Penalties Include Prison Time
As you probably know, the Constitution gives all Americans the right to bear arms, but each state has a set of laws governing the use of weapons that are designed with safety in mind. In Florida, residents may carry a concealed gun on or near their body as long as they have a permit.
A recent case involving a Florida woman shows that, even if you have no plans to use it, you should always get a permit if you are going to carry one.
According to the news story, this woman could be facing charges after her gun accidentally went off and shot her friend in the leg while both were at a Starbucks last weekend.
Police say gun accidentally disharged
The two friends were at Starbucks inside Tyrone Square Mall in St. Petersburg when one of them dropped her purse as she was about to pay, accidentally discharging a .25-caliber gun that was inside the purse, according to the Tampa Bay Times.
The woman told police she had kept the gun inside her purse for about a year since receiving it as a gift from her father, but that she didn’t have a concealed weapon permit. The friend was treated at a local hospital and released. Police said they were referring the case to prosecutors.
Florida's Concealed Weapons Law
At minimum, the woman could face up to five years in prison for not having a concealed weapons permit if prosecutors decide they have a case.
Permits are administered through the state Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. To obtain a license, you must be:
- A U.S. citizen or legal resident
- 21 years old or older
- Not have been convicted of a felony
- Eligible to possess a firearm under Florida and federal law
- Not suffer from a physical ailment which prevents you from safely handling the gun
- Not have been committed within the past three years for the abuse of a controlled substance or been convicted of laws relating to controlled substances.
- Not be an alcoholic
- Show competence handling a firearm.
Under certain conditions, Florida recognizes valid concealed weapons permits from residents of other states who are visiting Florida. For more details, consult the complete text of the Florida concealed weapons law here.
According to Florida law, carrying a concealed firearm in Florida without a permit is a third-degree felony, punishable by up to $5,000, up to five years in prison, or both.
You should also be aware that it's illegal to carry a concealed weapon even with a license at certain places, such as schools.
If you have any questions regarding weapons laws in Florida, you can contact the law offices of Eric A. Kay.
Photo credit: wiz722