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Carrying a Concealed Weapon in Florida? You May Have Just Committed a Felony

Florida is without a doubt a pro-gun state. The Sunshine State has enacted a number of pro-gun laws designed to protect lawful gun owners — we covered this topic recently in our article on Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law. But there is an important distinction that must be made: Florida does not support the illegal possession of weapons or firearms. People who misinterpret Florida’s seemingly laissez-faire approach to gun control could end up being charged with a felony. 

Below, we discuss how illegally possessing a weapon could land a person in legal hot water. This article is for educational purposes only. It’s important to understand the laws of the state you reside in, but if you’ve been accused of illegally possessing a firearm, you should consult a felony defense lawyer in Tampa with The Rickman Law Firm today. 

Lawfully Carrying a Concealed Weapon in Florida

The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has set the bar pretty low for being able to obtain a concealed weapon license in Florida. In order to be eligible for a concealed weapon or firearm license, you must be: 

  • 21 or older
  • Able to demonstrate competency with a firearm 
  • A United States citizen or a lawful permanent resident alien 

A prior felony conviction could result in your ineligibility to obtain a license (more on that below). It’s incredibly easy to obtain a concealed weapon or firearm license in Florida. And as we’ll see below, the penalties for illegally possessing a weapon or firearm far outweigh the small hoops that the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services place in your way. 

Related: Firearms Lawyer in Tampa, FL

Unlicensed Carrying of Concealed Weapons or Firearms 

Under Florida law, it is a first-degree misdemeanor to carry a concealed weapon or electric weapon. Exceptions include self-defense chemical spray and a nonlethal stun gun. Those convicted of a first-degree misdemeanor could be fined $1,000 and sentenced up to one year in prison. The penalties for illegally possessing a concealed firearm are far more severe. Carrying a concealed firearm without a license is punishable by up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine. As steep as these penalties may be, they only become more severe if the convicted individual has a prior felony conviction. 

Related: What You Need to Know About Concealed Carry Laws in Florida

Florida Statute 790.23 states that felons who own or have “in his or her care, custody, possession, or control any firearm, ammunition, or electric weapon or device, or to carry a concealed weapon, including a tear gas gun or chemical weapon or device,” commit a second-degree felony punishable by up to fifteen years in prison and a $10,000 fine (unless their civil rights and firearm authority have been restored or their criminal history has been expunged). 

Keeping You Out of Trouble 

We understand that you may be carrying a weapon to protect yourself, your family, or your property, but it is imperative that you abide by Florida law. Failure to do so can only lead to trouble. If you have been caught with a concealed weapon that you are not licensed to have, consult an attorney from The Rickman Law Firm. Our team will fight to safeguard your rights and your freedom. 

For a free consultation with a felony defense lawyer in Tampa, please contact The Rickman Law Firm today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation. 

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