Florida concealed carry permits, which are mandatory in order to carry concealed weapons in the state, were recently promoted by Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd in response to mass shootings.
"If you are not afraid of a gun, get one, become proficient, get a concealed firearms license and carry it. And if you need to shoot somebody, shoot them a lot," Sheriff Judd said to ABC Action News.
There are media reports that Florida has the most CCW permits in the U.S., with official documents from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services as of May 31, 2017 listing 1.943 million active concealed weapon licenses across various categories.
But how do you get one of those permits, and what are its restrictions?
How To Get A Florida Concealed Carry Permit
From July of 2016 through June of 2017, there were 251,963 new Florida concealed carry permit applications received by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, which is the state license issuing authority according to 790.06.
Of them, about 97 percent (244,712) of these initial applications for the seven-year license were approved, according to annual state reports.
Initial applications are completed at one of eight regional offices
Fort Walton Regional Office
111 Racetrack Rd. NW, Unit 111-C, Fort Walton Beach, FL 32547-1816
8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (CST)
Jacksonville Regional Office
7825 Baymeadows Way, Ste. 123-A, Jacksonville, FL 32256-7557
8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (EST)
Miami-Dade Regional Office
7743 NW 48th St., Ste. 100, Doral, FL 33166-5407
8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (EST)
North Port Regional Office
4451 Aidan Lane, Ste. 102, North Port, FL 34287
8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (EST)
Orlando Regional Office
1707 Orlando Central Pkwy., Ste. 150, Orlando, FL 32809-5765
8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (EST)
Tallahassee Regional Office
4040 Esplanade Way, 1st Floor, Ste. 101, Tallahassee, FL 32399-7016
8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (EST)
Tampa Regional Office
4510 Oak Fair Blvd., Ste. 100, Tampa, FL 33610
8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (EST)
West Palm Beach Regional Office
400 N Congress Ave., Ste. 140, West Palm Beach, FL 33401-2912
8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (EST) , at a Florida tax collector's office or by mail. New applicants will need to make an appointment at a regional office, but walk-ins are accepted at these locations for renewal applicants. Renewals, however, may be done online. Some tax collector offices accept walk-ins.
An application doesn't need to be filled out prior to arriving on location, but the applicant will need an official photo ID, a copy of a training certification from a state-approved firearms instruction course as per 790.06 (h) (1-7)"790.06 (h) (1-7): (h) Demonstrates competence with a firearm by any one of the following:
1. Completion of any hunter education or hunter safety course approved by the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission or a similar agency of another state;
2. Completion of any National Rifle Association firearms safety or training course;
3. Completion of any firearms safety or training course or class available to the general public offered by a law enforcement, junior college, college, or private or public institution or organization or firearms training school, utilizing instructors certified by the National Rifle Association, Criminal Justice Standards and Training Commission, or the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services;
4. Completion of any law enforcement firearms safety or training course or class offered for security guards, investigators, special deputies, or any division or subdivision of law enforcement or security enforcement;
5. Presents evidence of equivalent experience with a firearm through participation in organized shooting competition or military service;
6. Is licensed or has been licensed to carry a firearm in this state or a county or municipality of this state, unless such license has been revoked for cause; or
7. Completion of any firearms training or safety course or class conducted by a state-certified or National Rifle Association certified firearms instructor; and the respective fees depending on the location, applicant and license (renewal/new/duplicate).
Renewal licenses require an ID, fees, the license holder's renewal notice and an unsigned application if they're renewing on location.
Those born outside the U.S. should bring their citizenship documentation. Those with arrest charges in their criminal history should bring certified copies of the final disposition of charges. Employed and retired law enforcement officers should bring the respective documentation proving they're currently with or are retired from a Florida law enforcement agency.
For initial and renewal applicants, a photograph will be taken. Initial applicants will have their fingerprints taken, and they'll be required to formally swear and affirm they've been given a copy of Chapter 790, which contains Florida's weapons statutes.
