Spring Break is here, and everyone is thawing out after a long winter. Before you take part in the festivities watch Independent Program Attorney David Katz instruct you on the law before you walk into a restaurant or bar with your firearm.
Drinking and Carrying Your Firearms
In Florida, there is no legal limit of intoxication that makes it illegal to carry your firearm. That does not mean you can do whatever you want. Florida law makes it illegal to use a firearm if your normal faculties are impaired by alcoholic beverages or a controlled substance. Although, the legal limit for driving is .08, the legal limit for using your firearm is .10. The term use of firearm is defined in Florida Statute 790.151 as discharging a firearm or having it readily accessible for immediate discharge. Readily accessible for immediate discharge is defined in both the statute and case law as loaded and in your hand.
Therefore, under Florida law, you can legally be as drunk as you can get and still carry your firearm as long as they are not loaded and in your hand and you do not discharge them. The law does not apply to anyone executing lawful self-defense or defense of a loved one.
Carrying a Firearm in a Restaurant or Bar
Florida law does not allow you to carry a firearm in any establishment whose primary purpose is the sale of alcohol or any part of an establishment devoted to the sale of alcohol. If you go in to a restaurant with a bar, you cannot carry in the bar area, but should be able to carry while eating dinner in the restaurant portion. While eating dinner, if you choose to have a beer or cocktail, you will not be violating Florida law if you have your firearm with you. But if you are sitting at the bar, not drinking, but eating dinner because there are no open tables in the restaurant you cannot carry your firearm.