With new laws taking effect soon, Florida’s gun ownership and concealed carry laws have recently been a topic of significant discussion and debate. While some argue that gun-free zones can inadvertently create opportunities for violence, these restrictions play an important role in reducing firearm-related incidents and creating safer communities throughout the Sunshine State.
If you’re among the many gun owners in Florida, keep reading to learn about where you can and cannot carry a gun to save yourself from difficult run-ins with the law.
What Are “Gun-Free Zones”?
Florida’s gun-free zones are designated locations where possessing firearms and other weapons are prohibited. These areas are intended to provide public safety by limiting the potential for armed conflict or accidental discharge in places where large numbers of people congregate.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis recently signed a law allowing Floridians to carry guns without a concealed weapons license beginning July 1, 2023. However, this law only applies to concealed guns and doesn’t allow individuals to openly carry firearms in public without a permit.
Florida’s Gun-Free Zones
These gun-free zones are established by Florida Statute 790.06 Section 12a. It’s important to note that even if a location isn’t listed, private businesses may still post "no guns allowed" signs on their premises. While these signs aren’t legally binding, it’s considerate to respect the property owner's wishes and exercise responsible gun ownership.
Government Buildings And Property
Gun carriers must comply with restrictions on carrying firearms in government buildings and their properties. Government buildings part that fall under this category includes:
- State and Federal government buildings
- Legislative meeting locations
- Police, highway patrol, or sheriff locations
- Detention facilities, jail, or prison
- Polling places
Courthouses And Judicial Offices
In Florida, courthouses and judicial offices are among the top locations where firearms are strictly banned. These restrictions encompass not just the courtrooms but the entire courthouse premises and surrounding areas.
Under Florida law, individuals may only bring weapons or firearms into courthouses or court offices with the presiding judge's permission.
Airports And Aircraft
Concealing guns in airports is legal under Florida law. If you possess a concealed carry permit, you may transport your firearm in your checked baggage as long as it’s properly registered and stored.
However, firearms aren’t allowed in "sterile areas" of airports and airplanes, including terminals and other locations beyond security checkpoints or on board an aircraft directly on your person.
Bars And Restaurants That Serve Alcohol
Individuals aren’t allowed to carry firearms in establishments where alcohol is served. These places typically include bars, restaurants with bar sections, and other venues where alcoholic drinks are sold and consumed on-site.
However, it's important to note that while carrying a firearm is prohibited in the bar section of a restaurant, it may still be allowed in other parts of the establishment, such as the dining area, provided that no alcohol is being consumed.
Sports Venues And Arenas
Firearms are strictly forbidden in all sporting facilities and arenas unless the event is gun-related.
This rule applies to all professional and amateur sporting events, including high school games, college tournaments, and major professional leagues such as the NBA, NFL, MLB, and NHL.
Schools And Educational Institutions
Aside from authorized school resource officers, persons participating in legal firearms competitions or programs, or those with written permission from school officials, firearms on school grounds aren’t allowed. The federal Gun-Free School Zones Act also prohibits possessing a gun within 1,000 feet of a school.
Educational institutions that fall under this law include:
- Public and private schools - grades K through 12
- Colleges, universities, and other post-secondary institutions
- Vocational and technical schools
- Daycare centers on school campuses
Consequences Of Violating Florida’s Gun-Free Zone Laws
Depending on the severity of the offense and whether or not the individual has a prior criminal record, revocation of the concealed carry license may be considered an appropriate consequence.
In other cases, violating Florida’s gun-free zone laws is considered a second-degree misdemeanor and is punishable by a $500 fine or up to 60 days in jail.
Carrying a concealed firearm without a permit is considered a third-degree felony in Florida until July 1 and is punishable by up to five years in prison or probation and a fine of up to $5,000.
If a person with a prior felony conviction violates Florida's gun-free zone laws, they can be charged with a second-degree felony. This offense is punishable by imprisonment for up to fifteen years and a fine not to exceed $10,000.
Hire An Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney Today
If you’ve violated any of these gun-free zone laws, it's time to take action and get the expert advice you need. Weinstein Legal has decades of experience helping those navigate the complex world of firearms laws and regulations. Our attorneys are well-versed in gun law cases and are ready to represent you during this difficult time.
Don't wait any longer. Call Weinstein Legal today at (888) 626-1108 or contact us online to schedule your FREE consultation. Our team is available to answer your questions, address your concerns, and help you protect your Second Amendment rights.