The nature of Florida’s gun ownership laws allows all residents over the age of 21 to possess a weapon if they so choose. That said, gun owners must abide by certain restrictions when maintaining, transporting, and/or using their weapons. In most cases, for example, gun owners are not allowed to keep their weapons in their cars. Doing so qualifies as the open carrying of a weapon. There are certain environments and circumstances that can impact your right to keep a gun in your vehicle, however. Should you work within these exceptions, you may have the right to keep a weapon in your vehicle.
Without abiding by these exceptions, however, Florida law enforcement may charge you in criminal court. Fortunately, you can collaborate with a criminal defense attorney in Naples, FL to contest the charges brought against you.
Conceal and Carry Laws in Florida
In general, Florida allows its residents to carry concealed weapons with the appropriate licenses. You must have a license if you want to avoid criminal gun charges for carrying a weapon in public.
That said, the right to maintain a gun in your car is behavior not considered protected by Florida’s concealed carry laws. If you’re accused of maintaining a weapon in your car, you may face criminal charges regardless of whether or not you possess the appropriate licenses.
To abide by the conceal and carry laws in Florida, you can collaborate with Florida’s Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Note that you must have your license both to maintain a weapon on your person and to benefit from the exceptions that may allow you to keep a weapon in your car.
Exceptions to Florida’s Concealed Carry Laws
If you feel the need to carry a concealed weapon in your car, you must abide by the exceptions written into Florida’s possession laws by its private conveyance statute. This statute states that individuals who wish to carry a concealed weapon in a moving vehicle must be at least 18 years old. These parties must also present a reasonable explanation for why they wish to maintain their gun in their car. Furthermore, the statute states that the gun cannot be on a person’s body while it is in the car. Rather, it must be in the glove box or a similar safe location while the car is in motion.
Finally, drivers cannot have easy access to their guns. Road rage, for example, may make it dangerous for a driver with a history of violence to maintain such a weapon in their car within easy reach.
Police officers who discover an easy-to-access weapon in a vehicle, regardless of their possession of a concealed carry license, may choose to remove that weapon from their possession. With that in mind, it’s best to keep this subset of the statutes in mind so as to best stay within the vines of the law.
Protect Yourself From the Seizure of the Weapon in Your Car
If you find yourself pulled over on the side of the road, but otherwise in compliance with all of the aforementioned subsections of Florida’s concealed vehicular weapon statutes, you still have responsibilities that you must fulfill. While you are not legally obligated to inform the police officer who pulled you over that you have a weapon in the car, it may be in your best interest.
Open communication about your possession of a weapon, so long as it is presented non-threateningly, can prevent roadside tickets from becoming unnecessarily aggressive.
Florida Criminal Defense Attorneys Protect Your Right to Keep a Weapon in Your Car
If you abide by the appropriate statutes, Florida residents in possession of the appropriate permits and of the appropriate ages can have a gun in their car. There are some occasions, however, in which law enforcement may act to charge someone with the inappropriate possession of a weapon regardless of applicable permitting or demographics.
Should you feel that your right to carry a weapon has been infringed upon by Florida law enforcement, you can contest the charges leveled against you. At the Law Office of Robert H. Hanaford, our criminal defense attorney can stand with you as you bring your argument before a criminal judge.