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The Florida Bar

Unlicensed Carrying Firearms

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home. More specifically, the Court held that a total handgun ban and trigger-lock requirement (as applied to self-defense) violated the Second Amendment. The District of Columbia’s total ban on handgun possession in the home amounts to a prohibition on an entire class of “arms”; that Americans overwhelmingly choose for the lawful purpose of self-defense.

Under any of the standards of scrutiny that the Court has applied to enumerated constitutional rights, this prohibition—in the place where the importance of the lawful defense of self, family, and property is the most acute—would fail constitutional muster. Similarly, the requirement that any lawful firearm in the home be disassembled or bound by a trigger lock makes it impossible for citizens to use arms for the core lawful purpose of self-defense and is hence unconstitutional.

The Right to Bear Arms

The Florida Constitution provides that the right of the people to keep and bear arms in defense of themselves and of the lawful authority of the state may not be infringed but that the manner of bearing arms may be regulated by law; state legislation has been enacted controlling the sale, use, and carrying or possession of weapons of various kinds.

While the constitution guarantees the right to carry weapons for protection, the statutory provisions regulating weapons and firearms are designed to protect the people from the bearing of weapons by the unskilled, the irresponsible, and the lawless. It is the intent of the legislature to promote firearms safety and to curb and prevent the use of firearms and other weapons in crime and by incompetent persons without prohibiting the lawful use in defense of life, home, and property, as well as other lawful purposes. The legislature has expressly stated that adult citizens of the state retain their constitutional right to keep and bear firearms for hunting and sporting activities and for defense of self, family, home, and business and as collectibles.

A resident of Florida may purchase a rifle or shotgun in any state contiguous to Florida if the resident conforms to applicable laws and regulations of the United States, the state where the purchase is made, and Florida.

Firearms in Automobiles

Florida has enacted the Preservation and Protection of the Right to Keep and Bear Arms in Motor Vehicles Act of 2008, which provides that a citizen’s lawful possession, transportation, and secure keeping of firearms and ammunition within his or her motor vehicle is essential to the exercise of the fundamental constitutional right to keep and bear arms and the constitutional right of self-defense. The legislature has found that protecting and preserving these rights is essential to the exercise of freedom and individual responsibility.

Has Your Employer Prevented You From Exercising Your Right to Bear Arms?

To that end, the Act provides that no public or private employer may prohibit any customer, employee, or invitee from possessing any legally owned firearm when such firearm is lawfully possessed and locked inside or locked to a private motor vehicle in a parking lot and when the customer, employee, or invitee is lawfully in such area, with some exceptions.

No public or private employer may terminate the employment of or otherwise discriminate against an employee, or expel a customer or invitee for exercising his or her constitutional right to keep and bear arms or for exercising the right of self-defense as long as a firearm is never exhibited on company property for any reason other than lawful defensive purposes.

Florida Statute 790.01  Unlicensed carrying of concealed weapons or concealed firearms

(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.

(3) This section does not apply to:

(a) A person who carries a concealed weapon, or a person who may lawfully possess a firearm and who carries a concealed firearm, on or about his or her person while in the act of evacuating during a mandatory evacuation order issued during a state of emergency declared by the Governor pursuant to chapter 252 or declared by a local authority pursuant to chapter 870. As used in this subsection, the term “in the act of evacuating” means the immediate and urgent movement of a person away from the evacuation zone within 48 hours after a mandatory evacuation is ordered. The 48 hours may be extended by an order issued by the Governor.

(b) A person who carries for purposes of lawful self-defense, in a concealed manner:

1. A self-defense chemical spray.

2. A nonlethal stun gun or dart-firing stun gun or other nonlethal electric weapon or device that is designed solely for defensive purposes.

(4) This section does not preclude any prosecution for the use of an electric weapon or device, a dart-firing stun gun, or a self-defense chemical spray during the commission of any criminal offense

The Attorneys at The William Moore Law Firm have years of experience and skill in defending individuals facing charges for possession of firearms in Broward County. Contact our Fort Lauderdale firearm defense lawyers today.

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