If you’re a gun owner, Florida is a good place to live. That’s not a remark on our personal weapons opinion, but on the leniency of Florida gun laws.
If you’re not a gun owner but want to be, Florida is also a good place for you. We’ll explore the big yes’s and no’s in Florida Gun law and recent changes following the Parkland massacre.
Read on to learn about gun laws, their penalties, and recent changes.
Law #1: Gun Permits
If you’re planning on using your gun for hunting or recreation (not open/concealed carry) you don’t need a permit. The requirements to buy a gun in Florida are that
You’re 18 (or 21 depending on type)
You have a valid ID
Florida is unique in that there are different regulations for different guns. Like it’s notated above, handguns and long guns have different rules than a rifle or a shotgun.
To clarify, you will need a permit for
- Long guns
- Concealed Carry
- Open Carry
Most of the time, long guns or handguns are what’s used in a crime, so the restrictions stem from that.
You can buy as many guns as you have money for in the sunshine state, there’s no limit on the amount.
If you’re caught in public without a carry permit in Florida, you’re up for a third-degree felony.
That goes on your permanent record and leads to
- Five years in prison
- Five years probation
- Up to a $5000 fine
If you have a felony record, it’s a second-degree felony and the jail time and fines increase.
Law #2: Vehicle Carry
In Florida, as long as you can legally possess a firearm (18 or 21), you can have it in your car.
The language in this law is that the gun must be “securely encased”, read not available for immediate use.
Securely encased means:
- In a glove compartment
- Snapped in a holster
- In a gun case
- Closed box
- Container with a lid
Carrying a gun in your car doesn’t count as open or concealed carry.
If you have a gun sitting alone on your passenger seat, uncased, you’re up for some fines. Unless the officer believes your intention was to use it, then it’s up to their discretion.
To be safe, get a carry permit. The laws can be ambiguous and you don’t want to take a chance on your legal future.
Law #3 Inform Officers
If you have a gun on you, whether concealed, open carry, or in your vehicle, you don’t have to tell law enforcement.
There is no language in Florida gun laws that says officers have the right to be notified of a weapon. If you choose to tell them, that’s a personal choice.
If you do have a permit and are taking your gun outdoors, it’s a good idea to take your permit with you. There are some gun cases and holsters with pockets for a license.
Make a copy and keep it on hand, so there’s never a question of if you’re a law-abiding gun owner.
Law #4 State Parks
If you’re visiting one of Florida’s state parks, you’re welcome to carry a gun. Whether or not you need a permit depends on the type of gun you’re using and if you’re hunting.
You’ll need a hunting license for the season you’re shooting in or you’ll face fines.
If you have an open or concealed carry permit, the following places are fair game
- State Parks
- Game Managment
- Road Side Rest Areas
Law #5 No Weapons Signs
If you come upon an establishment with a “No Weapons” sign, it’s likely non-regulated. Private business owners and establishments can put these signs up, but you are not required to follow them by law.
There are places, however, where you can’t have a gun in Florida, permit or not.
Those off limit places include:
- Law enforcement stations
- Polling places
- Government houses
- School* College or Event not related to firearms
- Vocational tech centers
The locations with stars have special requirements or updates, addressed below.
Breaking the law by concealed or open carrying in any of these locations is like an unlicensed gun.
Law #6 Bars and Restaurants
This is another place where the law is tricky to understand. Florida gun law states that you can carry with a permit in a restaurant, but not if it serves alcohol.
Since many restaurants have their liquor licenses, Floridians have tweaked this requirement.
If the main purpose of the establishment is to serve food, but you can buy alcohol with your meal: feel free to carry. If an establishment has a dedicated bar section, your gun is not welcome there.
If it’s a fully licensed bar with no other purpose, like nightclubs, carrying is illegal.
If you bring a gun into one of these prohibited spaces, you could get arrested. Keep your permit on you, be reasonable and communicative with law enforcement if caught.
You’re not going to get arrested for walking through the bar area of a restaurant with a CCW to go to the bathroom, but don’t hang out too long.
Law #7 Child Endangerment
If you have a firearm in the house with children, you must keep the weapon secure by law.
That means keeping it in a locked container, adding a trigger lock, or keeping it in a location you believe is “secure”.
If a child gets access to the firearm, you’re only criminally liable if they take it in public or use it in a threatening manner.
Florida Gun Law Updates
While these laws still apply, Governor Rick Scott recently signed a new gun package to Florida gun law. This was in response to the Parkland school massacre.
There is a long list of new requirements. Some of the significant ones include raising purchase age to 21 on some gun models, creating a waiting period, and banning bump stocks.
The new package sends more funds to school security and mental health programs.
These recent changes are being argued at State and local levels, but their validity stands.
If you have any questions about the above laws, need a lawyer for criminal charges, call us. We’ll talk you through any questions and determine if we’re the best firm to represent you.
Call us today.