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Florida Concealed Weapons

Yesterday, I attended a class required for licensure by the state of Florida for a CCW (Concealed/Carry Weapons) permit. Though I do not plan to carry my gun at any time (outside of standard conveyance allowances), I wanted to take the class to learn more about the laws surrounding firearms in Florida. Why else?

  1. To support my second amendment rights by adding another "CCW permit holder" to the list.
  2. To allow me to take home a gun I might purchase in the future without a waiting period.
  3. A permit grants a bit more freedom from the stricter non-permit laws.
  4. Better to have it and need it than not to have it and need it, eh?

An article from Arizona talks about the success of that state's CCW program. Florida's requirements are somewhat more lax than Arizona's and my class consisted of three parts:

  1. Filling out paperwork (to send to Tallahassee).
  2. Brief overview of relevant laws.
  3. Proficiency testing

The paperwork includes a photo, a fingerprint card, and some other forms that contain information such as my height, weight, criminal record (none), and so on. I have to get fingerprinted and send my application in with a check for $117. Renewals run $65 every five years, but I'll likely live in Pennsylvania within a year anyway. PA has reciprocity with Florida.

The overview of the applicable law was altogether entirely too brief for my tastes. Allow me to summarize: you cannot carry a concealed weapon into any government building, school, or sporting event (those not dealing with guns, anyway). Apparently I could have taken a concealed weapon to the Shania Twain concert last night (were I licensed). I'll be spending the evening reading relevant portions of section 790.

The proficiency training was rather simple. A target in the shape of a person was placed 10 feet away, and I was given 30 shots to land 23 within an area approximately larger than a 2-liter bottle. I landed the first 27 and then tried to land the last three without aiming. I missed them by a combined total of 4 inches - well within the center mass of an attacker. The average self-defense shooting occurs at a distance of seven feet.

Next step: send my $117 to Tallahassee, wait up to 90 days, and get the permit. Stow permit in wallet and forget about it, as it will have little or no effect on how I will transport or carry my guns.


Here is the target. Please note that the target is not life-sized. The center circle is 3 inches in diameter. After putting several shots in or near the red circle, I shot at other parts of the target to facilitate counting.

27 Responses to "Florida Concealed Weapons"

  1. How about adding a Gun category to make finding these posts easier?

  2. I may do that, but I also have a Yakfishing category. Perhaps a "Recreation" category is best.

    I don't know yet… Something needs to be done.

  3. Erik --

    I'm just curious; it seems like you're taking this class more to exercise your second amendment rights and learn about the law than to actually be able to carry a concealed weapon around with you. Or would you actually feel safer carrying a concealed weapon to most of the places you go? I suppose the question doesn't even matter if it's concealed or not -- do you feel safer when actually carrying a gun?

    I'm not trying to be one of those liberals who wants to completely outlaw the right to carry arms, but I'm just curious if you actually feel safer being able to carry guns around. I've never found them to be very alluring myself, and I haven't even held or shot a real gun (although I should probably educate myself anyway despite my aversion to them).

    -- Simone

  4. SImone, as I said:

    Stow permit in wallet and forget about it, as it will have little or no effect on how I will transport or carry my guns.

    By "carry" I meant "transport to the range, and carry in a bag into the range and to my car." I didn't mean carry to imply loaded.

    I don't frequent locations that have high violent crime rates. If I did, you bet I'd rethink whether or not to carry (loaded) the gun, and you bet I'd feel safer. Statistically, I would be safer, too.

  5. USPSA, I'm tellin' yea if you want to learn as much as you say you do you really need to get to an USPSA or IPSEC match. (USPSA being my preference)

  6. I have a Virginia Concealed Handgun Permit. While I don't carry regularly, I do like having "permission" if I am in a situation where I feel I need it. In Virginia, carrying openly is legal without a permit except in a few places (schools, courts, and any business that posts a "no guns" sign).

    A Florida permit is probably in my future-- they issue non-resident permits and are accepted in 24 states (26 states if you're a FL resident).

  7. You can read about the carry laws for all the states here.

  8. Sorry if this is a dumb question, but the only guns I've ever seen in real life have been on police officers. How do you conceal a handgun on your body, make it easily and quickly accessible, and also safe from accidentally firing? If you just have a side holster, I would think it would be hard to conceal. But that would be optimal for accessibility and safety.

