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It is against the law to have a concealed weapon in the state of Florida without having been issued a concealed weapons permit that was issued to you by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services or by a comparable bureau from a different state. Even a licensed firearm owner is not able to lawfully carry around a concealed weapon without also having a concealed weapons license.

According to Florida Statute Chapter 790, carrying a concealed weapon without also being in possession of a concealed weapons permit is a felony of the third degree in Florida. General sentencing, if convicted, is as long as five years in state prison and an administrative fine of as much as $5,000.

Based on the information that has been published, Florida enforces limitations on the qualification conditions for getting a concealed weapons permit, but in spite of this, Florida still led all 50 states in the total of concealed carry permits with 1,384,657 million as of March 2015. About 193,000 of those permits being owned by out-of-state citizens.

Carrying a Concealed Weapon in Boca Raton, Florida

According to the Florida Statutes Chapter 790, § 790.01(2), anyone who carries a concealed weapon and does not have the appropriate permit saying that they may do so is committing a felony of the third degree.

An exemption to the laws concerning concealed carrying comes into effect only when someone carries a concealed weapon for the first 48 hours of a forced evacuation order that is issued while in a state of emergency accurately indicated by the governor.

Components to Establishing a Concealed Carrying Charge in Florida

Under Florida Statute § 790.01 and the Standard Jury Instructions in Criminal Cases No. 10.1, given by the Florida Supreme Court, the prosecution must show beyond a reasonable doubt that:

  • The offender intentionally carried on or about his or her person a weapon
  • The weapon was hidden from the common viewpoint of any other person

Meanings of Words Associated With Carrying a Concealed Weapon in Florida

In the state of Florida under (Florida Statute § 790.001(6)), a firearm means any weapon up to and including a starter’s pistol which is intended to, will, or can be easily modified to discharge a missile by the effect of an explosive; the receiver or frame of any type of weapon; any firearm silencer or firearm muffler; any incendiary device or device intended to cause destruction; as well as any machine gun.

The word firearm does not cover any antique gun unless it is used during the commission of a criminal act. An antique gun is defined in Florida Statute § 790.001(1).

According to the jury directions, the term on or about his or her person suggests that the weapon was physically on the person’s body or easily obtainable by her or him.

Terminology and wording are both significant in these cases due to the fact that when a hidden weapon is found in an automobile, deciding whether or not the weapon was on or about the person or easily obtainable is a fundamental point.

The phrase the common viewpoint of any other person is meant to indicate “the casual and ordinary observation of another in the normal associations of life.” A weapon does not need to be entirely concealed in order for a jury to determine that it was covered. A weapon, however, is not considered to be hidden if, even though it is not completely exposed, the fact that it is a sidearm is noticeable through regular observation.

In order to secure a conviction in a case of concealed carry, the prosecution has to establish that the offender intentionally hid the weapon. This is to be interpreted as the offender was aware of the hidden weapon, a statement that can usually be challenged by a skilled concealed carry criminal defense attorney. Thousands of weapons are located in people’s airport carry-on baggage every year in the United States. The majority of these episodes end in arrests, despite the fact that the individual was unaware of the presence of the gun.

Legal Defenses to Concealed Carrying Charges

Being unaware is a common supporting defense to being charged with carrying a concealed weapon if the individual has acquiesced to the laws in the state of Florida and received a Concealed Weapon Permit as allowed in Florida Statute § 790.06. The statute says that the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is authorized to give out permits to carry concealed firearms or concealed weapons to those who meet the qualifications.

Florida Statute § 790.06 limits Concealed Weapon Permits. Anyone who is under the age of 21 and anyone who has ever been found guilty of a felony are both some examples of people who would not qualify for a concealed carry permit.

Along with this, Florida Statute § 790.25(5) implements a defense for a weapon that is carried in an automobile or other private vehicles, provided that the weapon is securely encased. In what is known as a Declaration of Policy, the Florida Legislature explained that it is legal to have a firearm for legitimate use, such as when you are legally hunting or on your way from or to a gun range or other legal reasons.

An individual can also legally own a gun in her or his residence or place of employment without being in possession of a concealed weapons permit, according to Florida Statute § 790.25(3)(n).

Sentences for Being Charged With Having a Concealed Weapon in Florida

Being in possession of a concealed weapon without also having a concealed weapons permit is a felony of the third degree here in Florida, and as such is able to be penalized by a period of incarceration of as long as five years and an administrative fine of as much as $5,000.

