereof
- 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
Vehicle carry without a license is permitted with the following restrictions:
- Handguns – must be either "securely encased" or not immediately available for use. "Securely encased" means in a glove compartment, whether or not locked; snapped in a holster; in a gun case, whether or not locked; in a zippered gun case; or in a closed box or container which requires a lid or cover to be opened for access. Carry of a Handgun on one's person inside a vehicle without a license is not permitted (except in the case of open carry in accordance with the law outlined above). Once a handgun is securely encased, it can be stored anywhere inside the vehicle and is not limited to just the glove compartment/center console.
- Long Guns – a legal firearm other than a handgun may be anywhere in a private conveyance when such firearm is being carried for a lawful use
It is also important for license holders to understand that when they are traveling in or through another state they are subject to the firearm laws of that state.
Anyone lawfully carrying a firearm in a concealed manner, may briefly and openly display the firearm to the ordinary sight of another person, unless the firearm is intentionally displayed in an angry or threatening manner, not in necessary self-defense. Carrying or displaying a weapon inconsistent with the law opens the door for an arrest and subsequent criminal weapons charge.
If you have been charged with a criminal firearm offense or crime involving a weapon in Florida, contact a Canan Law attorney today. We are available 24/7 to answer any questions and assist you in preparing the best possible defense.