Carrying a concealed firearm is a felony criminal offense in Florida with several exceptions that almost eat the rule. All of the exceptions, of course, require that the person is not otherwise prohibited from carrying a firearm concealed or otherwise. For example, the exceptions do not apply to people who have an active domestic violence injunction, are on probation, or are a convicted felon.
The most obvious exception is if you have a license to carry the concealed firearm. These are easy to get if you’re over 21 and if you are going to carry a concealed firearm it is a good idea to have one.
There is an exception that a citizen can carry a concealed firearm in their vehicle if they are at least 18 years old and the firearm is either securely encased or not readily accessible for immediate use. There is no requirement that the firearm be unloaded. There is an urban myth about something called a two step rule. There is no such rule in Florida law. The best examples of securely encased are your glove box or gun case. The other major exception to the crime of carrying a concealed firearm is if you are in your home or place of business. Whether a location is a place of business has generated some case law as “place of business” is not defined in the statutes.
Most recently, the Fourth District held that a union hall can be a place of business for someone who was essentially working there. The person was responsible for security, the parking lot, dispatch, patrolling the docks, keeping money, and serving as the union’s business agent. Obviously the police officers that arrested him and the State Attorney’s Office that prosecuted him did not think this amounted to a person’s place of business. Probably, the citizen had no idea that he was doing all that work but was not in his place of business. The State after losing the argument at the trial court appealed and argued again on appeal that a union hall could not be a place of business. Fortunately the courts showed some common sense. Unfortunately this person had to be arrested, post a bond or sit in jail, hire an attorney and hope for the best.
If you or a loved one has a case of carrying a concealed firearm or any other criminal charge and are looking to hire an attorney click or call today to see if you case can meet some of the exceptions. For another defense see the blog Granny’s Got a Gun.