Florida Passes Bill Approving Concealed Carry without Permit

The Florida Senate approved Thursday what the House approved the week before: People in Florida will soon be able to carry concealed weapons and firearms without background checks, training or a concealed license at all. Gov. Ron DeSantis is expected to sign it into law.

So what does that mean? Can you conceal a gun and carry it everywhere? Do you still need a license? What happens if someone sees it? What about carrying it openly?

The Supreme Court has already ruled numerous times that the right to bear arms is fundamental. Permit schemes are seen by many as unconstitutional and subject to the corrupt process of the government court system.

 

What does Florida’s concealed carry bill do?

According to Florida law, to be considered concealed weapons must be hidden from 'the ordinary sight of another person.'

The bills SB150/HB543 eliminate the need for a concealed weapons license, which required a mandatory background check and a firearms training course, before you can carry hidden weapons or firearms on your person or in a vehicle in Florida, provided you still meet other gun ownership requirements.

The bill also adds private schools to the list of educational facilities that can ask the local sheriff for help establishing a guardian program, requires law enforcement agencies to develop an active assailant response policy, requires the Office of Safe Schools to develop a behavioral threat management operational process and develop a threat management portal, authorizes the state Department of Education to adopt emergency rules, requires the Department of Education to establish the Florida Safe Schools Canine Program, and more.

Does the concealed weapons bill change who can buy a firearm?

No, the same rules apply. You must be a resident 21 or older unless you are a law enforcement or corrections officer or are in military service. There are restrictions on gun ownership for people convicted of a felony, dishonorably discharged, adjudicated mentally defective or involuntarily committed to treatment, convicted of a domestic violence misdemeanor or other conditions recognized by the state.

Can I conceal any weapon I want?

Any weapon you are allowed to own in Florida. Machine guns, or fully automatic weapons are still prohibited, as are short-barreled rifles and “destructive devices” such as bombs, grenades, or similar devices “containing an explosive, incendiary, or poison gas.”

Is open carry, permitless carry or “constitutional carry” legal in Florida?

No.

Openly carrying a gun is illegal in Florida. It’s a second-degree misdemeanor with a $500 fine or a maximum of 60 days in jail, with exemptions for law enforcement, corrections officers, game wardens, forest officials, military, guards, members of firearms clubs while at gatherings or traveling to and from them, people on firing ranges, people who manufacture firearms while they’re on the job, and anyone “engaged in fishing, camping, or lawful hunting or going to or returning from a fishing, camping, or lawful hunting expedition,” according to Florida Statute 790.25, which has led to some Second Amendment supporters organizing gatherings of armed fishermen in highly public places.

Apart from that, Florida is one of only five states that do not allow guns to be carried visibly, even for those holding licenses, according to U.S. Concealed Carry. (State law provides exceptions for legal hunters.)

A quick primer:

What does open carry mean?

Open carry” means you can publicly carry a legally owned firearm that is kept in plain sight or partially concealed, usually holstered. Some states require a separate permit or license for this, most do not. Three states — California, Illinois and Florida — currently ban open carry.

What does concealed carry mean?

Concealed carry” means you can publicly carry a legally owned firearm that is hidden from view. Concealed carry is currently legal in all 50 states but some states, including Florida before this bill, require special training and a license before it is allowed.

Permitless carry” or “constitutional carry” allows both, without permits, licensing or training.

What does ‘constitutional carry’ mean?And how would it change gun laws in Florida?

Florida Legislature ‘will get it done’:Governor DeSantis says Florida Legislature will pass ‘constitutional carry’ gun law

Momentum is building for permit-free gun carry in Florida. Does that mean open carry, too?

When does the concealed carry bill take effect in Florida?

The approved bill next goes to DeSantis to sign, and he has already signaled that he will. Once that happens the law should go into effect.

Do I still need a license to carry a concealed weapon in Florida?

No. But you must carry valid identification at all times you are carrying a concealed weapon, which a law enforcement officer may ask to see at any time. Violation of this means a $25 fine.

Carrying a concealed firearm if you are prohibited from owning a firearm is a third-degree felony.

Will I need a concealed weapons license to conceal carry a gun outside of Florida?

If wherever you’re going requires them, yes. Florida’s concealed weapons permitting, no longer required here under the bill, would continue for residents who may want permits to allow them to carry their concealed weapons to other states under reciprocity agreements.

Do I need a license to buy a gun in Florida?

Florida does not require a permit or license to buy a gun and does not require registration.

There is no limit on the number of firearms you can own or buy in a single transaction. Background checks are required and there is a three-day waiting period, although individual counties and cities may extend them up to five days.

Florida firearms:What you need to know about buying a gun in Florida

What happens if my concealed weapon is briefly exposed?

According to the bill it’s OK to “briefly and openly display the firearm to the ordinary sight of another person, unless the firearm is intentionally displayed in an angry or threatening manner, not in necessary self-defense.”

Showing it off quickly is OK, brandishing it or threatening someone with it when it’s not necessary for self-defense is not and is also a third-degree felony.

Can I carry a concealed weapon anywhere in Florida?

No. The bill spells out a lengthy list of places where open and concealed weapons are restricted:

  • Any place of nuisance as defined in s. 823.05 (sort of an open term that includes places that endanger the health of the community, become “manifestly injurious to the morals or manners” of the community, or “annoy the community” such as prostitution dens, illegal gambling halls, specified massage parlors and anywhere criminal gang activity happens
  • Any police, sheriff, or highway patrol station
  • Any detention facility, prison, or jail
  • Any courthouse
  • Any courtroom (although judges can carry concealed weapons or determine if someone else can)
  • Any polling place
  • Any meeting of the governing body of a county, public school district, municipality, or special district
  • Any meeting of the Legislature or a committee thereof
  • Any school, college, or professional athletic event not related to firearms
  • Any elementary or secondary school facility or administration building
  • Any career center
  • Anywhere in an establishment primarily devoted to dispensing alcoholic beverages for consumption on the premises
  • Any college or university facility unless the licensee is a registered student, employee, or faculty member there and the weapon is a stun gun or nonlethal electric weapon or device designed solely for defensive purposes and doesn’t fire a dart or projectile
  • The inside of the passenger terminal and sterile area of any airport, unless it’s encased for shipment to be checked as baggage
  • Any place where the carrying of firearms is prohibited by federal law

What if I don’t live in Florida and want to conceal carry? Does Florida have reciprocity?

Yes. Non-residents may carry concealed weapons or firearms provided they are 21 or older and not prevented by Florida law to possess them for any other reason. The age requirement doesn’t apply to servicemembers or veterans.

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