Although the right to bear arms is often hotly debated by political pundits, on news programs, and talk shows, the Second Amendment is one of the oldest laws in America. Although owning a firearm is legal, gun owners in Florida must be cognizant of the specific laws that allow them to own and carry a firearm for self-defense. If you are unaware of the requirements in order to legally carry a concealed firearm, you may end up needing the services of a firearms attorney in Tampa.
When a firearm is carried on a person in a manner to hide or “conceal” the weapon from plain sight, this is considered by law a concealed firearm. In order to carry a firearm in public, the gun owner requires a license. To qualify for a concealed weapons permit, the gun owner must be 21 years of age or older, a citizen of the United States, have a relatively clean criminal record without a history of mental illness or domestic violence, among other eligibility requirements. After the applicant has their fingerprints scanned and a criminal background check is performed by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, their concealed weapon license is valid for seven years. For more information on the qualifications to carry in Florida, review Florida Statute 790.06.
Just like you should always possess a driver’s license when you’re operating your vehicle, gun owners that want to lawfully carry a concealed firearm should always have their concealed weapon license on their person anytime they are carrying. Further, it’s important that your firearm remains concealed at all times. If you improperly exhibit a firearm, this is at a minimum a misdemeanor crime. There are also possession restrictions meaning that you are prohibited from visiting certain public locations with a concealed weapon. Concealed weapons are forbidden at a variety of government-owned and operated buildings (police precincts, courthouses), institutions of learning (colleges, schools), and any place of business that primarily serves alcoholic beverages (bars, pubs).
Although there are some circumstances in which you do not need a concealed carry license in order to legally operate a firearm (in your home or place of business, hunting or fishing, or at a shooting range), it’s best to obtain a concealed carry license, keep your firearm concealed and securely encased in either a holster or the glove compartment of your car and to always be mindful of the laws and restrictions in the area you are located. If you have been accused of a crime that involves an unlicensed firearm, speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney.
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.