Governor Ron DeSantis just signed a bill passed by the Florida legislature, making it legal to carry a concealed weapon without requiring a license or permit. Open carry is still illegal in Florida except in certain circumstances like hunting, camping, and fishing. Why you need to display a gun to go fishing, I don’t know, but it’s legal. DeSantis signed the bill in a ceremony closed to the public but open to high-ranking members of the NRA who love more guns in more places.
Even the so-called “Constitutional carry” of concealed weapons isn’t unrestricted. Florida citizens should know when and where it’s legal to bring their guns, whether exposed or not. Open carry is the simplest to address; unless you’re a law officer or military member, you can’t walk around with a gun, ala Kyle Rittenhouse, except when engaged in hunting, camping, fishing, range shooting, live fire, or shooting competitions. I assume the shooting competitions must be organized or on private property but don’t hold me to it.
Concealed carry has a long list of restricted locations. The permit that used to be required mandated training and demonstrating expertise. All that’s out the window so anyone that can get a gun can walk around with it concealed. Buying a gun in a gun shop does require a background check but buying a gun from a gun show or your neighbor is a simple workaround.
You can’t carry a concealed weapon in a “Place of Nuisance.” There is a legal definition that is vague. You should take it to mean anyplace a law officer says it is. Based on history, you can be sure Florida will decide who is and isn’t a nuisance in a fair and non-discriminatory manner.
(a) A building, booth, tent, or place that tends to annoy the community or injure the health of the community, or becomes manifestly injurious to the morals or manners of the people as provided in s. 823.01.
You might be surprised to learn that the very people who insist people have the right to catty concealed weapons in most places don’t want guns anywhere near them. Don’t try bringing your concealed firearms to the Legislature, capital, or any government function.
- Any meeting of the Legislature or a legislative committee
- Any meeting of the governing body of a county, public school district, municipality, or special District.
- Any courthouse
- Any courtroom
- Any polling place
Not so surprising is that the police don’t want guns around everywhere. Police forces were against the legislation that made them less safe, but their power was no match for the NRA and the Republican Party. Here are a couple of other places not to bring your weapons:
- Any police, sheriff, or highway patrol station
- Any detention facility, prison, or jail
Given that Florida has been the site of multiple mass shootings, schools are places where weapons aren’t allowed. Florida is pushing for more police officers in schools (school resource officers), and each District can now authorize their teachers to carry guns. What could go wrong?
- Any school, college, or professional athletic event not related to firearms
- Any school administration building
Private businesses are a bit tricky. A business owner can carry a gun openly or concealed, but they can also post signs forbidding guns at their location. Employees don’t need permission from their bosses unless carrying a firearm is expressly prohibited; it’s presumed to be okay. Disney World has a strict policy against guns in its theme parks and hotels. Even off-duty police officers can’t carry their weapons on their property. Publix asks nicely that customers don’t open carry but has no policy against concealed carry, which means it’s okay. You’re good with your concealed weapon at Walmart as well.
“Publix respectfully requests that only law enforcement officials openly carry firearms in our stores,”
Concealed carry is okay at the dentist or doctor’s office unless you see a sign. What do you do with your gun if ever you have to disrobe and put on one of those gowns that are open in the back? It’s likely your concealed weapon will no longer be hidden. You could always leave it in the chair with your clothes, that sounds safe. Concert or sports venues can’t prohibit you from bringing guns though most promoters of events forbid them.
Florida will likely go back and make open carry legal like it is in Alabama. That can be Florida’s new state motto, “We’re Like Alabama!” That will make all Floridians proud.
This post was previously published on MEDIUM.COM.
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