ORLANDO, Fla. – Florida’s concealed weapons license allows people to bring their guns in many places, but there are gray areas when it comes to restricted locations.
For example, a gun owner with a concealed carry permit can bring a gun into a restaurant but they are prohibited under Florida law from having it anywhere near the eatery’s bar.
Firearm attorney James Phillips with Katz & Phillips law firm explains what that means for gun owners.
He said the problem is that many restaurants have the restroom located near the bar area.
“To be on the safe side, don’t carry your gun to go to the bathroom,” Phillips said. “That means you would have to go to your car.”
Phillips said that conundrum is just one of the caveats to Florida’s concealed firearm restrictions. He explained that a question he receives a lot, especially after recent shootings in houses of worship, is whether you can carry a gun into a church. You can, but it comes with a catch.
“The problem is when your church has a preschool. If there is a school, whether it's in session or not, you can't carry your gun." Phillips said.
Schools are among the places where concealed weapon holders are not allowed to bring their guns. Phillips explained it also includes off-campus school functions.
“If you go watch your kid play football, you still can’t carry,” Phillips said. “This is because it’s a school function.”
For some places, the restrictions can change depending on how the space is being used. Take a library for example.
“On a normal day, you can carry in a library but during elections, if it's a polling place, you cannot,” Phillips said.
Phillips said it’s not always about location, but instead a matter of who owns the property. Private owners can decide what they allow on their property.
Phillips suggested that people with questions seek legal advice rather than risk violating the law.
The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services listed places where you are restricted from carrying a weapon or firearm even if you have a license:
- Any place of nuisance as defined in Section 823.05, F.S.
- Any police, sheriff or highway patrol station
- Any detention facility, prison or jail
- Any courthouse
- Any courtroom
- Any polling place
- Any meeting of the governing body of a county, public school district, municipality or special district
- Any meeting of the Legislature or a legislative committee
- Any school, college or professional athletic event not related to firearms
- Any school administration building
- Any portion of an establishment licensed to dispense alcoholic beverages for consumption
- Any elementary or secondary school facility
- Any area technical center
- Any college or university facility
- Inside the passenger terminal and sterile area of any airport
- Any place where the carrying of firearms is prohibited by federal law
There are nearly 2 million concealed weapon license holders currently in the state of Florida. Here is the breakdown of license holders by county in Central Florida.
- Brevard: 64,195
- Flagler: 12,769
- Lake: 43,975
- Volusia: 54,572
- Marion: 38,835
- Orange: 87,424
- Osceola: 27,952
- Seminole: 33,175
- Polk: 55,997
Find the Florida Statutes on gun laws here.