By statutory law"790.06 (6)(c) The Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services shall, within 90 days after the date of receipt of the items listed in subsection (5):
1. Issue the license; or
2. Deny the application based solely on the ground that the applicant fails to qualify under the criteria listed in subsection (2) or subsection (3). If the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services denies the application, it shall notify the applicant in writing, stating the ground for denial and informing the applicant of any right to a hearing pursuant to chapter 120.
3. In the event the department receives criminal history information with no final disposition on a crime which may disqualify the applicant, the time limitation prescribed by this paragraph may be suspended until receipt of the final disposition or proof of restoration of civil and firearm rights." , Florida has up to 90 days to issue or deny the permit. Florida is a "shall issue" state that approves applications based on a few criteria:
- U.S. residency and citizenship, or if one has either permanent resident alien documentation, or proof they're a consular security official of a foreign government
- 21 years old
- Doesn't have a physical infirmity that prevents safe firearms handling
- No felony convictions, pursuant to 790.23
- No controlled substance abuse charges (as per Chapter 893) or commitments
- No alcohol abuse charges under 790.151790.151 Using firearm while under the influence of alcoholic beverages, chemical substances, or controlled substances; penalties.—
(1) As used in ss. 790.151-790.157, to “use a firearm” means to discharge a firearm or to have a firearm readily accessible for immediate discharge.
(2) For the purposes of this section, “readily accessible for immediate discharge” means loaded and in a person’s hand.
(3) It is unlawful and punishable as provided in subsection (4) for any person who is under the influence of alcoholic beverages, any chemical substance set forth in s. 877.111, or any substance controlled under chapter 893, when affected to the extent that his or her normal faculties are impaired, to use a firearm in this state.
(4) Any person who violates subsection (3) commits a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.
(5) This section does not apply to persons exercising lawful self-defense or defense of one’s property. , 856.011"856.011 Disorderly intoxication.—
(1) No person in the state shall be intoxicated and endanger the safety of another person or property, and no person in the state shall be intoxicated or drink any alcoholic beverage in a public place or in or upon any public conveyance and cause a public disturbance.
(2) Any person violating the provisions of this section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.
(3) Any person who shall have been convicted or have forfeited collateral under the provisions of subsection (1) three times in the preceding 12 months shall be deemed a habitual offender and may be committed by the court to an appropriate treatment resource for a period of not more than 60 days. Any peace officer, in lieu of incarcerating an intoxicated person for violation of subsection (1), may take or send the intoxicated person to her or his home or to a public or private health facility, and the law enforcement officer may take reasonable measures to ascertain the commercial transportation used for such purposes is paid for by such person in advance. Any law enforcement officers so acting shall be considered as carrying out their official duty." , two or more driving under the influence charges as per 316.193 or commitments under Chapter 396 or 397
- The applicant desires a legal means to carry a weapon for self-defense
- They have a training certificate
There are disqualifying factors, like mental health adjudications, illnesses and commitments. Domestic violence charges, restraining orders, felony convictions and being prohibited from firearms ownership under state and federal law are all disqualifiers under Florida's shall issue statutes.
Florida Concealed Carry Restrictions Based On Location
Whether one has a Florida concealed carry permit or benefits from a reciprocity agreement, there are 15 identified locations throughout the state that bar firearms on location, as outlined in 790.06 (12)(a).
- Places of nuisance, defined in 823.05"823.05 Places and groups engaged in criminal gang-related activity declared a nuisance; massage establishments engaged in prohibited activity; may be abated and enjoined.—
(1) Whoever shall erect, establish, continue, or maintain, own or lease any building, booth, tent or place which tends to annoy the community or injure the health of the community, or become manifestly injurious to the morals or manners of the people as described in s. 823.01, or any house or place of prostitution, assignation, lewdness or place or building where games of chance are engaged in violation of law or any place where any law of the state is violated, shall be deemed guilty of maintaining a nuisance, and the building, erection, place, tent or booth and the furniture, fixtures, and contents are declared a nuisance. All such places or persons shall be abated or enjoined as provided in ss. 60.05 and 60.06."
