Florida Constitutional Carry
Florida officially became a constitutional carry state on July 1, 2023. This significant development allows individuals to carry concealed firearms without the need for a gun permit. On April 3, 2023, Governor Ron DeSantis signed HB 543 into law, making Florida the 26th state in the US to embrace permitless carry of firearms.
Understanding Constitutional Carry in Florida
In the past, obtaining a gun permit was a requirement to carry a concealed firearm legally in Florida. However, with constitutional carry in place, that is no longer necessary. This means that as long as you meet specific eligibility criteria, you can conceal and carry a firearm within the state without a permit.
Florida Constitutional Carry Vehicle
Florida allows for permitless concealed carry in vehicles for gun owners aged 21+ residing in the state. Residents do not need a license to conceal handguns on their personal or otherwise within their vehicles. However, restrictions apply for long guns and non-residents still require valid concealed weapons permits.
Florida Constitutional Carry Non-Resident
Florida only allows permitless concealed carry for permanent legal residents aged 21+ as of 2022. Non-residents still require a valid Florida concealed carry license in order to legally conceal weapons or firearms on their person, even with constitutional carry in effect for qualifying state residents.
Open carry has Separate Rules
Firearm policies in Florida vary based on residency and age, with permitless concealed carry applicable only to permanent legal residents aged 21 and older as of 2022. Non-residents must obtain a valid Florida concealed carry license to legally conceal weapons or firearms on their person, even if constitutional carry is in effect for qualifying state residents. Open carry is subject to separate rules.
The Shall-Issue Policy for Gun Licenses
While constitutional carry allows for permitless carry, Florida still maintains a shall-issue policy for the application of firearms. This means that if you meet all necessary requirements, you will be issued a gun permit. The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services oversees the processing of gun licenses in the state.
Possessing Firearms in Florida
Although constitutional carry permits concealed carry, it’s essential to understand the rules and restrictions surrounding firearm possession in the state. Florida does not allow the open carry of firearms, with a few exceptions for specific activities like hunting, fishing, and camping. Those involved in the firearms industry, such as dealers, repairers, or manufacturers, may also open carry.
Concealed Carry and Identification Requirements
To conceal carry in Florida, you must always carry appropriate identification with you. Law enforcement officers have the right to ask for identification at any time, and failure to produce it may result in a $25 fine. Additionally, it’s essential to note that carrying a concealed weapon without authorization is a third-degree criminal offense.
Places Where Firearms are Prohibited
While constitutional carry grants more freedom to carry concealed firearms, there are still restricted areas where you cannot possess firearms in Florida. Some of these places include:
- Elementary or secondary schools, colleges, universities, and technical institutions
- Stadiums or event centers used for professional sporting activities not related to firearms events
- Police or local sheriff’s offices and petrol stations
- Jails, detention homes, and correctional facilities
- Law courts or during court proceedings
- Polling units during elections
- Legislative sessions or meetings organized by governing bodies
- Hospitals or mental health homes
- Bars or establishments with an alcohol license for onsite consumption
- Safety zones of airport areas and terminals
- Areas prohibited by federal laws
Applying for a Florida Gun License
While constitutional carry allows permitless carry, some individuals may still prefer to have a gun license. To apply for a Florida gun license, follow these steps:
- Submit your application and firearm training certificate to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
- Provide proof of Florida residency, fingerprints, and any other required documents.
- Some counties may require additional psychological tests before processing the permit.
- If approved, your permit will be valid for seven years, after which you must apply for a renewal.
Requirements for a Florida Gun License
To obtain a gun license in Florida, you must meet certain eligibility requirements, which include:
- Being at least twenty-one years old
- Being a legal citizen of the United States
- Completing the necessary training class licensed by Florida gun permit laws
- Having no physical deformities that affect firearm handling
- Having no felony convictions
- Not being an alcohol addict or frequent user of substances that impair rational thinking
- Having no more than one conviction for driving under the influence in the past three years
- Having no convictions for violent crimes in the last three years
- Not being an incapacitated person, or if previously incapacitated, having gained capacity more than five years ago
- Not being a patient of any mental institution, unless cleared for at least five years
- Having no restraining or protection orders related to domestic violence
- Having no prohibitions for purchasing or possessing firearms in Florida or anywhere in the USA
- Demonstrating firearm competency
- Meeting all federal laws related to the possession of firearms
Is Constitutional Carry Restricted in Certain Parts of Florida?
Yes, despite the constitutional carry laws, there are still restrictions on where open and concealed carry is allowed in Florida. To learn more about the specific places where firearms are prohibited, please refer to the section above.
Florida’s transition to a constitutional carry state marks a significant change in firearm regulations. While permitless carry is now allowed, it’s crucial to remain aware of the places where firearms are prohibited and the eligibility requirements for a gun license. Understanding these rules will ensure that gun owners in Florida can exercise their rights responsibly and legally.
Q1: Is Constitutional Carry the same as Open Carry?
No, constitutional carry refers specifically to carrying concealed firearms without a permit, while open carry allows for visible carry of firearms without the need for a concealed carry permit.
Q2: Can I Carry a Firearm Across State Lines with a Florida Permit?
Each state has its own laws regarding reciprocity and recognition of other state’s permits. Before carrying a firearm across state lines, it’s crucial to research and understand the specific regulations of the state you’re traveling to.
Q3: Can I Carry My Firearm in National Parks in Florida?
While Florida allows concealed carry in forests, parks, and wildlife areas, national parks and federal lands have their own regulations. Check the specific rules for the national park you plan to visit before carrying a firearm.
Q4: Are There any Special Training Requirements for Applying for a Florida Gun License?
Yes, you are required to complete a firearm training class licensed by Florida gun permit laws as part of the application process.
Q5: Can I Apply for a Florida Gun License Online?
Yes, you can apply for a Florida gun license online through the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ website. However, some counties may still require physical submission of documents. Check your county’s specific requirements for application.
Q6: Do you have to be a Florida resident for permitless carry?
Yes, Florida restricts permitless concealed carry only to permanent residents 21+ under its current constitutional carry laws. Visitors, non-residents, and part-time Florida residents cannot conceal a firearm without a valid Florida concealed weapons license even with the new no-permit regulations for eligible residents.
Q7: Can I conceal carry in a mall in Florida?
Most privately owned mall properties in Florida prohibit carrying weapons or firearms on the premises regardless of concealed carry permits. However, requirements can vary by location and exceptions may exist.