    I would suppose the worst thing that could happen is to meet an attacker bent on hurting or killing you and having no means of defending yourself. But the second worst thing that could happen would be meeting an attacker bent on hurting or killing you, and then not being able to get to your gun in time because it's stowed away in the small of your back and you have your shirt tucked in, or its at your ankle and you have to bend down while the attacker runs at you to kick your head in.

    On another note, the closest call I've ever had to getting mugged was a run-in with an undercover police officer while I was parked with an ex-girlfriend at night in a public park 🙂 We were just talking (thankfully). But this car pulled up behind mine with two men in it, one got out and started walking toward my driver side window really fast. I had little time to react but I remember searching in vain for anything to stab, hit or otherwise hurt the guy to buy some time so I could start the car engine and escape. And then, in the rear view mirror I saw the guy pull out a gun and my brain really went into a frenzy. I'm resigned to thinking about the best way I can negotiate with a potential lunatic to get us out of this situation when about 3 feet from my window, the guy flashes a police badge which was hanging around his neck and underneath his t-shirt invisible to me at first. The following moments were the biggest relief of my life. He was just checking to see if we were up to no good and began flashing his flash light around the inside of my car. As he was walking away I shouted at him to come back for a second, and I told him he scared the living daylights out of me and that if I had had a weapon I might have accidentally killed him or been killed while trying to "defend" myself. The incident still sort of sends chills up my spine because I realize that if the circumstances were different (i.e. he was a criminal), that I had no way to protect myself. But even if I did, his angle of attack and the element of surprise would have been such that I could not -- assuming I had a gun -- shoot at him with any degree of accuracy. Me fighting back may have very well put my ex-girlfriend in danger. I can definitely see why people have conceal & carry licenses. The feeling of hopelessness I had in the seconds leading up to the cop revealing his identity were just awful. There's nothing like a fighting chance at survival. However, had I been in possession of a gun for self defense and used it, the situation could have turned out nasty. I think the cop was insane and should have identified himself earlier. Stupid, stupid move on his part. There was just no good way for me to tell that he was a cop and not a threat to me.

  9. How do you conceal a handgun on your body, make it easily and quickly accessible, and also safe from accidentally firing? If you just have a side holster, I would think it would be hard to conceal.

    The same way most cops conceal their weapons when working either plainclothes/undercover or when off-duty. I'm not expert, but there are holsters that go on your belt and fit quite snuggly against your body and if you have a loose enough shirt it will cover it without printing through.

    I think the cop was insane and should have identified himself earlier. Stupid, stupid move on his part.

    I'm wondering why he drew his weapon like that in the first place. Instead of sneaking up like that with a drawn weapon he probably should have identified himself earlier.

  10. how can i find ut if i can even have a gun

  11. I was discharged from the Air National Guard a couple of years ago. I had gotten into an accident and hadn't fufilled my commitment to go to basic training. While recovering from my injury I got my discharge papers. Will this inhibit me from getting my CCW in the state of Michigan?? My discharge was not honorable, but I didn't do anything heinous either.

    1. It depends on your state's CCW statutes. But, as far as I know, dishonorable discharge does not automatically disqualify you from licensure. After checking to make sure your "crime" is not a disqualification, just be certain to fully disclose it when you apply.

  12. I live in Georgia and have a CCW Permit. I didn't have to take any classes, and my permit is honored by several other states. You can find information concerning any states CCW laws on the Net by Googling. Livibg in the South I grew up with guns, and learned to shoot as soon as I could hold a rifle under my arm, not up to my shoulder. I used to hunt but don't believe in it now, although I don't hold it against anyone who does. When I did hunt I used to hunt squirrel's with a pistol. When we hunted at night for racoons I would carry a pistol and hold a flashlight in one hand and the pistol in the other , and shoot the racoons out of trees. I won the Expert Medal when I was in the Army, and was a grader on the shooting range. I believe in one's right to bear arms, and although I didn't get my permit just to exercise my 2nd ammendment rights I'm proud to be a part of the "list". I carry an inside the waistband (IWB) holster for my Glock model 22, 40 caliber and wear it most every where I go. Believe it or not I have owned this particular gun for 5 years and never fired it. I do, however , have several other guns. We may be called rednecks, trailer trash, K-mart shopping, racist in the South by comedians like Jay Leno, but I assure you we get along with our fellow man better than in several states I have visited. Oh Yeah, ask any one who served in the Service with a Southern boy and they will tell you their ability with a weapon helps their Brother's in Arms sleep better at night, when they CAN sleep ! There were 8 of us who won the Expert Medal out of an entire Company, and 5 or 6 were from the South. God Bless them, most probably got killed in the war, defending the rights for people like Leno to go on TV and make all his silly jokes.

