Conceal and carry laws in the United States govern how and when citizens can carry a licensed firearm. These laws vary from state to state, which is why it's important to know the laws where you live as they may be very different from where you have lived in the past. Florida was the first state to adopt a "shall issue" policy when it comes to arbitrarily denying concealed weapons permits from other regions.
For citizens that do not have a concealed weapons permit, it is against the law to carry a concealed handgun outside the home. Florida statute 790.01 states that anyone found to be carrying a concealed firearm will be charged with a third-degree felony. Concealed weapons of any kind are also unlawful, and those found to be possessing such weapons (which do not include nonlethal stun guns or chemical sprays) will be charged with a first-degree misdemeanor.
Concealed Weapons License
Concealed weapons licenses may be issued to persons over the age of 21, according to Florida statute 790.06. These licenses are issued by the Department of Agriculture, and are valid for a period of seven years. Potential applicants must be residents of the United States and free of any infirmity that would hinder them from the safe use of a firearm. Those with a felony background are not eligible for a concealed weapons permit.
Obtaining a Permit
Provided the applicant meets the minimum requirements for obtaining a concealed weapons permit, he must demonstrate proficiency with a firearm by completing one of several possible tasks. A hunter education or safety course is one permissible demonstration; completion of a National Rifle Association training course is another. Other means include taking a firearms safety and education course given to the public by law enforcement, the presenting of evidence of long-time use and knowledge of firearms (such as participation in gun clubs), or having a license from another eligible state.
Even with a permit to conceal and carry a firearm in the state of Florida, there are certain places where it is never legal to carry the gun. These places include any "place of nuisance (casino or gambling hall, for instance), any police or sheriff's station, any jail or courthouse, any courtroom, any polling place, any place that serves alcohol as its main function (bars, night clubs), and any school or athletic event. There are also restrictions on carrying a firearm into an airport, so it is always best to check ahead for the proper procedure to check firearms as baggage.
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