Florida's new concealed carry laws have been a topic of much discussion and debate among gun owners and advocates across the state. These laws allow individuals to carry concealed weapons without a permit in certain situations.
While supporters argue the new law strengthens Second Amendment rights and promotes self-defense, critics raise concerns about potential safety issues. Keep reading to learn more about how this new concealed carry law affects your rights.
Deconstructing Florida's New Concealed Carry Law
On July 1, 2023, Governor Ron DeSantis signed Florida’s new permit-free concealed carry law. While this law allows individuals more leeway in carrying their firearms, gun owners must take the time to read about the new laws to ensure they remain compliant with both state and federal laws.
Clarifying Concealed Carry Law Misconceptions
Contrary to widespread misbeliefs, the new concealed carry law does not transform Florida into an open carry state. The law is often called "permitless carry" since it eliminates the need for a gun permit.
Under the new law, individuals can carry a concealed weapon without a permit during a mandatory evacuation or a state of emergency declared by the Governor or local authority due to a natural or man-made disaster. This means that individuals evacuating their homes because of a hurricane, wildfire, or other emergency can legally carry a concealed weapon for self-defense without needing a permit. It’s important to note that this provision only applies during the evacuation and doesn’t condone individuals carrying a concealed weapon without a permit at other times.
In addition to the provision regarding mandatory evacuations, the new law also allows individuals to carry a concealed weapon without a permit while engaging in outdoor activities, such as hunting, fishing, or camping.
Regulations For Carrying A Concealed Weapon Despite The Change
This reform doesn't relieve anyone from defying federal laws and regulations on gun ownership. The firearm laws that have remained the same include the following:
- Must Be Legally Allowed to Own a Firearm: An individual carrying a concealed weapon without a permit must be a U.S. citizen at least 21 years of age and not be otherwise prohibited from owning a firearm.
- Must Not Be Under the Influence: Individuals must not be under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- Must Not Carry a Weapon in Certain Locations: Individuals cannot carry concealed weapons in certain locations, such as schools, government buildings, courthouses, and airports.
- Must Not Use Deadly Force Unnecessarily: The use of deadly force in self-defense is only permitted under specific circumstances.
Details On Florida's Concealed Carry Permit Process
Despite the recent changes to Florida's concealed carry laws, individuals still need a concealed carry permit to carry a concealed weapon in most situations. The process to obtain a concealed carry permit is as follows:
- Complete an application either online or by mail.
- Applicants must submit their fingerprints for a background check.
- An application fee covers the cost of processing, fingerprinting, and issuing the license.
- After documentation is submitted, there is usually a waiting period during which the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services processes the application.
The Possible Impact Of Florida’s New Gun Law
Lawmakers, law enforcement, and gun owners in the state are still debating the impact and consequences of Florida's new concealed carry law. With the new law in effect, people are discussing how this could affect the state.
Potential Increase In Firearm-related Incidents
Data from 2019 to 2020 shows a worrisome 20% increase in violent crimes involving firearms in Florida. Studies have also found that more permissive concealed carry laws are associated with an 11% increase in firearm homicides.
Eliminating the concealed carry permit requirement could lead to an influx of individuals carrying firearms without proper training or background checks, increasing the risk of accidents and intentional misuse.
Police officers are concerned that it could become more difficult to distinguish between law-abiding citizens and potential threats, which could lead to dangerous situations. These concerns highlight the complex issues surrounding this legislation and the need for careful evaluation of its effectiveness in the future.
Statistics About Gun Violence’s Impact
While it’s challenging to forecast the exact effect of Florida's new concealed carry law on gun violence statistics, there are some predictions on what the state could see.
|Rise in firearm workplace-related homicides
|Looser concealed carry laws have been linked with a significant increase in firearm workplace-related homicides, as per research findings.
|Higher violent crime rate due to permitless carry
|States that have removed or loosened concealed carry permit requirements have seen a 13-15% increase in violent crime rates.
|Increased public safety concerns
|Considering Florida already had the 19th highest rate of gun violence in July 2022, the new law might exacerbate public safety concerns.
|Opposition to permitless carry
|With 77% of Floridians opposing permitless carry and over 80% of gun owners, non-gun owners, Republicans, and Democrats in the state echoing this sentiment, there is substantial concern the new law will make the state less safe.
Perspectives On The New Gun Law
The law has sparked fierce debate among various groups and highlights the polarizing nature of gun rights legislation in America.
Advocates For Constitutional Rights And Self-defense
Advocates for constitutional rights and self-defense strongly support Florida's new concealed carry laws. They argue that these laws uphold the Second Amendment right to bear arms and allow individuals to protect themselves in potentially dangerous situations.
These supporters believe that law-abiding citizens should be able to carry firearms without unnecessary restrictions or permits because they trust responsible gun owners to use their weapons responsibly.
They emphasize the importance of self-defense as a fundamental right and argue that it should not require government authorization or oversight. Advocates also argue that concealed firearm carry can deter crime and contribute to a safer society.
Opposition And Concerns From Gun Control Advocates
On the other hand, gun control advocates argue that eliminating safety training and permit requirements may increase the risk of accidental shootings, firearms falling into the wrong hands, and an overall threat to public safety.
They fear a potential escalation of violence in already volatile situations if individuals can carry concealed firearms without proper background checks or supervision. These concerns are further reinforced by polling data showing that most Floridians, including gun owners, oppose permit-free carry.
Critics fault the lack of training and question whether individuals have the necessary knowledge and skills to handle firearms responsibly.
Penalties For Illegally Carrying Without A Permit
While the law changes the requirements for obtaining a concealed carry permit and allows individuals to carry a concealed weapon without a permit in certain situations, it does not mean carrying a concealed weapon is without consequences.
Under Florida law, carrying a concealed weapon without a permit is a third-degree felony, punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000. Additionally, individuals convicted of carrying a concealed weapon without a permit will have their firearms confiscated and may lose their right to own guns.
Individuals found to have possessed a weapon while under the influence of drugs or alcohol can be charged with a first-degree misdemeanor. This is punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.
It’s important to remember that the penalties for violating Florida's gun laws can be severe and have long-lasting consequences that extend far beyond the immediate legal consequences. A conviction for a gun-related offense can result in losing employment opportunities, difficulty obtaining housing, and damage to personal relationships.
Contact An Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney Today
If you’re facing charges related to carrying a concealed weapon without a permit or any other gun-related offense, you need legal counsel. The Weinstein Legal Team has a proven track record of success in representing clients charged with gun-related crimes and is prepared to provide the guidance and representation you need.
Call us today at (954) 845-0505 to schedule a free consultation and learn more about how we can help you protect your rights and defend against the charges you’re facing.