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Firearms questions answered

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By The Staff

I frequently get questions about the legal carrying and possession of firearms, especially handguns. I would like to address some of these questions.

Do I need to register my rifle or handgun? No, Florida, like most states, does not register firearms.

May I carry a firearm on my person? If you?re at your home or place of business, you may carry any legal weapon, concealed or openly. Once you go outside your home or place of business, such as in common areas of an apartment or condominium complex, you?d be well-advised to obtain a Florida Concealed Weapons License to make sure you don?t run into trouble with the law.

Is pepper spray or tear gas considered a weapon in Florida? Florida law allows citizens to carry self-defense chemical weapons of two ounces or less. They may be carried openly or concealed, and no license is needed.

What other states honor the Florida Concealed Weapons License? So far, 30 states honor Florida?s license, including the nearby states of Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, Louisiana, Tennessee, Kentucky, North Carolina and Virginia. Some states not recognizing Florida licenses include South Carolina, Illinois, Maryland and West Virginia.

Can I legally carry a firearm in a vehicle in Florida? Yes, even without a concealed weapons permit. The phrase ?two step rule? is a common misconception. That statement does not appear in Florida?s firearms laws, and it does not accurately paraphrase what the law says. To be legal, the firearm must be ?securely encased? or ?not available for immediate use.?

?Securely encased? means in a closed zipper or Velcro pouch, in a snapped holster, or in some other closed compartment. In the glove compartment or center console is ?securely encased? and therefore legal, as long as the compartment is closed and securely encased in a snapped holster for example. Another way a gun in the car can be legal is to be ?not available for immediate use.? For example, a shotgun in a rack in the rear window of a pickup truck would be very difficult for the driver or passenger to quickly use.

If I have a gun in my vehicle and I get stopped for a traffic violation what should I tell the officer? If he asks, answer his questions truthfully. If the gun is in your glove compartment or center console, do not open it without first telling the officer there is a firearm or weapon in the vehicle and the location. Officer safety is paramount and he/she does want any surprises when dealing with firearms.

I hope that you have found these questions and answers helpful. Gun laws are complex and vary greatly by state. I would recommend if you are traveling to another state and you wish to carry your firearm, you should check the gun laws for that state.

If you have questions related to carrying firearms that I have not addressed, call my Public Information Officer Lt. Evan Sullivan.