Am I allowed to carry my gun in my car?

by Aug 20, 2021Article

The Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution famously guarantees every American’s right to bear arms. The constitutional right to bear arms doesn’t stop every time you climb into your vehicle. In many communities such as Navarre, Pensacola, Fort Walton Beach, and Milton- pretty much most parts of Florida- it’s fairly common for drivers to keep firearms in their vehicles. Every Floridian has at least passed trucks with gun racks in their windows boasting one or more hunting guns! Read on to learn more about the legalities of carrying firearms in your vehicle and how to protect your rights while obeying the law.

Firearms In Your Vehicle

It’s just as legal to keep your handgun in your car as a hunting rifle, but there are stipulations about where and how you keep it. Ensure your gun is in plain sight, as concealed firearms are not currently legal. Fla. Stat. §790.001 defines “concealed firearm” as a firearm carried on or about a person (or vehicle) in a way that conceals the firearm “from the ordinary sight of another person.” You can leave your gun laying on the passenger seat or uncovered on the floorboard, but Florida, unlike states such as Texas, doesn’t have an “open carry” law. “Open carry” means you can strap a holster with a handgun on and shop. It’s important to know the legalities, as possession of a concealed firearm in Florida is a 3rd degree felony punishable by up to five years in the state penitentiary.

Concealed Firearms In Florida

A concealed firearm charge implies the gun is “readily accessible for immediate use.” A firearm or other weapon that is carried on the person, within such close proximity, or in a manner that it can be retrieved and used as easily and quickly as it could be if carried on the person. If the gun is encased securely, it doesn’t count as being concealed under the statute. “Securely encased” means snapped in a holster, in a locked or unlocked glove compartment, in a locked or unlocked gun case, in a zippered gun case, or in any other closed container or box where you need to open a cover or lid for access. 

When determining whether a firearm (or any weapon) is “concealed,” it all depends on whether an individual, standing beside a vehicle where the person with a firearm is seated, may know if the questioned object is a firearm or not from casual observation. However, the issue of a “concealed firearm” in Florida also depends on each individual case. 

Work With An Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney

Gun violations are extremely serious in Florida, and there is the “10-20-Life” Law, which means brandishing a gun under certain circumstances can subject you to a minimum mandatory ten-year sentence. Firing a gun can be an automatic twenty-year sentence, and injuring somebody with a gun could potentially put you behind bars for life. If you are facing gun-related criminal charges, call Swickle & Associates to consult with an expert criminal defense attorney today.