In Florida, it is generally illegal to openly carry a weapon. However, a person may openly carry, for legal self defense purposes, a self defense chemical spray, non-lethal stun gun, dart-firing stun gun or other non-lethal electric weapon designed for defensive purposes only. Even if a person does not possess a “Carry Permit” (CWFL), there are some places a person may possess a firearm. These places include:
- A private motor vehicle if the firearm is securely encased.
- A public mode of travel if the firearm is securely encased and not in an individual’s manual possession.
- A person’s residence or place of business.
- A person engaged in fishing, camping, or hunting, including going to or returning from fishing, camping, or hunting.If storing a loaded weapon in the home, it must be in a locked container or secured with a trigger lock if there is reason to know that a child under 16 may gain access to the firearm.
The “Open Carry” law is being debate in the Florida Legislature and is likely to become law in the near future.
Florida is unusual in that it allows many concealed weapons, not just handguns, to be legally carried with a license. Florida defines “concealed weapons” as handguns, electronic weapons or devices, tear gas guns, knives, and billie clubs. If a person is in possession of a concealed weapon, they must produce their concealed weapons license along with another valid identification upon the demand of a police officer.
Further, even with a CWFL these weapons may not be carried concealed in the following places, pursuant to Section 790.06(12)(a), Florida Statutes:
- A place of nuisance. Florida defines “a place of nuisance” as any place that annoys the community, injures the health of the community, or is injurious to the manners or morals of the people. These types of locations include, but are not limited to, places of prostitution, assignation (an outdated term for a place used for secret meetings), a place of lewdness, places used for illegal gambling purposes, or places deemed to have criminal gangs and activity.
- Any police, sheriff, or highway patrol station, detention facility, jail, or prison.
- Any courthouse or courtroom except that a judge may carry and determine who may carry within his or her courtroom.
- Any polling place.
- Any meeting of the governing body of a county, public school district, municipality, special district or meeting of the Legislature or a Legislative Committee.
- Any public or private school, college, or professional athletic event not relating to firearms. This includes a school sponsored event, the property of any school, school bus, or school bus stop. However, a person may carry a firearm on school property if: it is carried in a case for the purposes of attending a firearms program or class that has been approved in advanced by the principle or chief administrative officer of the school, or in a vehicle if it is securely encased and not readily accessible for immediate use. School districts may waive this exception for purposes of student and campus parking.
- Any public or private preschool, elementary, or secondary school and their administrative buildings.
- Any career center. However, a person may carry inside a career center if attending a firearms training program.
- Any college or university facility unless the CWFL holder is a registered student, employee, or faculty member of the college or university and the weapon is a stun gun, nonlethal electric weapon, or device designed solely for defensive purpose and the weapon does not fire a dart or projectile.
- Any portion of an establishment licensed to dispense alcoholic beverages for consumption on the premises, which portion of the establishment is primarily devoted to such purpose. However a concealed weapons carrier should stay out of portions of that business where the service of alcohol is the primary function, i.e., the bar area of a restaurant.
- The inside of a passenger terminal both outside and inside the secured areas of any airport, provided that no person shall be prohibited from carrying any legal firearm into the terminal that is encased for shipment purposes and checked as baggage to be lawfully transported on an aircraft.
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