Gun laws regarding self-defense and the use of firearms are complicated (sometimes by design) and can be quite different from state to state. As an armed, self-defense minded personwho cares about the rule of law and protecting yourself and your family, it’s vital to be educated on all the regulations that apply to you, including federal, state, and local laws. To help make this journey easier, U.S. LawShield® is collaborating with experienced lawyers in the field of self-defense to produce a book of relevant gun laws for each state.
This time, we sat down with David S. Katz and James D. Phillips who co-wrote the book, Florida Gun Law: Armed And Educated. Join us as we talk a bit about the subject of that book and what makes gun laws in Florida unique.
U.S. LawShield: Thanks for the opportunity to learn. How about we start by asking what makes gun laws in Florida different from the rest of the country?
David and James: “Although Florida is considered a gun-friendly state, Florida requires a person to be at least 21 years of age to purchase a long gun. This age restriction applies to both private sales and sales made through a Federally Licensed Firearms Dealer (FFL).”
USLS: Interesting, that is fairly unusual. So then, do Floridians have to be 21 years of age to carry a gununder Florida law?
D&J: “Florida law generally prohibits anyone under 18 years of age from possessing a firearm, other than an unloaded firearm at their home. There are limited exceptions to this prohibition.”
USLS: This topic has been in the media quite a bit, but it bears repeating; does the state of Florida have a “stand your ground” law?
D&J: “The State of Florida has a very strong ’Stand Your Ground’ law. Under Florida law, a person who is attacked in or at any place where he or she has the right to be, is not the initial aggressor, and is not engaged in criminal activity at the time of the attack has the right to stand his or her ground and has no duty to retreat before using force or deadly force.”
USLS: Is it difficult to get a concealed weapon permit in the state of Florida?
D&J: “The State of Florida is a ‘shall issue’ state which makes it relatively easy to obtain a concealed weapons or firearms license. This means if an applicant meets all the requirements of Florida Statute § 790.06, then the Department of Agriculture must issue the applicant his or her concealed weapon or firearm license. Florida currently has over 2.3 million concealed weapon or firearm license holders.”
USLS: So, then what do gun laws in Florida say about the right to openly carry?
D&J: “As a general rule, open carry of firearms is prohibited in the State of Florida. Florida law does provide some limited circumstances in which the open carry of a firearm is legal with or without a concealed weapons or firearms license. One of the most notable exceptions allows an individual to openly carry a firearm while engaged in fishing, camping, or lawful hunting. This exception also applies while the individual is directly traveling to and from their home to the listed activity. Also, Florida law allows an individual to open carry a firearm on their own property that they reside on.”
USLS: Does Florida law require background checks to carry a concealed weapon?
D&J: “To legally carry a handgun in a concealed manner on an individual’s person, he or she must possess a Florida concealed weapons or firearms license. To obtain a concealed weapons or firearms license from the State of Florida, an individual must pass a background check. Florida law does allow a person to carry a concealed handgun in the interior of a private conveyance without a concealed weapon or firearms license if the handgun is either securely encased or not readily accessible. Since a handgun can be carried in the interior of a private conveyance without a concealed weapons or firearms license, a background check is not required under this circumstance.”
USLS: Since it’s not overly difficult to get a concealed carry permit, are law enforcement officers in Florida accustomed to the carrying of firearms on the street, or in a private conveyance?
D&J: “Due to the fact that Florida has issued over 2.3 million concealed weapons or firearms licenses and is considered a gun-friendly state, law enforcement officers have become more accustomed to firearms being carried in public. Furthermore, since Florida law allows for the carry of a concealed handgun in the interior of a private conveyance without a concealed weapon or firearms license if it is either securely encased or not readily accessible, law enforcement officers just assume that there is a gun in the car when they make a traffic stop.”
USLS: It really is interesting how the legal landscape can influence gun culture from place to place. Would you say that laws in Florida conflict with, or go beyond federal law in any way?
D&J: “To purchase a firearm in the State of Florida, one must be at least 21 years of age. This age requirement applies to both long guns and handguns. This differs from federal law, which requires an individual to be at least 18 years old to purchase a long gun and 21 years or older to purchase a handgun.”
USLS: Does the Department of Agriculture in the state of Florida regulate guns carried for a lawful purpose?
D&J: “No, the Department of Agriculture does not regulate guns carried for lawful purposes in the State of Florida. The only firearm related issue regulated by the Department of Agriculture is the issuance of concealed weapons or firearm license along with other licensing issues such as private security guards, private investigators, etc.”
USLS: Can I carry a concealed firearm while hunting, fishing, or doing other outdoor activities?
D&J: “Florida law allows an individual to carry a handgun openly or in a concealed manner, regardless of whether that person possess a concealed weapons or firearms license while engaged in fishing, camping, or lawful hunting, including traveling directly to and from such activity. This also applies while traveling to and from and while engaged in target practice and while a person is outside on their own property that they reside on.”
USLS: That’s everything we have time for, but we really appreciate your taking the time to speak with us, and hopefully help someone not run afoul of Florida Law. Thank you!
D&J: “Absolutely, thanks for giving us the chance to help.”
The information provided in this publication is intended to provide general information to individuals and is not legal advice. The information included in this publication may not be quoted or referred to in any other publication without the prior written consent of U.S. LawShield, to be given or withheld at our discretion. The information is not a substitute for, and does not replace the advice or representation of a licensed attorney. We strive to ensure the information included in this publication is accurate and current, however, no claim is made to the accuracy of the information and we are not responsible for any consequences that may result from the use of information in this publication. The use of this publication does not create an attorney-client relationship between U.S. LawShield, any independent program attorney, and any individual.
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