In 1987, Florida became the first state in the United States to enact a “shall-issue” law for concealed carry permits. This law allows any law-abiding citizen who passes a background check and a safety course to carry a concealed weapon for self-defense.
However, on April 3rd, 2023, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed a bill that removed the requirement for a concealed carry license for most gun owners. While it may seem like a victory for gun rights advocates, obtaining a concealed weapons license in Florida is still essential.
Benefits of Obtaining a Florida CWL
Obtaining a concealed weapons license in Florida can benefit gun owners in several ways:
- Having a concealed weapons license and the necessary safety training can help demonstrate that a gun owner acted responsibly and within the law during a self-defense encounter.
- During an arrest: a concealed weapons license holder who violates a Florida statute is more likely to be charged with a misdemeanor rather than a felony. For example, if a concealed weapons license holder is found to be carrying a concealed firearm in a bar, which is generally prohibited under Florida law, they may be charged with a misdemeanor offense rather than a felony offense. However, it is important to note that the specific circumstances of each case can vary, and the severity of the charges can depend on a number of factors, including the specific Florida statute that was violated, the person’s criminal history, and the circumstances surrounding the offense.
- Florida has reciprocity agreements with 20+ states, which means that a gun owner with a Florida concealed weapons license can legally carry their firearm in those states.
- Having a Florida concealed weapons license allows gun owners to bypass the mandatory “cooling-off” period when purchasing a firearm. Under Florida law, a person who does not have a valid concealed weapons license must undergo a mandatory five-day waiting period before they can take possession of a firearm. However, a person with a valid concealed weapons license is exempt from this waiting period and can take possession of their firearm immediately after completing the necessary background checks and paperwork.
In conclusion, while it may seem like a victory for gun rights advocates, the removal of the concealed carry permit requirement in Florida does not negate the importance of obtaining a concealed weapons license. Safety training is essential for responsible gun ownership, and having a concealed weapons license can benefit gun owners in several ways. Additionally, it provides legal protection and demonstrates a commitment to safe gun ownership. Therefore, it is crucial for gun owners in Florida to still obtain a concealed weapons license.