You need the experienced Tampa firearm crime attorneys at Carlson Meissner & Hayslett to uphold your rights if facing weapon or firearm charges. Our dedication to our clients and deep knowledge of state and federal laws has earned us a reputation for being a formidable criminal defense law firm.

Gun Laws in Florida

On April 3, 2023, Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida signed House Bill 543 into law, allowing individuals in Florida to carry concealed firearms they legally own without needing a permit. The change will become effective on July 1, 2023.

Before this law, carrying a concealed firearm in Florida required having a concealed carry permit or following strict rules about storing the firearm securely in a locked container. Those with permits could carry concealed firearms under their clothing, while those without permits had to store their firearms in locked boxes, filing cabinets, or car glove compartments.

Not adhering to these rules was considered a disturbance of the peace. Carrying a concealed firearm without a permit could lead to charges ranging from a first-degree misdemeanor to a more serious third-degree felony, resulting in fines up to $5,000 and a maximum prison sentence of five years.

The new law removes the requirement for individuals without concealed carry permits to follow these previous restrictions and face associated penalties.

It's important to understand that this law specifically relates to carrying concealed firearms and does not allow open carry. It applies only to individuals who meet specific criteria for concealed carry:

  • Being a U.S. citizen.
  • Being at least 21 years old.
  • Having no disqualifying convictions for felonies, violent crimes, drug-related offenses, or domestic violence misdemeanors.

Additional factors like a history of substance abuse, being committed to a mental institution, or receiving a dishonorable military discharge can also disqualify individuals from carrying concealed firearms. However, prerequisites, like approved firearm training and demonstrating competence, are no longer mandatory under this new law.

Does the New Law Affect Firearm Purchases?

Gun purchasing eligibility criteria remain the same. No permit or training is needed for purchases. Background checks for firearm purchases, mandated by federal and state laws, continue. However, the difference lies in removing the background check and training requirement for concealed carry permits post-purchase.

Florida's limitations on carrying a legally owned firearm extend to several places, including:

  • Police, sheriff, or highway patrol stations
  • Courthouses, courtrooms, and polling places
  • Schools or non-firearm-related college events
  • School administrative buildings, from elementary to university campuses
  • Establishments primarily serving alcohol
  • Locations prohibited by federal law

The permitless concealed carry law's current restrictions on carrying firearms in specific places remain unaffected.

Closeup of a pistol.

Types of Weapons Charges in Florida

In Florida, weapons charges include firearms and other weaponized items, such as homemade explosives and metallic knuckles. You may get arrested for making or using a device deemed destructive by the state, failing to report weapon-related injuries, and making bomb threats, among others. These are a few other standard weapon charges in Florida:

  • Selling guns to underage individuals
  • Knowingly selling a firearm to someone that is not legally allowed to own a gun
  • Manufacturing weapons
  • Brandishing a firearm in public
  • Firing a gun in public (even with a license)
  • Possessing a weapon of mass destruction
  • Using a firearm under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Manufacturing weapons
  • Providing a gun or illegal weapon to a minor
  • Possessing a firearm if you are a minor
  • Providing a weapon to someone else while knowing they intend to use it for a violent crime
  • Leaving a weapon or firearm within access or reach of a minor
  • Providing a weapon to someone who is mentally unsound, intoxicated, a danger to themselves, or involuntarily committed to a psychiatric institution

You will face severe penalties if you use a gun during another crime, such as a robbery. Working with an aggressive criminal defense gun attorney in Florida is essential.

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Weapons Charge Penalties in Florida

Your circumstances will dictate the penalty for your weapons charge in Florida. For example, you’ll face harsher sentencing if you discharge a weapon while committing another crime.

Certain convictions carry minimum mandatory prison sentences, so hiring our skilled and resourceful Florida gun crime defense attorney to fight your case is essential.

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Choose the Most Results-Driven Criminal Defense Attorneys in Florida

If you face a weapons charge in Florida, your first move should be to contact the experienced firearm crime lawyers in Tampa at Carlson Meissner & Hayslett. Our skilled attorneys have 125 years of combined legal experience and understand the complex gun laws in the state. We can provide a solid legal defense against your weapons or firearms charges. Call us at (727) 306-0273 or write to us online to set up your free and confidential consultation with our defense team.

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