03 Oct 23

Concealed Carry Laws in Florida: Permit Requirements and Self Defense

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Last Updated on: 3rd November 2023, 07:11 pm


Concealed Carry Laws in Florida: Permit Requirements and Self Defense

Hey there, my friend! If you’re reading this, you’re probably interested in learning about Florida’s concealed carry laws. I don’t blame you – it’s pretty confusing stuff. I’m just a regular dude who did a bunch of research, so let me break it down for you in simple terms.

The big thing to know is that in 2023, Florida passed a law saying you don’t need a permit anymore to carry a hidden gun in public[1]. They call it “permitless carry” or “constitutional carry.” So if you’re legally allowed to own a gun, you can conceal it and take it with you without any special license.

Now, just cause you don’t need a permit doesn’t mean you can’t get one if you want. Florida still has permits – they just made ’em optional now. They can be good to have in case you travel to other states that require them. Let’s talk about who can get a Florida permit:

  • You gotta be 21 or older
  • A U.S. citizen or permanent resident alien
  • No physical disabilities that prevent safe gun handling
  • Not convicted of a felony
  • Haven’t abused drugs or alcohol lately
  • Want it for lawful self-defense
  • Show you know how to handle a gun safely
  • Not prohibited by any other laws from having guns

You also can’t have a restraining order against you that says you can’t have guns. Makes sense[2]. To get a permit, you’ll need to take a safety course or show you’ve used guns a lot before[3]. Oh, and the permit lasts 7 years before you gotta renew it[1].

Now, let’s be clear – just cause you can carry concealed doesn’t mean you can do it anywhere. There’s a bunch of places even permit holders can’t bring hidden heat[6]:

  • Courthouses
  • Schools
  • Jails and prisons
  • Places that serve alcohol
  • Polling places on voting day
  • Airport terminals
  • Federal government buildings

If you get caught taking a concealed gun into one of those spots, you could get slapped with a misdemeanor even if you have a permit[5]. So be careful where you pack!

Now what happens if you get caught concealing without a permit in Florida? Well, it depends on what kind of weapon we’re talking about:

  • Concealed weapon (knives, knuckles, tear gas, etc.) – 1st degree misdemeanor, up to 1 year in jail and $1,000 fine
  • Concealed firearm – 3rd degree felony, up to 5 years in prison or probation and $5,000 fine

It’s worse if you’re a convicted felon – then it becomes a 2nd degree felony with up to 15 years in the slammer and a $10,000 fine[5]. Yikes!

The penalties are no joke, so make sure you know the law before strapping on a hidden friend in Florida. Now let’s switch gears and talk about self defense and when you can use deadly force if threatened.

Florida’s self defense laws give you the right to meet force with force if you reasonably believe you’re at risk of death or great bodily harm. Reasonably is the key word there. You gotta judge it like a normal person would based on the situation[4].

Now if someone breaks into your home, car or workplace, you’re presumed to have a reasonable fear of harm under Florida law. So you can use force – even deadly force if you think it’s needed – to stop the intruder without worrying about getting charged yourself. This is called the Castle Doctrine[3].

Outside of your “castle,” self defense gets more complicated in Florida. You have a “duty to retreat” if you can do so safely before using force. The exception is if you’re in a place you legally have a right to be – then you don’t have to run first if threatened[3].

Bottom line – know when it’s okay to pull your concealed carry piece in self defense, or you could end up being the one in legal jeopardy! It’s best to avoid confrontations whenever possible. But if forced to draw, use good judgement based on the unique situation.

Whew, that was a lot of info! Florida’s concealed carry and self defense laws can be confusing, but I tried to break it down nice and easy. Let me know if you have any other questions! Stay safe out there.