There are no open carry laws in Florida. Don’t expect to be allowed to carry your rifle into a MacDonald’s the way gun activists have elsewhere. If you’re carrying in the open, you’re breaking the law. There are, however, a few very specific exceptions:
You can openly carry in Florida when you are legally:
- Engaged in target practice at a designated shooting range.
With these activities, you may have your gun while you are engaged in that activity or when you are going to and from said activity.
In Florida, you may qualify for a CWL, a concealed weapon license. This license allows you to carry in public, as long as the weapon is out of sight. Be careful with where you place the firearm. It may be under your jacket, but if it can be seen by anyone who looks at you, authorities can make the argument that it isn’t concealed.
Citizens with a CWL can carry other weapons, too, including:
- Electronic weapons like tasers
- Tear gas weapons
- Billie clubs
If you have a CWL in Florida, you may be able to conceal carry in other states as well. Many states have entered a reciprocity agreement. With this agreement, states agree to honor one another’s CWLs. The other state may even have a completely different name for it than a “concealed weapon license.” Check your license and paperwork to see where else you may carry, and you can check an online map here.
To qualify for a CWL, you must be at least 21 years old, and you must pass a firearms training course. Current and former (with honorable discharge) military members may also obtain a CWL.
Carrying in Your Car
The state recognizes that, even though you’re not carrying your gun around in public, you still need to be able to transport it from place to place. Even without a permit, you may have a gun in your car. The caveat is that it must be secure and hard to access, no stuffing it between seats. The best way to do this is by putting it in a locked container in the trunk. You might be able to get away with putting it in the glove box, but even then, it should be holstered. This, however, is not recommended. The more barriers you put between yourself and the weapon, the easier it will be to explain if you get pulled over. If you do happen to get pulled over, for any reason, immediately tell the officer you have a gun. Tell them exactly where it is and how it is contained – in a box, holster, etc.
If the gun is on your person, it must be concealed, and you must have a CWL. Anything else will be considered an illegal carry. Again, tell officers up front the details of where it is, and show them the CWL.
When to Talk to a Lawyer
If you’ve been arrested for illegally carrying a firearm, talk to a lawyer today. Depending on your circumstances, the charge could be a misdemeanor with up to a year in jail; or it could be a felony punishable by prison time. You need a skilled, aggressive attorney who is willing to defend your freedom in court.
If you have questions or concerns about carrying a firearm in Florida, we can help. For a free consultation, call (305) 928-1669 or contact us online.