West Palm Beach Criminal Defense Attorney Explains Florida Concealed Weapons Law
Criminal defense lawyer Andrew Stine clarifies Florida concealed weapons laws and describes when carrying a concealed firearm is illegal.
In Florida, the estimated number of firearms is well over 16 million. Guns are a way of life for many Floridians, says West Palm Beach criminal defense attorney Andrew Stine. Firearm ownership has been on a sharp increase over the past 7 years, not only in Florida but throughout America. So what does Florida law say about carrying a concealed firearm? Under section 790.01(2), Florida Statutes, the law provides that “a person who carries a concealed firearm (without a concealed firearms permit) on or about his or her person commits a felony of the third degree.” Under Florida law, a “concealed firearm” is defined as “any firearm . . . which is carried on or about a person in such a manner as to conceal the firearm from the ordinary sight of another person.”
Under Florida law, the important language in determining whether or not a firearm is concealed to meet the definition of the Fla. Stat. 790.01 and to be in violation of it is divided into two parts. This two part test for the inquiry asks: (i) “whether or not the firearm is on or about the person” and (ii) “whether it is hidden from the ordinary sight of another person?” The first question of the test can be answered in the affirmative in several ways.
In order for a firearm to be considered on a person or about the person, in the State of Florida, the courts have reasoned that the firearm “must be readily accessible” to the user. Obviously, if a firearm is concealed and actually on a person like in their pocket, waistband, inside a boot or affixed to any part of their body it is by law readily accessible to the user. But what about if the firearm is not on the person? Like in an automobile? Well in Florida, the law is clear as to what is meant by accessible, when it comes to transporting a firearm in an automobile. The entire interior of the automobile is “accessible” under Florida law, when it comes to defining whether or not the firearm is accessible to the driver or any occupants of the automobile, wherever the firearm is concealed. This accessibility includes but is not limited to the glovebox even if it is locked, center console even if it is locked, map pouches, door pockets, underneath the seats, on the floor board and within any other area of the interior of the vehicle.
The second part of the test or inquiry focuses on “whether it is hidden from the ordinary sight of a person?” Florida courts, including the Florida Supreme Court, have always interpreted this part of the statute to mean that “absolute invisibility” is not the standard for which the courts will base their decision. The Florida Supreme Court has said there are “no absolute standards” when it comes to the weapon being possibly visible from a point outside of the vehicle. This means that any weapon being transported in any automobile throughout the State of Florida may be considered “concealed” under Section 790.01.
Florida courts have also interrupted the statute of carrying a concealed weapon in an automobile to be “lawful,” if the ordinary sight of a person can determine that the object is a firearm from their causal observation in their normal associations of life, from outside the automobile.” This means that if an ordinary person, not a trained police officer, can determine from outside of the vehicle that the object resting in its fixed position, inside the automobile, is a firearm or a portion of the exposed object is a firearm, then no “concealment” can be proven by the prosecution and therefore, no crime occurs.
In Florida, it is not illegal to transport a firearm. In Florida, hunters, ranchers, sportsmen, and those taking a firearm for repair or sale have every right to transport their firearms. Under Florida Law, the transportation of a firearm cannot be concealed in the interior of the vehicle, out of sight from an ordinary person from their causal and ordinary observations in their normal associations of life. Simply put, if an ordinary person, with ordinary sight, can gaze into the vehicle and ascertain the object is a firearm, then no concealment can be found under Florida law and therefore, no crime is committed.
If you or a loved one has been arrested, indicted or accused of a firearms charge in Palm Beach County, FL contact criminal lawyer Andrew D. Stine. West Palm Beach criminal defense attorney Andrew D. Stine has been protecting the rights of citizens and their firearm rights for well over a decade. Hire Stine or Do the Time! 561-880-4300