Carrying a Concealed Firearm
It is illegal to carry a concealed firearm in Florida without a concealed weapon license issued by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) or by an equivalent agency from another state. Even a licensed gun owner may not legally carry a concealed weapon without a concealed weapon license.
Under Chapter 790 of the Florida Statutes, carrying a concealed firearm without a concealed weapon license is a third-degree felony in Florida, punishable upon conviction by up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.
Florida imposes restrictions on the eligibility requirements for obtaining a concealed weapon license, yet Florida led all states in the number of “conceal carry” licenses with 1,384,756 million as of March 2015, with about 192,000 of those licenses held by out-of-state residents, according to information published by the political journalism website Politifact.
Attorney for Concealed Firearms Charges in Melbourne, FL
If you were arrested for illegally carrying a concealed weapon under Chapter 790 of the Florida Statutes in Melbourne, Florida, or anywhere in Brevard County, Florida, then you should contact an experienced criminal defense attorney to discuss your case.
Law Offices of Germain & McCarthy fights aggressively to protect the gun rights of its clients all along Florida’s Space Coast. We defend clients on all types of firearms and weapons charges.
The knowledgeable attorneys at Law Offices of Germain & McCarthy can explain the charges against you in easy-to-understand terms and confer with you about possible defenses. We represent clients charged with all kinds of weapons crimes in Melbourne, Palm Bay, Titusville, Merritt Island, Viera, Cape Canaveral, Cocoa, and Rockledge, as well as Indian River County, Volusia County, Orange County and Osceola County, FL.
Contact Law Offices of Germain & McCarthy by calling (321) 253-3447 today to discuss your case and begin defending your rights.
Carrying a Concealed Firearm in Brevard County, FL
Under the Florida Statutes, Title XLVI, Chapter 790, § 790.01(2), a person who carries a concealed firearm and is not licensed to do so, commits a third-degree felony.
An exception to the conceal carry law applies only when a person carries a concealed firearm for the first 48 hours of a mandatory evacuation order issued during a state of emergency properly declared by the governor.
Elements to Prove in a Conceal Carry Case in Florida
Under F.S. § 790.01 and the Standard Jury Instructions in Criminal Cases No. 10.1, issued by the Florida Supreme Court, the State must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that:
- The defendant knowingly carried on or about his or her person a firearm; and
- The firearm was concealed from the ordinary sight of another person
See also Ensor v. State, 403 So. 2d 349 (Fla. 1981) and Dorelus v. State, 747 So. 2d 368 (Fla. 1999).
Definitions of Terms Related to Carrying a Concealed Firearm in Florida
A “firearm” means any weapon (including a starter gun) which will, is designed to, or may readily be converted to expel a projectile by the action of an explosive; the frame or receiver of any such weapon; any firearm muffler or firearm silencer; any destructive device; and any machine gun (F.S. § 790.001(6)).
The term “firearm” does not include an antique firearm unless the antique firearm is used in the commission of a crime. An antique firearm is defined in F.S. § 790.001(1).
According to the jury instructions, the term “on or about his or her person” means “physically on the person or readily accessible to him or her.”
This language is important because when a concealed firearm is discovered in a vehicle, determining whether the firearm was “on or about the person” or “readily accessible” is a key issue.
The term “ordinary sight of another person” means “the casual and ordinary observation of another in the normal associations of life.” A firearm need not be completely hidden for a jury to find that it was concealed. However, a firearm is not concealed if, although not fully exposed, its status as a firearm is detectable by ordinary observation.
To gain a conviction in a conceal carry case, the State must prove that the defendant “knowingly” concealed the firearm. This means that the defendant had knowledge of the concealed firearm, an assertion that can often be disputed by a competent attorney. Thousands of guns are discovered in airport carry-on luggage each year in the U.S. Many of these incidents result in arrests, even though the person did not know about the gun.
Defenses Allowed by Law
It is an affirmative defense to the charge of carrying a concealed firearm if a person has complied with Florida law and obtained a Concealed Weapon License as provided for in F.S. § 790.06, which states that the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is authorized to issue licenses to carry concealed weapons or concealed firearms to qualified persons.
F.S. § 790.06 restricts Concealed Weapon Licenses. Persons under 21 years of age and persons who have been convicted of a felony are among those who do not qualify for a conceal carry license.
