While in most cases it is lawful to own and possess a firearm, the concealed carry laws in Florida address the different rules for carrying a gun in the Sunshine State. These laws establish that, even though people have the right to own a gun, they need a permit to carry a concealed weapon.
If you are carrying a concealed gun without a license, you might face criminal charges that could result in imprisonment and stiff fines. Given that these charges could have a negative impact on your life, below you will find more information about Florida concealed carry laws.
What is Concealed Carry Charge in Florida?
In Florida, unlicensed concealed carry occurs when a non-authorized person carries on or about himself or herself any deadly weapon in a way that is hidden or not visible to others. Depending on the type of weapon, a concealed weapon charge is classified as a 1st-degree misdemeanor or a 3rd-degree felony.
Although in Florida citizens are allowed to possess a gun, only authorized people can carry a concealed weapon. In other words, if you do not have a license or fall into one of the lawful uses established by the Florida Statute § 790.25(3), you cannot carry a gun out in the open or a concealed weapon.
As established before, concealed means that the weapon that you are carrying is hidden from people’s sight. Examples of this might include that the person is keeping the gun under his or her clothing or at an angle that is not visible to others.
If you do not have a CCW license, carrying a concealed weapon is considered a breach of peace. Thus, you could be arrested and face criminal charges. When it comes to concealed carry offenses, depending on the type of weapon involved, Florida has two different types of charges:
- Concealed weapon: these deadly weapons include dirks, tear gas guns, chemical weapons, billie, knives and metallic knuckles.
- Concealed firearm: might include any starter guns, machine guns, and antique firearms that are used to commit a crime.
If law enforcement has arrested you for carrying a concealed weapon without a license, you might need legal representation. Contact our St. Petersburg criminal defense attorneys to schedule a free consultation.
Can I Carry a Gun Without a Concealed Weapons Permit in Florida?
Although in Florida people do not need a permit to buy or own a gun, they do need a concealed weapon permit to carry a concealed weapon. However, there are some lawful situations when you can carry a gun without this permit. Some of these situations include:
- Having the gun in your home or place of business
- Being engaged or returning from hunting, fishing, camping
- Firing a weapon for testing or target practice under safe conditions
- Traveling in a private transport with the gun securely encased
- Carrying an unloaded gun from the place of purchase to your home or business
- Being an investigator employed by the public defenders of the state
- Being part of law enforcement
- Working in a lawful business that deals, manufactures, services or repairs guns
To put it in simple terms, people can carry a gun without having a concealed weapon permit as long as such weapon is in the interior of a private conveyance, is securely encased, or is not accessible for immediate use.
Even though Floridians do not need a license to possess a weapon, if you are a convicted felon or your ownership rights were revoked for some reason, you are not allowed to buy, own, possess, or carry a gun.
Florida Concealed Carry Prohibited Places
According to Florida Statute § 790.06 (12), even if you have a permit, there are some places where you are not allowed to openly carry a gun or a concealed weapon. Some of these places include the following:
- Courthouses and courtrooms
- Schools, colleges or career centers
- Detention centers, jails or prisons
- Establishments licensed to dispense alcoholic beverages
- Polling places
- A place of nuisance
- Federal facilities
- Airport terminals
If the prosecution can provide substantial evidence that you willfully carry a gun into these places, you could be charged with a second-degree misdemeanor even if you had a valid permit.
Concealed Carry Penalties in Florida
In Florida, carrying a concealed weapon without a permit is considered a breach of peace. So, if arrested, a person can face a first-degree misdemeanor or a third-degree felony depending on the type of weapon involved in the offense.
If you are accused of carrying a concealed weapon, you could face a first-degree misdemeanor charge. As a result, if you are found guilty, your penalties might include up to one year in jail and a maximum fine of $1,000.
On the other hand, carrying a concealed firearm is considered a third-degree felony which is punishable by up to five years in prison or probation and a fine of up to $5,000. The penalties for concealed carrying can be harsher for convicted felons.
In other words, if you are accused of carrying a concealed weapon or firearm without a permit and you have a felony on your record, you could be charged with a second-degree felony. If convicted, you could face up to fifteen years of imprisonment and a maximum fine of $10,000.
Contact a Criminal Defense Attorney
Even though you are allowed to buy and own a gun, Florida law establishes that you need a license to carry your weapon out in the open or in a concealed manner. If you fail to obey this law, you might face severe criminal charges and penalties.
Goldman Wetzel is a criminal defense law firm that provides legal representation to individuals facing criminal charges in St. Petersburg, Tampa, Bradenton, Clearwater, Sarasota, Manatee, Polk, Pinellas, and Hillsborough counties.
If you have been charged with a gun crime, the Goldman Wetzel attorneys can help you prepare a strong defense for your case. Send us a message or call us at (727) 828-3900 to schedule a free consultation.