The laws regulating the carrying of concealed weapons can be complicated. There are many requirements for obtaining a license to carry a concealed weapon, and several restrictions on where it may be carried. Additionally, the unlawful possession of a concealed weapon has the potential for severe consequences.
License to Carry a Concealed Weapon
Under Florida law, the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (DACS) has the responsibility for the issuance of licenses to carry concealed weapons. A weapon is considered concealed if it is carried by a person in such a way as to conceal it from the ordinary sight of another person. Concealed weapons may include a handgun, electronic weapon or device, tear gas gun, knife, or billie, but not a machine gun.
In order to receive a license to carry a concealed weapon, the applicant must, among other requirements:
- be at least 21 years old;
- be a U.S. resident and citizen;
- provide proof that the individual completed a course or class related to weapon/firearm safety; and
- desire to carry the concealed weapon or firearm for lawful self-defense.
A license to carry a concealed weapon is valid for seven years and is renewable. The license holder must carry the license and a valid form of identification when carrying the weapon. Further instructions on the process for applying for a license can be found at the DACS website.
Importantly, the issuance of a license to carry a concealed weapon does not grant the license holder the right to carry a concealed weapon any place he or she pleases. There are many places where a concealed weapon may not be carried, such as a courthouse, police station, or athletic event not related to firearms. Carrying a weapon into a prohibited place is a misdemeanor of the second degree with maximum penalties of a jail term of up to 60 days and a fine of up to $500.
Penalties for Unlawfully Carrying a Concealed Weapon
Carrying a concealed weapon or an electric weapon or device without a license to do so is a first degree misdemeanor, which is punishable by a jail sentence of up to one year and a fine of up to $1,000. An individual who carries a concealed firearm without a license to do so commits a third degree felony, which is punishable by a prison sentence of up to five years and a fine of up to $5,000.
However, the following may be carried in a concealed manner without a license to do so if they are carried for lawful self-defense:
- Self-defense chemical spray; or
- A non-lethal stun gun or dart-firing stun gun or other non-lethal electric weapon or device designed solely for defense.
Providing the Help You Need
If you have been charged with the unlawful carrying of a concealed weapon, you need experienced legal representation. The south Florida attorneys at Farkas & Crowley, P.A. have the experience and knowledge required to help you protect your rights. If you are facing a charge related to carrying a concealed weapon, please contact us today.