  13. I was just wondering how you determine what locations a crime will be committed in and when it isn't necessary to carry. I live in a small town, where statistically, there is no violent crime, yet there have been muggings of the elderly in broad day light in parking lots, 4 bank robberies within a 2 month period where one bank teller was killed and another crippled for life. Just because you think it isn't a high crime area, doesn't mean the potential for a serious crime doesn't exist. To carry means just carry, and not just when you "think" it's necessary. That could be a potential disaster. Better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it.

  14. Eric, it's like porn: you know it when you see it. And "better safe than sorry" comes into play here too.

  15. Can a concealed weapon holder carry a weapon through Fla. State parks and forests?

  16. Florida Statute 790.06(12) No license issued pursuant to this section shall authorize any person to carry a concealed weapon or firearm into any place of nuisance as defined in s. 823.05; any police, sheriff, or highway patrol station; any detention facility, prison, or jail; any courthouse; any courtroom, except that nothing in this section would preclude a judge from carrying a concealed weapon or determining who will carry a concealed weapon in his or her courtroom; any polling place; any meeting of the governing body of a county, public school district, municipality, or special district; any meeting of the Legislature or a committee thereof; any school, college, or professional athletic event not related to firearms; any school administration building; any portion of an establishment licensed to dispense alcoholic beverages for consumption on the premises, which portion of the establishment is primarily devoted to such purpose; any elementary or secondary school facility; any career center; any college or university facility unless the licensee is a registered student, employee, or faculty member of such college or university and the weapon is a stun gun or nonlethal electric weapon or device designed solely for defensive purposes and the weapon does not fire a dart or projectile; inside the passenger terminal and sterile area of any airport, provided that no person shall be prohibited from carrying any legal firearm into the terminal, which firearm is encased for shipment for purposes of checking such firearm as baggage to be lawfully transported on any aircraft; or any place where the carrying of firearms is prohibited by federal law. Any person who willfully violates any provision of this subsection commits a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.

  17. is there a class on line i could take to git a permit that is good in florida

  18. Funny how all these folks making comments seem to have little or no experience with any type of firearm. As a Marine and an American, these people scare me. I have been a responsible gun owner since I was six years old; I'm 42 now. Unfortunately, these uneducated, untrained "experts" are the very same group trying to take my guns away from me. Why don't these people spend their time lobbying our lawmakers to enforce the laws already in place instead of trying to punish those of us who take gun ownership seriously? If you own a gun there is no excuse for not being properly trained. Anyone who commits a crime while in possession of a firearm should be put away for a long time. If anyone needs to be punished it is the scumbag criminals and not responsible citizens.

  19. I feel very safe when I carry my gun under my shirt.

    Let me tell you guys a little story.

    I was over my sister home in a normal part of FTLD, FL.

    We were all just in the front enjoying a moment with my nieces, nephews and their friends, when unexpectedly a car drove up slowly, and asked one of the kids if we were having a good time?

    Innocently, he walked up to the person in the car because he could not hear him, he thought he was asking for directions, but as he got closer he noticed that he had a GUN on his lap...

    Shockingly he stayed cool, and told the person, we're cool right?, and as he walked away he said to everyone in a low voice facing us "INSIDE" (twice), but no one really focused on what he had just said. I guess we were kinda shocked, but as he got farther from the car and closer to the home, he said these word, DUCK HE'S GOT A GUN!!!

    Immediately I got behind a car and reach behind my back and took aimed at him, just waiting for some sign from him, some wrong move, but as soon as he saw that I had my gun aimed at his head he sped off.

    Thank God he did, because I didn't want to take a life that night or ever. And I hope I never have too, but I will, without hesitation. When it comes to protecting myself and my family "Don't mess around here".

    After he drove away everyone was already close to the garage. We stayed there for a few minutes just talking about what just had happed...

    Then my sister and I told everyone lets go inside, he may come back around...

