The Second Amendment right to bear arms is important to many people in Florida, but this right does come with a few gun restrictions intended for the greater good and public safety. You should know where you can’t carry a firearm to prevent getting arrested for a firearms charge.
Although the list below is not exhaustive, it does contain more information about some of the most common locations where people may not carry their weapons and answers common questions like, “Can you carry a gun in your car?” or “Where can I carry my gun in Florida?” Make sure to always check local regulations.
If you make a mistake and violate Florida regulations for firearms possession, contact an experienced gun charges lawyer to help protect your rights and avoid severe penalties.
Florida gun regulations may not extend to certain locations considered federal property or federal facilities. Federal buildings, from a courthouse to the post office or the local Social Security Administration branch, are places you can’t carry a firearm unless you have a specific permit and are authorized to have a weapon per 18 U.S.C. 930.
The regulation is in place to ensure the safety of federal workers and those with business at a federal agency. In these situations, the federal government's laws precede Florida regulations regarding weapons possession.
Another place you can’t carry a firearm is a university campus or other school building or property. School campuses encompass all levels of education, from primary to higher education institutions. Carrying a firearm on school property is illegal under federal laws.
Florida law considers the unlawful discharge or firing of a firearm on school grounds a felony, with serious criminal charges for the perpetrator. It could be easy to make a mistake in these situations.
For example, you cannot carry a firearm to watch a high school football game because the event is a school function. Nor can you bring your gun to church if the church has a preschool — even if the school isn’t in session when you’re on the property.
Florida laws about carrying firearms to a bar or restaurant are tricky. First, it’s illegal for people to have a firearm in a place that serves alcohol. This law isn’t unique to Florida — most states have laws prohibiting restaurant or bar patrons from having a weapon because the chances of violence when people drink are higher.
Furthermore, Florida law answers, “is it illegal to carry a gun while intoxicated?” Per s. 790.151, any person under the influence of alcohol may not carry a gun. There is a higher risk that someone intoxicated may be irresponsible with the firearm and an increased chance of a dangerous accidental discharge. Learn how a DUI can effect you gun ownership rights.
There are a couple of caveats to banning guns in bars and restaurants. If a patron is dining in a restaurant but not in the designated bar area, and there is no alcohol served at the table, they may be permitted to have their firearm.
However, most restaurants err on the side of caution and prohibit any weapons on any section of the property, whether the patron drinks or not.
We noted above that in some cases, the answer to “is it illegal to carry a gun in a church?” would be yes. One example is in places with a school on the church grounds.
Religious institutions, like churches, synagogues, and mosques, are intended to be peaceful, safe places for people to gather and worship. As such, many places of worship prohibit firearms on their property, even if no school is on campus.
As a private institution, a place of worship can restrict firearms on its grounds, and people who wish to attend services or other events on the premises must adhere to the posted policy.
Many people ask if it is illegal to carry a gun in your car if you are parking at one of the places where you cannot bring the weapon. If you have your gun but can’t bring carry a firearm into the restaurant or on campus, can you simply leave it in your car?
Lawful firearms owners may carry their firearms in their cars. If you can’t bring your gun on the property you’re visiting, leave it in your car to avoid a criminal gun charge.
There is also confusion about how to carry a gun. For example, some ask, “Is it illegal to carry a gun without a holster in Florida?” Florida isn’t an “open carry” state, meaning lawful firearms owners must conceal-carry the weapon. But the weapon can be in any number of containers, like a concealed holster, purse, briefcase, or bag.
If you plan to deposit a large sum of cash or put other valuables in a safety deposit box, you may ask, “is it illegal to carry a gun in a bank?” There is no explicit law forbidding lawful firearms owners from carrying a concealed weapon into a bank in Florida unless the bank in question is considered federal property.
Finally, many people wonder about bringing their firearms on vacation to protect them while traveling. Additionally, our Florida gun charges lawyers are often asked, “can you carry a gun across state lines?” The answer is it depends on where you are going.
Some states have a reciprocity agreement with Florida, which means that gun owners permitted to have a weapon in Florida will have that permit honored in the state they’re visiting. Check the laws of your destination before packing your gun.
If you’re still asking, “where can I carry my gun in Florida?” and you mistakenly bring your firearm to one of the places you can't carry a firearm, it’s critical to seek legal counsel right away.
Florida police officers and prosecutors take gun crimes very seriously; an experienced gun crimes defense attorney may be able to help prove your intent behind carrying the firearm and work to reduce your penalties.
The talented legal team at The Denson Firm has decades of combined experience protecting people just like you who have been charged with a firearms violation or other gun crime. Contact us today to schedule a consultation; don’t try to fight your charges alone!
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