Concealed Firearm Laws
Although a license or permit is not required to purchase a gun in Florida, there are restrictions on carrying firearms in public. While open carry is generally prohibited, concealed firearm carry is permitted in most places, but only with a concealed weapons license. Carrying a concealed firearm without a license or in a prohibited area may result in state and/or federal criminal charges. At Blake & Dorsten, P.A., we understand that mistakes may happen, particularly for those who lawfully own firearms. Our St. Petersburg attorneys can navigate you through federal and Florida concealed firearm laws and provide criminal defense representation when needed.Florida Concealed Firearm Laws
Concealed firearm carry means having a gun on or around your person while you are in public. Concealed carry does not include carrying or storing a firearm in a vehicle for lawful purposes. In Florida, concealed firearm carry is legal for residents with a concealed weapons license issued by the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, and for non-residents with a concealed carry license issued by a state with reciprocity in Florida.
A Florida concealed weapons license allows holders of the license to carry not only a handgun, but also other weapons such as knives, tasers, and billy clubs. Individuals may obtain a concealed weapons license if they are otherwise eligible to possess a gun, at least 21 years old, currently reside in the United States, and are a U.S. citizen or permanent resident alien. Non-military applicants must also demonstrate competency with a firearm by completing a training course. Once issued, a concealed weapons license has a term of seven years before it must be renewed. A criminal defense attorney can explain the requirements to lawfully possess and carry a concealed firearm in detail.Concealed Firearm Crimes
Carrying a concealed firearm in Florida without a valid concealed weapons license is a felony offense. An unlicensed person found with a concealed gun on their person may be arrested and charged with a third degree felony. Penalties for an unlicensed concealed firearm conviction may include a prison sentence of up to five years, probation, and a fine. However, there are exceptions to unlicensed concealed carry of a firearm. For example, a person who is allowed to possess a firearm may lawfully carry a concealed firearm, without a license, while under a mandatory evacuation order issued during a state of emergency.
Even with a valid concealed weapons license, a person is not authorized to carry a firearm in certain places under Florida and federal laws. Prohibited sites include police and highway patrol stations, detention facilities and prisons, courthouses, school buildings and events, bars (including hotel bars and restaurant bars), government meetings, as well as other areas specified under Florida and federal laws. Concealed firearms are also prohibited inside airport terminals, unless they are properly encased within your checked baggage. A person who knowingly and willfully carries a concealed firearm into one of these places may be charged with a second degree misdemeanor.
It is also important to note that having a concealed weapons license does not shield you from additional charges arising from a gun-related crime. Carrying a concealed firearm during the commission of a felony offense, even when you have a valid license, is a third degree felony. A licensed individual will face charges for the underlying offense, as well as committing a crime with a concealed gun.Speak with a Concealed Firearms Attorney in St. Petersburg
If you have questions about Florida concealed weapons laws, or if you are facing charges for possessing a concealed firearm, a qualified defense attorney can help. At Blake & Dorsten, P.A., our St. Petersburg firearms and weapons offenses lawyers represent people who have been arrested for weapons and gun-related crimes such as armed robbery and aggravated assault. We serve locations throughout Pinellas County, including Tampa Bay, Clearwater, and St. Petersburg. Schedule a free legal consultation by calling our office at 727-286-6141 or contacting Blake & Dorsten online.