With summer vacation time fast approaching, we thought we would review the laws of carrying a firearm during common outdoor events and outings. Many people love to fish, camp, and hunt during the summer. It is important to know that with or without a Concealed Weapons and Firearms License (or “CWFL”), Florida law allows you to open carry a firearm during these events. Of course, with a CWFL you can also conceal carry.
Watch Out for Federal Property
Florida and federal laws also allow you to carry in both state and national parks. However, when you are in a national park, remember that you cannot carry inside any federal building (including any bathrooms or ranger stations). Further, there is one exception to the general rule of carrying in Florida’s state parks: you cannot carry while visiting the Savanna State Reserve.
Pursuant to Florida Statute 258.157(2), it is unlawful for any person, except a law enforcement or conservation officer, to have in his or her possession any firearm while within the Savannas. Additionally, none of the theme parks in Florida allow you to carry a firearm on their property.
The Rules of Concealed Carry
Are you heading to one of Florida’s beaches? If you have a Concealed Weapons and Firearms License or recognized out-of-state equivalent, you can conceal carry while on the beaches in Florida. There is also no prohibition to carrying at either indoor or outdoor concerts. However, the venue may prohibit you from carrying on their property. Finally, remember that carrying at any sporting event, whether high school, college, or professional, is prohibited under Florida law.
Don’t Take Chances With Alcohol
What about events held on private property or where drinking may be involved? If you are heading to a party or barbeque, Florida law allows you to carry your firearm with a CWFL, even if you will be drinking alcohol. We are not suggesting that you should drink while carrying your firearm, but it is not illegal to do so in Florida. What you cannot do is be impaired and have your firearm readily accessible for immediate discharge, meaning loaded and in your hand. Of course, if it is a true self-defense situation, this prohibition does not apply. You must also remember that a private property owner can prohibit you from carrying on their property.
We hope everyone has a great and safe summer vacation. If you have any questions about carrying your firearm to any of the activities mentioned or any other firearm related question, please give U.S. LawShield a call and ask to speak to your Independent Program Attorney.