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Carrying a Concealed Firearm under Florida Law

Under Florida law, it is a felony to carry a concealed firearm without a properly issued concealed weapon and firearm license. The offense of carrying a concealed firearm is a third degree felony punishable by a maximum of five years incarceration and a $5,000 fine.

If you have been arrested for this serious offense, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at the Sammis Law Firm to discuss your arrest for carrying a concealed firearm. We defend gun owners on a variety of weapon charges throughout the Tampa Bay area including Tampa and Plant City in Hillsborough County, New Port Richey and Dade City in Pasco County, Brooksville in Hernando County, and St. Petersburg and Clearwater in Pinellas County.

Affirmative Defense - Concealed Weapons Permit

It is an affirmative defense to the charge of carrying a concealed firearm under Florida law if the individual has complied with the provisions of Florida Statute Section 790.06 related to a concealed weapons permit. This affirmative defense does not apply if the license holder receives notice of suspension of the concealed weapon or firearm license.

Carrying the Firearm Must be Knowingly

Furthermore, in many of these cases an issue exists as to whether the person accused of the crime actually knew that he was carrying a weapon or firearm, especially when the item is in luggage or a vehicle.

In fact, many arrests occur at Tampa International Airport when the firearm or other weapon is found in carry-on luggage under circumstances that indicate the individual did NOT know that the firearm or weapon was in the carry-on luggage. Nevertheless, law enforcement will typically make an arrest in such cases.

The Firearm Must be "Readily Accessible"

The Florida Supreme Court defined the term “on or about the person” to mean “physically on the person or readily accessible to him.” If the firearm is found by law enforcement in a vehicle, the issue often becomes whether the firearm is “on or about the person or readily accessible.”

Defense if Carried in a Vehicle While "Securely Encased"

Additionally, Florida Statute Section 790.25(5) provides a defense for carrying a firearm in a private conveyance if the weapon or firearm is "securely encased" and being carried for a lawful use. In fact, the Florida legislature determined that this subsection shall be liberally construed in favor of the lawful possession, ownership, and use of a firearm or other weapon, including for self-defense purposes.

Enhanced Penalties for Carrying a Concealed Firearm on School Grounds

Pursuant to Florida Statute Section 790.115(2)(a), it is a felony to possess a firearm on the grounds of any school.

The Right to Bear Arms Provided by the Florida Constitution

Article I, section 8(a) of the Florida Constitution, consistent with the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution, provides that the right of the people to keep and bear arms in defense of themselves and of the lawful authority of the State shall not be infringed, except that the manner of bearing arms may be regulated by law.??

Firearms and weapons are regulated by Florida Statutes Chapter 790. Florida Statute Section 790.01(2), provides: 

A person who carries a concealed firearm on or about his or her person commits a felony of the third degree....”

Florida Statute Section 790.25, regulates the lawful possession, use and ownershipof firearms and other weapons listed in (1) the following Declaration of Policy:

The Legislature finds as a matter of public policy and fact that it is necessary to promote firearms safety and to curb and prevent the use of firearms and other weapons in crime and by incompetent persons without prohibiting the lawful use in defense of life, home, and property, and the use by United States or state military organizations, and as otherwise now authorized by law, including the right to use and own firearms for target practice and marksmanship on target practice ranges or other lawful places, and lawful hunting and other lawful purposes.????

Unauthorized use of a firearm is provided in Florida Statute Section (2)(a) which provides: 

This section does not authorize carrying a concealed weapon without a permit, as prohibited by §§ 790.01 and 790.02.

Lawful use of a firearm is defined in subsection (3) which provides: 

The provisions of ss. 790.053 and 790.06 do not apply in the following instances, and, despite such sections, it is lawful for the following persons to own, possess, and lawfully use firearms and other weapons, ammunition, and supplies for lawful purposes:??

(a) Members of the Militia, National Guard, ... when on duty, when training ...;

(b) Citizens of this state subject to duty in the Armed Forces ... when on duty or when training ...;

(c) Persons carrying out or training for emergency management duties under chapter 252;

(d) Sheriffs, marshals, prison or jail wardens, police offices, Florida highway patrol officers, game wardens...

(n) A person possessing arms at his or her home or place of business.

Possession of a Firearm in the Home or Place of Business

In many of these cases, it can be asserted that under subsection (3)(n) the possession is lawful because it occurs in the individual's place of business even when the individual does not possess a concealed weapons permit under Florida law. The courts have found that the “place of business” language of subsection (3)(n) is simple and straight-forward.

Choosing an Attorney for a Carrying a Concealed Firearm Charge

If you have been arrested for carrying a concealed weapon, then contact an experienced Florida criminal defense attorney for any case in Tampa or Plant City in Hillsborough County, Bartow in Polk County, St. Petersburg or Clearwater in Pinellas County, New Port Richey or Dade City in Pasco County, Florida. Call 813-250-0500 today.