In addition to this penalty, convicted felons are commonly faced with other hardships upon their discharge from state prison. This can include the loss of the right to own a gun, or to vote, as well as discovering that there are severe restrictions on their employment and educational possibilities.

Exclusions to Having a Concealed Weapon Without a Permit

There are a few situations in which you may have a concealed weapon on you even though you lack the proper permit. This list of exceptions to the rule is as follows:

  • People who have guns in their place of residence or privately owned place of employment
  • Members of organizations that gather for the purpose of exhibiting or collecting antique weapons
  • People who are participating in fishing, camping, or hunting who have obtained the appropriate hunting permits
  • People who are participating in legal repairing, dealing, or manufacturing in weapons

These exemptions are very close and refer only to very particular situations. The smartest thing to do is to petition for a concealed weapons permit should you feel that you have to have a weapon on you on a routine basis.

Qualifications for Getting a Concealed Weapons Permit in Florida

The Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services will distribute the permit to any person who applies provided that she or he satisfies the below-listed guidelines:

  • The applicant is a citizen of the United States or a permanent resident alien of the United States
  • The applicant is 21 years of age or older
  • The applicant has no physical incapacities that would preclude the applicant from properly and safely handling a sidearm
  • The applicant has no felony convictions on their record
  • The applicant does not meet the repeated offender designation according to Florida law
  • The applicant has no problems pertaining to any type of drug abuse or alcohol abuse
  • The applicant has demonstrated proficiency in wielding a gun by completing one of the following programs:
    • The successful fulfillment of a hunter safety or hunter education course certified by the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
    • The successful fulfillment of any National Rifle Association weapons training or safety class
    • The successful fulfillment of any law enforcement gun training or safety class
  • You are already permitted to carry a gun in the state of Florida or a municipality or county of the state of Florida provided that the license has not been withdrawn

The applicant has to also want to possess a concealed weapon for the legal purpose of self-defense. Normally, if you can prove to the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services that you satisfy these listed guidelines, you will have no issues when it comes to obtaining your concealed weapons permit

You need to be aware of the possibility that even once you have a concealed firearm or concealed weapons permit, there are still a wide variety of locations and circumstances to which you will not legally be able to take your gun with you. These locations and situations include but are not limited to:

  • Any police station ever
  • Any courtroom or courthouse
  • Any place of polling
  • Gatherings of public government councils or bodies
  • The grounds of any school or any buildings within those grounds
  • Colleges and universities
  • Correctional facilities
  • In any airport, except when lawfully checked
  • Any building considered to be a “place of nuisance” (any place that has gambling or prostitution taking place)
  • Any building where firearms are banned according to law

It is also important to be aware of the Principle of Reciprocity. Florida state laws recognize legitimate concealed carry licenses distributed by other states. Not all states, however, recognize permits distributed by Florida.

Obtaining a Concealed Weapons Permit in Florida

Section 790.06 outlines the actions that you need to take in order to legitimately obtain a concealed weapons license in Florida.

  • For your ease, you can obtain an application packet for a concealed weapon license by contacting the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. This department is allowed following Florida law to hand out concealed weapon licenses to able-bodied residents of the state of Florida.
  • Become knowledgeable of the Concealed Weapons segment of the Florida laws. You have to be capable of understanding the law if you wish to obtain your concealed weapons permit.
  • Successfully finish the mandatory safety classes. You have to give documentation to prove that you are suitably qualified to manage a sidearm.
  • Submit a passport style color picture with your application.
  • Get your fingerprints taken by your local law enforcement agency. Instructions and locations for fingerprinting will be included with the information packet from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
  • Pay a non-refundable application fee to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
  • Your application must be notarized. It will take roughly 90 days to process the application.

We are well aware that the state of Florida has made a name for itself as being a gun-friendly place, especially when it is compared to most of the other states. Our state prosecutors do not treat these infractions very casually. Being arrested for carrying a concealed weapon creates troublesome circumstances, and even those who are first-time offenders may possibly find themselves looking at prison.

Knowing what your rights are is of the utmost importance. Reaching out to a hard-working Florida criminal defense attorney is vital to the outcome of your case. If you or someone that you love has been charged with a weapons offense or a gun crime in Fort Lauderdale, then please get in touch with a member of our outstanding criminal defense team here at Musca Law.

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