Table of Contents

Note: If you’re one of those people that goes to a food blog post and ‘just wants the recipes and not the story’ hit the “The Rules” option on the menu above – it’ll take you right to the new rules and regulations, what’s changed, etc. about the new gun laws in Florida. Don’t say I did nothin’ for ya.

Law Enforcement Talks New Rules on Conceal Carry

Starting Saturday (July 1), you can carry a concealed weapon without a Concealed Weapons Permit in Flordia. The law, most notably, covers pistols and revolvers but includes other weapons, such as electronic weapons (think tasers), tear gas guns, Billie clubs, and knives above three inches. 

The new law, which passed the Florida Legislature in the 2023 session on a largely partisan divide, changes nothing for local law enforcement, according to Niceville Police Chief David Popwell. 

“We always assume people are armed. Always. And we always have,” Chief Popwell said. The law “won’t change the way we do our job,” He added. 

Popwell did have a word of caution for people who might decide to begin carrying without a permit – know the law, specifically Florida State Statute 790. That law hasn’t changed. “If they break any of those rules, they are going to get arrested,” Popwell said sternly. For an abbreviated version of what the law is, what has changed for everyone, and what benefits permit holders have over what the governor has called “constitutional carry,” – keep reading. 

NICEVILLE police chief david popwell portrait
Niceville Police Chief David Popwell | November

At the Gun Store

It’s a slow Monday afternoon when I dawdle into Emerald Coast Indoor Shooting and Sport in Valparaiso. I waltzed up to the counter where four men in black company polos stood, talking and laughing with one another. 

I told them I wanted to write a story on the new law, and I’d like their thoughts on it and its effects on the business. 

Steve Upton, an employee at the store with years of practical firearms experience, tells me a couple of customers have explicitly told them they decided to purchase their firearms after news of the new law came down from Tallahassee. “To be honest, I think sales are going to be about routine; there’s not going to be a dramatic change. I think a lot of people that felt comfortable or were planning on carrying probably already had their ducks in a row and had their permits,” Upton said. 

Upton noted a drop in the number of people signing up for the class you take before you get your permit. He added that they were preparing a class geared toward people who did not want to obtain their permit but might want to conceal carry under the new law. 

The Rules

Note: these are not all the rules regarding concealed carry in Florida. YOU are responsible for knowing if you will conceal carry with or without a permit. These are just the highlights. You can find them in all their multi-thousand-word glory here

People not included in the new permitless carry rule

While the law applies to the vast majority of Floridians – there are, as there always are, with laws, and exceptions. People under 21 cannot carry concealed with or without a concealed weapons permit. If you’ve been convicted of a felony or have a domestic violence conviction in the last three years, you cannot conceal or carry a weapon. You cannot have a concealed weapon if you’ve been convicted of a drug crime. Additionally, the statute says that you cannot have a problem with alcohol abuse or be legally intoxicated and conceal carry a weapon.

Places you can't go:

  • “Places of nuisance” – which includes “a place where any law of the state is violated”
  •  A law enforcement station or substation
  • A detention facility 
  • A courthouse or courtroom (unless you are law enforcement or a judge)
  • School, college, or professional athletic event
  • The State Legislature
  • Any meeting of a governing body of elected officials (City council meetings, school board workshops, et al.)
  • Anywhere licensed to dispense alcohol on the premises, where that business’s primary revenue is alcohol
  • A career center (unless that career center has a shooting range)
  • Any elementary or secondary school
  • Any college or university – unless you are a student, faculty member or administrator. Even then, you can only have a non-lethal weapon that doesn’t shoot projectiles
  • In a passenger terminal

Things you cannot do

People you cannot be:

  • A felon
  • A foreigner (whether a permanent resident or not) – sorry, mates. 
  • From out of state without a concealed carry permit – sorry, youse guys. 
  • Purchase a gun while you have a medical marijuana card. Former Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried gave a medical marijuana clinic an interview about it. Essentially, she tells them that someone with a medical marijuana card can also have a concealed carry permit. Still, they cannot buy a gun because of federal firearms disclosure forms. 
  • Someone with a domestic violence conviction in the last three years.

The benefits of a concealed weapons permit over permitless carry in Florida:

So, there are several benefits to having a concealed weapons permit over just taking advantage of permitless carry in Florida. In addition to making cops way less nervous around you when they find out you have a gun on you (because the permit requires more intensive background checks) you have these benefits as well. 

Schools

A concealed weapons permit allows you to do a couple of things you cannot do without one. Most importantly, you cannot go within 1,000 feet of a school zone, whether during the summer or the weekend, without a concealed weapons permit.  However, with a concealed weapons permit, you may transit by a school. 

 

Different States

A concealed weapons holder in Florida can go to almost 40 other states where their permit would be honored. The exceptions are Hawai’i, California, Oregon, Washington, Minnesota, Illinois, Wisconsin, Maryland, Washington, D.C., New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts. 

While your concealed carry permit is good in other states, the laws differ. So, if you decide to bring your gun with a concealed carry permit, you must also know the state’s laws. 

  • Remember, if you don’t have a permit, you likely cannot conceal carry in that state. Several of these states allow for permitless carry, but only for residents of that state. 
a map of the united States for gun laws.
A map of the current handgun laws as they relate to Florida's concealed carry permit. States in purple will allow you to carry concealed if you have a Florida permit. States in yellow and orange have some exceptions. States in red do not recognize Florida concealed carry permits.

Waiting Period

If you have a concealed weapons permit in Florida – you are not required to wait three days to purchase a firearm.

Open Carry

Nope. 

Open carry is illegal in Florida with or without a concealed carry permit. 

Currently, according to the U.S. Concealed Carry Association – 31 states allow for open carry in their state. There are a lot of ifs ands and buts associated with this one – so consult their website or your lawyer. 

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