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Who Can Carry a Firearm in Florida?

September 26, 2016
By The Wiseman Law Firm

Although it is generally illegal to openly carry a gun in the State of Florida, individuals may openly carry a number of different non-lethal weapons for self-defense purposes, including pepper spray, a stun gun, a dart-firing stun gun, or any other type of non-lethal electric weapon. Ordinary civilians are only permitted to possess a firearm in a few select places and scenarios, including a private motor vehicle or public mode of transportation as long as the firearm is securely encased, a person’s residence or place of business, or while currently engaged in, or returning from, fishing, hunting, or camping.

In all other situations, a person may only carry a concealed firearm if they are issued a concealed weapon license by the state of Florida (CWFL). Florida is a “shall issue” state, meaning that individuals who meet the requirements will be issued a license without the discretion of the granting authority. Florida is unique from most other states in that it allows CWFL holders to carry a wide range of weapons in addition to firearms, including knives, billie clubs, electronic weapons, and even tear gas. CWFL licenses are not absolute, however, as carrying a concealed weapon is still prohibited in certain areas under Florida Statute Section 790.06(12)(a).

Even with a CWFL, it is a crime to carry a firearm in the following areas:

  • A “place of nuisance,” or any place that annoys, injures the health, or harms the morals of the people such as places of prostitution, or places with criminal gang activity
  • Any police station, jail, or prison
  • Any courthouse or courtroom, except with the express consent of a judge
  • Any polling place
  • Any school, college, or athletic event not related to firearms
  • Any establishment licensed to serve alcoholic beverages
  • Inside of a passenger terminal inside and outside of an airport

Felon in Possession of a Firearm in Florida

Under Florida Statute 790.23, it is a second degree felony for a convicted felon to knowingly care for, control, possess, or own a firearm, ammunition, or electronic weapon. The term “possession” is important to this charge as penalties are much harsher depending on the type of possession a person is accused of committing.

  • Actual possession is when a person has a weapon physically on their person, such as in their hand, pocket, or bag. These cases are pretty straightforward and can be difficult to dispute, carrying a mandatory minimum three-year prison sentence upon conviction.
  • Constructive possession is when a firearm or ammunition is not found on a person but close enough to where it can be reasonably assumed that the person knew the firearm was present and had the capacity to exercise control over it. Convicted felons charged with constructive possession will still face prison time, though there is no mandatory minimum sentence.

At maximum, a person convicted of Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon can face up to 15 years in prison, up to 15 years of probation, and up to $10,000 in fines. Like all other weapons charges, these crimes are extremely serious and require the trained eye of an aggressive criminal defense lawyer in order to be successfully defended against. If you have been charged with felon in possession of a firearm, contact The Wiseman Law Firm today. Having defended the rights of the accused for 20 years, our Orlando criminal defense attorneys have the trial-tested experience and passion you need to minimize your chances of conviction.

Call 407-420-4647 or contact our office online today to get started.

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