Slungshot Legalization Makes Headway in Florida

April 7, 2015

In Florida, the rise in popularity of the slungshot has made the legislature reconsider the law making it illegal to carry concealed slungshots. A slungshot is a length of rope, the end of which is knotted over a weight such as a steel ball or rock. Traditionally, sailors used them to help toss lines, but in the 1800s, the slungshot became a popular weapon among street gangs. The manufacture and carrying of slungshots as a concealed weapon was outlawed in Florida in 1868, and the prohibition has continued until today.

The Bill

The Senate Criminal Justice subcommittee recently unanimously approved a bill sponsored by Sen. Alan Hays, R-Umatilla, SB 1000, which would legalize the slungshot. It would revise the definition of “concealed weapon,” omitting the slungshot from its terms. The bill would no longer prohibit the manufacture or sale of a slungshot. It would also make it legal for an arms dealer to sell or transfer a slungshot to a minor.

In explaining the bill to the subcommittee, Sen. Hays said that the weapon is becoming more popular. He noted that many women carry slungshots in their purses for self-defense reasons, but that doing so is illegal, because the slungshot is classified as a concealed weapon. Rep. Neil Combee, R-Polk City, who filed the House version of the bill, said that he filed it because “there’s a lady here in town who’s been making these things and giving them away as keychains.”

The bill faces several more committees before it would be signed into law. A similar bill, CS/HB 4023, has been filed in the house and is currently going through House committees.

Current Law

Currently, the definition of “concealed weapon” includes dirks, metallic knuckles, slungshots, billies, tear gas guns, chemical weapons, and any other deadly weapons carried on or about the person so as to conceal the weapon from another’s sight. In Florida, carrying a concealed weapon without a license is a first degree misdemeanor, and is punishable by any combination of:

  • Imprisonment of up to one year,
  • Up to six months probation, and
  • A fine of up to $1,000.

Florida law also provides that the manufacture or sale of metallic knuckles or slungshots is a second degree misdemeanor. Second degree misdemeanors are punishable by any combination of the following:

It is a second degree felony for a dealer to transfer slungshots, firearms, bowie or dirk knives, brass knuckles, and electric weapons or devices, to minors. Florida law punishes second degree felonies by any combination of:

If the bill passes, wrongfully using slungshots could, of course, still constitute criminal action, though the mere possession would not be a criminal act, just as hitting someone with a brick could bring criminal charges, though a brick is not classified as a concealed weapon.

Weapons charges can bring serious consequences, both legally and in the social and economic realms. If you have been arrested for or charged with a weapons offense, please contact West Palm Beach criminal defense attorney William Wallshein for a free initial consultation.