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Understanding Florida's Concealed Weapons License Law

Florida weapons laws have been a fixture in the news for the last few years. Because of laws such as Stand Your Ground, people may assume that they understand the extent of the underlying concealed carry weapons laws that govern the state of Florida. However, it is important to understand the relevant criminal laws and state weapons laws that can impede your constitutional right to legally carry a firearm. Most importantly, you must understand the Florida concealed weapon licensing process so that you will not be in violation of the law when you are found to be in possession of a gun or other firearm.

Eligibility for a Florida Concealed Weapons License

Here in Florida, a person has committed a first degree misdemeanor if they are found to be carrying an electric weapon/device or a concealed weapon and that person has not received a Florida concealed weapons license. The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (DACS) is the government body with the legal authority to issue concealed weapons licenses. There are three main requirements for having a Florida concealed weapons license approved. First, you must be at least 21 years old at the time you submit the application. Second, you must have the ability to demonstrate competency when it comes to handling and using a firearm. Third, you must fulfill a residency requirement that proves that you not only reside in the United States, but that you are either a U.S. citizen or a lawful permanent resident.

In order to provide proof of your competency with handling a concealed weapon, you can use a copy of a Certificate of Completion or comparable document that illustrates you have attended one of the following classes:

  • Any National Rifle Association (NRA) firearms training or safety course;
  • Hunting safety/education courses approved by Florida’s Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission or by a similar state agency;
  • Firearm training/safety classes or courses offered to the general public by institutions of higher learning, police enforcement or other organizations that use instructors certified by the NRA, DACS or the Florida Criminal Justice Standards and Training Commission;
  • All law enforcement firearms training or safety courses that have been offered for the benefit of investigators, security guards, special deputies or any subset of law enforcement or security; or
  • All firearms safety and training classes or courses led by an instructor who has either been certified by a state or by the NRA.

A wide assortment of documentation can be used to prove U.S. residency. Monthly bills, credit card statements or pay stubs can be submitted as evidence of residency if such documents include your name and address.

Concealed Weapons License Application Denials

After submitting the requisite information and documentation, the DACS can still deny your application. Some of the most common reasons why concealed weapons licenses applications could be denied include:

  • A person’s physical inability to safely operate a firearm;
  • Felony convictions, unless the convicting authority has already restored firearm and civil rights;
  • A misdemeanor criminal violence conviction in the past three years;
  • A controlled substance violation conviction, or multiple controlled substance arrests;
  • A proven record of alcohol or drug abuse;
  • Two or more DUI convictions that occurred within the past three years;
  • Failure to prove firearm proficiency; or
  • An adjudication of incompetence or mental defect, as well as commitment to a mental institution.

Do you need legal assistance with a concealed weapons charge? Contact JeffreyS. Weiner, P.A. in Miami for an initial consultation and to begin crafting a strategy personalized to your individual situation.

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