Concealed Carry Laws in Florida

March 22, 2015

The Florida House Criminal Justice Committee recently approved HB 4005, a proposal to permit the concealed carry of firearms on college campuses. Lawmakers began reconsidering the ban after a November shooting at Florida State University. However, the bill is likely to face opposition in the Senate. Florida is one of twenty states with a ban on concealed firearms on college campuses. Seven states expressly allow concealed weapons on campus, and the rest allow the individual universities and colleges to make the decision.

Concealed Carry Permits

In Florida, though the open carry of firearms is generally prohibited, residents may obtain concealed carry licenses. To obtain a concealed carry permit, an applicant must:

  • Be a citizen or permanent resident of the U.S.,
  • Be at least twenty one years old,
  • Not have a disability preventing the safe handling of a firearm,
  • Not have been convicted of a felony,
  • Not have any controlled substances convictions for the past three years,
  • Not have drug or alcohol abuse problems,
  • Desire to carry the concealed weapon for self-defense only,
  • Demonstrate competence with a firearm in one of several listed ways, such as completing an approved firearms safety course or having military experience,
  • Not have been adjudicated incapacitated,
  • Not have been committed to a mental institution, unless the applicant can produce a certificate stating that he or she has been free of disability for the past five years,
  • Not have been sentenced for any domestic violence crime unless at least three years have passed since the completion of any sentence or probation,
  • Have not been issued an injunction against committing domestic or other violence, and
  • Not be prohibited from possessing a firearm by any other Florida or federal law.

In addition to fulfilling these qualifications, there is a license fee. Concealed carry permits in Florida are valid for seven years. Additionally, concealed carry permit holders may avoid the three-day waiting period for purchasing a firearm in Florida.

Limitations

Florida does not allow the holders of concealed carry licenses to carry their weapons in all places, however. Florida law specifies several locations in which weapons may not be carried, even with a concealed carry permit:

  • Any “place of nuisance,” such as a house of prostitution or a casino,
  • Any police station,
  • Any prison or jail,
  • Any courthouse or courtroom, unless the judge permits it,
  • Any polling place,
  • The meeting place of any county, school board, municipality, or special district governmental body,
  • Any meeting place of the legislature,
  • Any school, college, or professional athletic event,
  • Any elementary or secondary school building,
  • Any career center,
  • Any establishment that, as its main purpose, serves alcohol, e.g. a bar or pub, including the bar portion of a restaurant,
  • Any college or university,
  • Any airport, unless the firearm is encased in baggage to be checked, or
  • Any place where federal law prohibits the carrying of firearms.

Penalties

The penalties for carrying concealed weapons without a license depend upon the type of weapon carried. Carrying a concealed weapon or electric weapon without a license is a first degree misdemeanor in Florida. First degree misdemeanors are punishable by any combination of:

However, if the concealed weapon is a firearm, the consequences are more serious. Carrying a concealed firearm without a license is a third degree felony, and is punishable by any combination of the following:

Additionally, felony offenders are subject to Florida’s three strikes law and sentence enhancements for violent offenders.

The consequences of a firearms violation, both statutory and societal, can be very severe and far-reaching. If you have been arrested for or charged with a firearms offense, please contact West Palm Beach criminal defense attorney William Wallshein for a free initial consultation.