Gun violence is a common conversation in Florida and all throughout the U.S. There is a lot of public pressure to reduce gun violence throughout the country, so weapons offense cases can often mean facing the harshest penalties in Florida.
That’s why it’s so crucial to know and understand gun laws in Florida, especially the new open carry laws. At Fletcher + Fletcher, our Florida-based team of defense attorneys knows your options, and we lay them out for you below.
How have firearm carry laws changed in Florida?
In March 2023, the Florida Senate voted for HB 543, and it wasn’t long before Governor DeSantis signed it into law. Thanks to that bill, Florida residents can legally carry a firearm without a concealed weapons license as of July 1, 2023.
However, this law is not universally applicable. There are some stipulations about this law that are important to understand so you don’t find yourself in legal trouble.
There are some locations exempt from concealed carry laws, where concealed carry is not allowed. Some of these include:
- Police, sheriff and highway patrol stations
- Detention facilities, prisons or jails
- Courthouses and courtrooms
- Polling places
- K-12 schools
- Colleges and universities
- Athletic events not related to firearms
- Career centers
- And more
There are other areas where concealed carry is not permitted in Florida. It is important to research all of these locations to avoid legal consequences.
Is open carry legal in Florida?
While concealed carry is now legal in many public places in Florida, open carry is still banned in many places throughout the state.
According to Florida Statutes 776.012 and 776.032, you may be subject to criminal charges when displaying a handgun in a situation that cannot be legally justified as self defense.
However, like many laws, there are some exceptions to the open carry ban in Florida.
Lawful open carry in Florida
As a gun owner, you will want to know where you are allowed to openly carry a weapon.
Some of these are listed below:
- To and from hunting, fishing, camping and the gun range
- In your own home
- In your place of business
There are different conditions for visitors and employees at your home and business. For example, did you know a guest cannot lawfully open carry on your property, but an employee can open carry at their business should the business owner allow it?
Open carry laws are nuanced and specific, so legal aid from a defense attorney is always in your best interest.
Weapons offense cases in Florida
What happens if you mistakenly break one of the permitless concealed carry or open carry laws in Florida? These are known as weapons offense cases, and unfortunately Florida often builds aggressive prosecution cases against anyone that may have been involved with a gun in an unlawful capacity.
Some examples of weapon offenses in Florida include:
- Felon in possession of a firearm
- Improper exhibition of a firearm or dangerous weapon
- Unlawful discharge of firearm
- Illegal sale of firearm
- Using firearm while committing a crime
- Using firearm under the influence
As you can see, unlawful carrying can be considered a weapons offense in Florida.
Penalties for weapon offenses in Florida
Prosecutors can aggressively approach weapons offense cases, and if you are charged you can face harsh sentencing. For example, improper exhibition of a firearm or dangerous weapon can result in up to one year in prison and up to a $1,000 fine.
Contact Fletcher + Fletcher Florida Open Carry Lawyers Today
Having spent our entire careers in criminal defense, we at Fletcher + Fletcher know that aggressive prosecutions in weapons offense cases can mean people are denied second chances and handed unreasonable punishments. However, we have years of experience with weapons offense cases in Florida, so we come to the table with all the necessary experience and sensitivity to handle them.
Contact us today to schedule your free consultation.