- A police, sheriff or highway patrol station
- Detention facilities, prisons or jails
- Courtrooms, but judges can carry on location
- Polling places
- Meetings of governing bodies within counties, public school districts, municipalities or special districts
- Legislature or legislature committee meetings
- School, college or professional athletic events unaffiliated with firearms
- Elementary and secondary school buildings
- Career centers
- Portions of establishments licensed to sell alcohol where alcohol is served
- Colleges or universities, unless one is a student, employee or faculty member and is carrying a stun gun or nonlethal electric weapon, but it may not fire a dart or projectile
- Within a passenger terminal and sterile area of any airport, except when it's legally carried inside for shipment within a case
- Federal locations that restrict firearms
Employers may not condition employment on the pretense of firearms ownership and may not limit employees from safely storing firearms within their vehicle, under 790.251. Similarly, this statute finds it a constitutional right to stow legally owned firearms for self-defense in a motor vehicle.
The state allows certain freedoms for owning and possessing firearms in the home; during certain recreational activities like hunting, camping and fishing; while practicing at an indoor or outdoor range; while in private conveyance so long as the weapon is stored and encased; while commuting to or from the point of purchase, to their home or to their business; and in other locations or circumstances, according to 790.25.
According to 790.145, carrying a concealed firearm in a pharmacy is a third degree felony, with an exception for CCW permit holders, law enforcement and those who is employed and authorized by management.
If one is found carrying a concealed firearm on their person in public, they may be found to have committed a third degree felony under 790.01"790.01 (1) Except as provided in subsection (3), a person who is not licensed under s. 790.06 and who carries a concealed weapon or electric weapon or device on or about his or her person commits a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.
(2) Except as provided in subsection (3), a person who is not licensed under s. 790.06 and who carries a concealed firearm on or about his or her person commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084." .
If a concealed carrier is in public and is confronted with danger, there is a justifiable use of force statute, as per 776.012:
(1) A person is justified in using or threatening to use force, except deadly force, against another when and to the extent that the person reasonably believes that such conduct is necessary to defend himself or herself or another against the other’s imminent use of unlawful force. A person who uses or threatens to use force in accordance with this subsection does not have a duty to retreat before using or threatening to use such force.
(2) A person is justified in using or threatening to use deadly force if he or she reasonably believes that using or threatening to use such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony. A person who uses or threatens to use deadly force in accordance with this subsection does not have a duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground if the person using or threatening to use the deadly force is not engaged in a criminal activity and is in a place where he or she has a right to be.
Please note that none of this guide should be construed as formal legal advice, nor a complete catch all for every single matter pertaining to firearms in Florida. If you have any advice or further applicable information, please list it below in the comments.
Florida Concealed Carry Reciprocity
Florida concealed carry reciprocity standards for nonresident visitors are defined under 790.015"790.015 Nonresidents who are United States citizens and hold a concealed weapons license in another state; reciprocity.—
(1) Notwithstanding s. 790.01, a nonresident of Florida may carry a concealed weapon or concealed firearm while in this state if the nonresident:
(a) Is 21 years of age or older.
(b) Has in his or her immediate possession a valid license to carry a concealed weapon or concealed firearm issued to the nonresident in his or her state of residence.
(c) Is a resident of the United States.
(2) A nonresident is subject to the same laws and restrictions with respect to carrying a concealed weapon or concealed firearm as a resident of Florida who is so licensed.
(3) If the resident of another state who is the holder of a valid license to carry a concealed weapon or concealed firearm issued in another state establishes legal residence in this state by:
(a) Registering to vote;
(b) Making a statement of domicile pursuant to s. 222.17; or
(c) Filing for homestead tax exemption on property in this state," .
Basically, visitors must be 21, have a valid license issued to them within their home state and be a U.S. resident.
Floridians traveling out of state will find reciprocity agreements with just shy of 40 states throughout the U.S. Of course, note that when either traveling to or from Florida, one must abide by the respective state's laws.
For example, some states issue CCW permits to those 18 to 20, but in Florida that age bracket is prohibited from carrying firearms.
Stay up to date on CCW reciprocity agreements throughout the U.S. with a CCW reciprocity map.
Click On Another State To Learn About Their Concealed Carry!
About The Author
Jake Smith (@notjakesmith) is a copywriter and photographer based in the pacific northwest. He graduated from the University of Idaho with degrees in public relations and apparel.