    This part is a bit funny, if you can find any humor in any of this...

    So as we all entered the house one of the guess noticed that we all were entering with long sad faces, as if life had just flash in front of all of us, which it did.

    Then the guest yells out "AH you guys are in trouble" ,Nervously we all started to laugh, cause he had no clue of what just happened outside, but I guess our faces were so sad and white from fear that he focused just on that.

    Then as we all started to explain, you guys should have seem how everyone just started saying goodnight... I don't blame them, I did too.

    So the moral of my story is. I don't feel tougher or braver because I carry a gun...I feel that I can thank God I had my gun, because if I didn't who knows if I would be writing this story today, or spending another day with my nieces, nephew's, and sister?

    Thanks for reading this, and please reply...

  20. [quote comment="10245"]Can a concealed weapon holder carry a weapon through Fla. State parks and forests?[/quote]

    I do beleive that recently (within the past few years) florida has adopted their CCW laws to allow carrying within State and City parks/forests in most counties. There is a great book out, available in every gunshop and shooting range that i have been in that is very well organized.

    "The Florida Gun Owner's Guide
    by Korwin, Alan, and Hawley, Donna L

    These up-to-date, comprehensive gun owner's guides give you the straight scoop on gun ownership, possession and use. Actual laws are reprinted with all the key laws and regulations spelled out in plain English. A must for those who own or may own a gun."

    If you are researching on the internet, always check multiple sites, and if you can with local law enforcement. Many sites nowadays are out-dated and misinformed.

  21. [quote comment="10245"]Can a concealed weapon holder carry a weapon through Fla. State parks and forests?[/quote]


  22. Do I feel safer when I carry? Yes.
    But that is not the question.
    The question is, does a would-be attacker feel better attacking me in Florida, where the odds are I have a gun, or in California, where they know damn well I don't.
    Check crime stats for both states, particularly home invasion and car=jacking.

  23. [quote comment="10236"]I have a Virginia Concealed Handgun Permit. While I don't carry regularly, I do like having "permission" if I am in a situation where I feel I need it. In Virginia, carrying openly is legal without a permit except in a few places (schools, courts, and any business that posts a "no guns" sign).

    A Florida permit is probably in my future-- they issue non-resident permits and are accepted in 24 states (26 states if you're a FL resident).[/quote]
    33 States if you are a Florida Resident.
    Alabama (1,3,5)
    Alaska (1)
    Arizona (6)
    Arkansas (1)
    Colorado (1,4)
    Georgia (1)
    Idaho (3,6)
    Indiana (1,3,6)
    Kansas (1,4)
    Louisiana (1)
    Michigan (1,4)
    Mississippi (1)
    Missouri (1)
    Montana (3)
    Nevada (1,6)
    New Hampshire (1,3,4,6)
    New Mexico (1)
    North Carolina (1)
    North Dakota (3,6)
    Ohio (1)
    Oklahoma (1)
    Pennsylvania (1,6)
    South Carolina (1,4,6)
    South Dakota (1,3)
    Tennessee (1,6)
    Texas (1,3,6)
    Utah (1,6)
    Vermont (2)
    Virginia (1,6)
    West Virginia (1,4)
    Wyoming (1,3)

    The '1' Means that state is gun only, not billies or Tazers or switchbaldes, etc (yes switchies are legal in FL with permit)
    The '3' Is those states allow the permit at 18, gotta be 21 in FL
    The '4' is you can't carry in that state if you are a non-resident of FL with a FL CCW
    VERMONT - ANYONE can carry, license or not, RESIDENT or not, concealed, in Vermont. Ever check the crime rate in Vermont?

    This information is from the State of Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, they are the ones responsible for licensing the CCW's.

  24. I live i n a rural Fl. county always carried in my vehicle. One day I walked out of a store got in my car and was driving through town when two police officers past me in a hurry(about 15 minutes). Found out later they were going where I just left. Two persons robbed the store pistol wipped the woman at the counter and shot her husband in the stomach. I decided at that moment it was time to begin to carry.
    Since that time I have twice assisted Deputies that were in isolated areas with no back up just to be there and watch thier backs. And I will tell you they are very thankfull to have concealed carriers around.

  25. Recheck the negative answer regarding carrying in a state park I think you'll find no prohibitive provisions.

    1. You are right... legislation was actually passed approving carry in State Parks