Florida firearm and gun laws regulate the sale, possession, and use of weapons, as well as provide penalties for offenses. As a rule, it is illegal to openly carry a weapon in Florida and a license is required for anyone to carry a concealed gun or firearm.
License to Carry Gun or Firearm
Only adults are allowed to obtain a firearms license in Florida, and the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is authorized to issue a concealed handgun license. The license, however, does not include ownership or possession of any machine gun.
The license also does not authorize the licensee to openly carry a handgun or carry a concealed firearm into any:
- Courthouse or courtroom
- Polling place
- School, college, or professional athletic event not related to firearms
- Elementary or secondary school facility or administration building
- Establishment licensed to dispense alcoholic beverages
- College or university facility
- Passenger terminal and sterile area of any airport
- Police station
- Any other place where firearms are prohibited under federal law
Misdemeanor Gun Crimes
Specific acts involving guns and firearms are prohibited in Florida. Depending on the circumstances of the defendant, a situation involving guns and firearms may be charged as a misdemeanor or felony. It is a misdemeanor for:
- A person who is licensed, to carry a concealed firearm and to briefly display the firearm in a threatening or angry manner
- A person to knowingly and willfully carry a concealed firearm into specific areas such as schools, courthouses, detention facilities, or polling places
- A person to openly carry a handgun into areas such as schools, courthouses, detention facilities, and polling places
If you are charged with a misdemeanor gun crime, the penalty for it may include imprisonment of up to 1 year and a fine of up to $1,000.
Other offenses involving guns and firearms may be charged as felonies, such as the open carry of a firearm when one is licensed or the unlicensed carrying of a concealed firearm. A licensed importer or dealer of firearms may also be charged for a felony involving the sale or delivery of a firearm to a person without first conducting a criminal history check and before receiving an approval for the potential buyer to purchase the firearm.
A licensed retailer who also fails to observe the 3-day waiting period between the purchase and delivery of a handgun to a buyer may also be charged with a gun felony.
Gun Charge Defenses
Anyone who is charged with a firearm offense may be entitled to defenses that may lead to the dismissal of the charge or a reduction of the charge and corresponding penalty. For instance, it is not an offense for a person who is licensed to carry a gun to openly carry a firearm while hunting, fishing, camping, or while going to and from such activities.
Likewise, a gun that is displayed in the act of self defense may be justified under the circumstances. [Sec. 790.01(2)].
Importance of Vero Beach Criminal Defense Attorney
Florida firearms laws are strict and complex. Being charged with illegal gun possession can mean jail time. You may be innocent of the charge or have a legal reason for openly carrying a firearm or your constitutional rights may have been violated in the process of being arrested. In any case, if you are charged with a gun crime, it’s important that you seek the advice of a skilled and experienced criminal defense attorney immediately.
Your attorney can examine all the angles of your case and the charges against you, weigh the evidence, and determine viable legal options in your situation. Your lawyer should also be prepared to fight for you in court and raise appropriate objections in a timely manner, according to Florida’s rules of procedure and mindful of the prevailing case law on the matter.
In Stuart, Florida, the Law Offices of Keith Bregoff, PA is backed by over 23 years of litigation experience, both in criminal prosecution and defense of a wide range of offenses including gun charges. Mr. Bregoff personally handles all aspects of the firm’s cases and will work very hard to obtain a favorable outcome for you. Our firm also handles other types of criminal cases such as DUI charges, drug charges, white collar crimes, and fraud.
Call us today at (772) 492-8967 to set up a free initial consultation with Mr. Bregoff.