Florida issues permits allowing individuals to carry concealed weapons on the body or in their vehicle. A concealed weapon refers to a weapon that is carried in close proximity to the person who owns it, but that may not be visible to others. If you have a concealed carry permit, you are permitted to keep a loaded or unloaded firearm in your vehicle as long as it is hidden or concealed from view. However, should you become involved in a traffic stop while carrying a concealed weapon in your vehicle, here are some things you need to know.
What Happens When You Have a Firearm Without a Concealed Weapons Permit?
In Florida, it is illegal to transport a firearm in a concealed manner without a permit. Anyone found guilty of carrying a concealed weapon without a permit in Florida could be convicted of a third-degree felony which carries up to five years in jail, five years’ probation and as much as a $5,000 fine. In order to be charged with the offense, you must knowingly be carrying the firearm and it must be concealed from sight, such as on the passenger seat covered by a newspaper or item of clothing. It may also be considered concealed if the weapon is located on the floorboard, as this is not part of the “ordinary line of vision” of a police officer or other individual. If you are transporting a firearm without a permit and are involved in a traffic stop, it is important to notify the officer immediately of your weapon and explain the circumstances. The weapon should be placed in a case and not easily accessible to anyone in the vehicle. Rifles and shotguns may remain out of a case, but the driver must have a valid reason for carrying the firearm. Possible instances of this may occur if a driver is in transport to a hunting event or en route to a business that services weapons.
What Happens When You Are Pulled Over With a Concealed Weapon
As long as you have a permit to carry a concealed weapon and have not violated any state laws by carrying that weapon, there is no specific provision in Florida law that requires a person to inform a police officer of a weapon concealed in the vehicle during a traffic stop. Shotguns and rifles do not require a permit to be carried in a vehicle.
Your Concealed Weapons Rights During Traffic Stops in Florida
Even if you have a concealed firearm permit, if you carry your weapon in the glove box or console and are asked to produce your registration or insurance certificate, it is wise to show the officer your permit and explain there is a gun in the glove box before opening it.
If you or a loved one have been charged with carrying a concealed weapon, contact Laporte, Mulligan & Werner-Watkins, P.A. today to learn what rights you may have. Contact us by phone or through our easy online form to arrange for a consultation regarding your case.