In addition, F.S. § 790.25(5) provides a defense for a firearm carried in a vehicle or private conveyance if the firearm is “securely encased.” In a “Declaration of Policy,” the Florida Legislature clarified that it is lawful to carry a weapon for a lawful use, such as to or from a shooting range, or for lawful hunting, or other lawful purposes.
A person may also lawfully possess a firearm in his or her home or place of business without a concealed weapons license, under F.S. § 790.25(3)(n).
Penalties for Carrying a Concealed Firearm in Florida
Carrying a Concealed Firearm without a concealed weapon license is a third-degree felony in Florida, punishable by a prison sentence of up to five years and a fine of up to $5,000.
In addition, convicted felons face other adverse circumstances upon release from prison, such as the loss of the right to vote or own a gun, as well as limits on educational and employment opportunities.
Exceptions to carrying a concealed weapon without a license
There are some circumstances where you can carry a concealed weapon without a license. Below is a list of the exceptions:
- Individuals who have firearms at their home or privately owned place of business
- Members of clubs organized for collecting or exhibiting antique firearms
- Individuals engaged in hunting, fishing or camping who have the proper hunting licenses
- Individuals engaged in lawful manufacturing, repairing or dealing in firearms
These exceptions are very narrow and apply to very specific instances. It is best to apply for a concealed weapons license if you need to carry a weapon on a regular basis.
Eligibility for obtaining a concealed weapon license in Florida
The Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services will issue a license to an individual if he or she meets the following criteria:
- Citizen of the United States or permanent resident alien of the United States
- 21 years old or older
- No physical disabilities that would prevent the individual from safely handling a firearm
- No felony convictions
- No habitual offender designation under Florida law
- No substance abuse problems with alcoholic beverages
- Demonstrates competence with handling a firearm by doing one of the following things:
- Completion of a hunter education or hunter safety course approved by the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
- Completion of any National Rifle Association firearms safety or training class
- Completion of any law enforcement firearms safety or training class
- Licensed to carry a firearm in this state or a county or municipality of this state unless such license has been revoked
The individual must also want to have a concealed weapon for the purpose of lawful self-defense. Usually, if you can demonstrate to the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services that you meet the above criteria, you should receive your concealed weapons license.
Obtaining a Concealed weapon permit in Florida
Section 790.06 details the steps needed to legally get a concealed weapon permit in Florida.
- For you convenience, you can get an application packet for a concealed weapon permit by contacting the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. This department is authorized under Florida law to give out concealed weapon permits to qualified Florida residents.
- Become familiar with the Concealed Weapons section of the Florida Statutes. You must be able to understand the statute in order to get the concealed weapons license.
- Complete the required safety classes. You must provide documentation to show that you are properly trained to handle a firearm.
- 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.
You can contact the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services for more detailed instructions on how to apply for a concealed weapons license.
Florida Statutes, Title XLVI, Chapter 790 — Weapons and Firearms — Read the Florida Statutes that apply to the weapons and firearms, including the prohibitions and requirements for concealed carry of a firearm.
Florida Standard Jury Instructions for Criminal Cases No. 10.1 — Find a link to the exact instructions given to Florida juries in a trial for carrying a concealed firearm.
Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) — Concealed Weapon License — Apply for or renew a Concealed Weapon License at the FDACS website. The site includes links for first-time applicants to determine eligibility for a concealed weapon license, a list of acceptable forms of required training, and a way to monitor the status of an existing application, as well as forms and informative publications.
Attorney for an Illegally Carrying a Concealed Firearm in Melbourne, FL
If you were arrested for illegally carrying a concealed firearm in Melbourne, Florida, or Brevard County, FL, then you are facing a felony charge and it is important that you seek the advice of a local attorney experienced in defending people against gun charges.
The knowledgeable attorneys at Law Offices of Germain & McCarthy aggressively defend clients against gun charges and we are prepared to defend you, too. You may have an affirmative defense that could result in a dismissal of charges, or other factors may help mitigate your situation. We always strive to achieve the best possible results, and we know how to challenge the evidence, or the arrest.
The dedicated attorneys at Law Offices of Germain & McCarthy represent people who have been charged with gun crimes throughout Brevard County, Florida, including the cities of Melbourne, Palm Bay, Titusville, Rockledge, and Cocoa, as well as nearby Orange, Osceola, Volusia, and Indian River counties.
Call Law Offices of Germain & McCarthy today at (321) 253-3447 to schedule a free consultation with one of our criminal defense lawyers.