There is a new gun law taking place in the state of Florida beginning July 1, 2023. Passed into law in April 2023, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed House Bill 543 and Senate Bill 150, changing the requirements for gun carry permits. It is no longer required that persons need a permit to carry a concealed firearm in Florida, nor do they require training or background check.
This does not change the laws surrounding open carry of a weapon – open carry is still illegal.
Florida is the 26th state in the USA to adopt a constitutional carry policy. The term "constitutional carry" stems from the belief that the right to bear arms is a fundamental constitutional right granted by the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution. It is also referred to as “permitless carry” or “unrestricted carry.”
Under constitutional carry laws, individuals are allowed to exercise their Second Amendment rights to bear arms without requiring approval or permission from the government.
In short, House Bill 543 outlines permitless carry this way:
- authorizes person to carry concealed weapon or firearm if he or she is licensed to do so or meets specified requirements;
- requires person who is carrying concealed weapon or firearm without license to carry identification & display upon demand by law enforcement;
- prohibits person who is carrying concealed weapon or firearm without license from carrying such weapon or firearm in specified locations;
- authorizes nonresident to carry concealed weapon or firearm in this state if he or she meets same requirements as resident
Senate Bill 150 defines the new law:
- authorizing a person to carry a concealed weapon or concealed firearm if he or she is licensed to do so or meets specified requirements;
- specifying that the state bears the burden of proof for certain violations;
- requiring a person who is carrying a concealed weapon or concealed firearm without a license to carry valid identification and display such identification upon demand by a law enforcement officer;
- providing that a person who is authorized to carry a concealed weapon or concealed firearm without a license is subject to specified penalties for possessing such weapon or firearm at a school-sponsored event or on school property
For the full House and Senate Bill descriptions and law, please refer to The Florida Senate site to understand them in their entirety.
Permitless Carry Qualifications
The requirements and qualifications of gun ownership in the United States are based on federal laws and regulations; these terms continue to be relevant for Florida gun ownership and permitless carry:
- Must be a US Citizen - The U.S. Citizenship requirement for gun ownership is primarily aimed at preventing individuals who are not legally present in the United States from acquiring firearms.
- Must be 21 Years or Older with Identification - The age requirement of 21 for purchasing handguns is based on the Gun Control Act of 1968. The age requirement is in place to ensure that individuals have reached a level of maturity and responsibility before being able to manage firearms. A valid ID will be required at all times.
- No Disqualifying Convictions or Charges - Various federal and state laws prohibit certain individuals from owning firearms. This includes convicted felons, individuals with certain domestic violence restraining orders, individuals adjudicated as mentally ill, along with those who have a reported history of substance abuse or addiction. (It is essential to consult the specific legal statutes for a comprehensive list of prohibited persons.)
Where You Can and Cannot Carry a Concealed Weapon in Florida
Ultimately, the decision to carry a weapon should be made after careful consideration of the specific laws, individual circumstances, and a thorough understanding of the responsibilities and risks involved.
Some individuals may choose to carry a weapon for personal safety, as a means of self-defense providing them with a sense of security and protection in potentially dangerous situations; this might include situations where they are in high-crime areas or have concerns about their personal safety due to their occupation or personal circumstances.
Additionally, with regards to certain recreational activities such as hunting or target shooting at designated ranges, carrying a weapon may be necessary or part of the activity itself.
It's crucial to familiarize yourself with Florida's specific laws regarding concealed carry, as well as any local ordinances or restrictions that may apply.
Places you Can Carry your Weapons
The new Florida gun law allows for concealed carry without permit in many places. Concealed weapons or firearms are allowed in:
Places you Cannot Carry your Weapon
While you are legally enabled to carry a concealed weapon in public, there are several places you cannot carry your weapon including but not limited to:
- Police, sheriff, or highway patrol stations
- Courthouses, courtroom, or polling places
- School or college events
- School administration buildings, as well as elementary school, secondary school, college, or university facilities
- Establishments with main purpose of serving alcohol, like bars
- Walt Disney World Resorts
- Anywhere federal law prohibits; refer to the Florida Statutes Section 790.6 for the full policy on no-gun zones.
Permitless Carry FAQ’s
It is essential to emphasize the significance of research and understanding when it comes to all state gun laws and personal rights to carry firearms.
To ensure compliance and avoid potential legal consequences, you must take the time to study and comprehend the specific statutes, regulations, and requirements in your state.
Some common questions about Florida gun laws as answered on US Concealed Carry Association:
- What Happens if My Concealed Weapon is Accidentally Exposed? Brandishing a weapon outside of self-defense and with rude, careless, angry or threatening actions can be seen as guilty of improper exhibition of a firearm. Consult a legal professional for policy and assistance on further questions regarding these matters.
- Do I need a license to Conceal Carry Outside of Florida? There are 37 states offering a reciprocation of law for concealed carry but only with a conceal carry card.
- Do I need a License to Buy a Gun in Florida? No, you do not need a license to purchase a gun in Florida.
- Does this Law Apply to Non-Florida Residents? Florida provides a non-resident permit for those from out of state.
- Does this Law Alter Firearm Purchase Laws? This permitless carry law does not change the policy regarding purchasing firearms and the 3-day waiting period, along with age requirement, remains.
Why You May Still Want a Concealed Carry Permit
Many consider the concealed carry permit valuable and necessary for the following reasons:
- A Florida concealed carry permit is recognized in 37 states under reciprocation laws.
- You receive extra firearm safety training and education. Firearm safety training not only fosters confidence and empowers individuals to handle firearms safely and effectively but promotes community education and awareness. By participating in training programs, individuals can become advocates for responsible firearm ownership, spreading knowledge about safe practices and helping to reduce accidents and misuse.
- Provides identification and securities if your gun is used in a public self-defense scenario. In an unfortunate event such as a self-defense incident, having a gun permit can provide legal protection by demonstrating that the individual has undergone a background check, met certain eligibility requirements.
- Waiver of 3-day waiting period to purchase a firearm. In situations where immediate access to a firearm is desired for personal protection, having a permit can expedite the process of acquiring a firearm legally.