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What's Up Sheepdogs? Ryan here with Tampa Carry.
The most common question I receive is “What are the rules about having a firearm in my car without a concealed weapons permit?” First let's take a look at Florida vehicle carry laws in Florida Statute 790.25
“F.S. 790.25(5) - POSSESSION IN PRIVATE CONVEYANCE. Notwithstanding subsection (2), it is lawful and is not a violation of F.S. 790.01 for a person 18 years of age or older to possess a concealed firearm or other weapon for self-defense or other lawful purpose within the interior of a private conveyance, without a license, if the firearm or other weapon is securely encased or is otherwise not readily accessible for immediate use….”
According to this statute, you can carry a gun in your car without a concealed weapons permit. Your firearm is allowed to be loaded and located anywhere is the vehicle as long as you meet three requirements.
#1 You Must be 18 Years or Older
F.S. 790.25(5) - a person 18 years of age or older to possess a concealed firearm or other weapon …. within the interior of a private conveyance…
If you're 18 years or older you can carry a weapon in your car.
But remember this only applies if you are not prohibited from possessing a firearm under Federal and State law. I recently had a young woman approach me after a course with a concerned look on her face.
“I’m not sure if I'm allowed to get a concealed weapons permit based on what you were saying” she said.
I replied “What makes you feel that way?”
She then proceeded to tell me that she spent two years in prison for cocaine trafficking. I was pretty shocked. This woman just sat through a two and a half hour class and she's prohibited from even touching a firearm, let alone carrying one concealed.
#2 The Firearm Must Be Securely Encased
F.S. 790.001(17) - “Securely Encased” means [the concealed weapon in your car must be] in a glove compartment, whether locked or not locked; snapped holster; in a gun case, whether or not locked; in a zippered gun case; or in a closed box or container which requires a lid or cover to be opened or access.
#3 The Firearm Must Not Be Readily Accessible
F.S. 790.001(16) “Readily accessible for immediate use” means that a firearm or other weapon is carried on the person or within such close proximity and in such a manner that it can be retrieved and used as easily and quickly as if carried on the person.
Remember the firearm must always be hidden from the view of others, if the firearm is visible to other drivers that is open carry and may be unlawful.
Can the firearm be loaded? Yes
Does the glove box have to be locked? No
Where can my firearm be located? Anywhere that is not readily accessible.
What about the police?
I can tell you from personal experience that just because something is legal doesn’t mean the police know it's legal. I have had dozens of students over the years share stories of interactions with police where the police provided their own interpretation of how to carry a gun in a car..
Real Story: The Truck Driver
One of my students is a truck driver who had a handgun loaded and placed in his glove box. One day he was pulled over and he immediately informed the police officer that he had a firearm. The officer took the firearm and informed him that what was doing was unlawful. The officer then unloaded the firearm, placed a zip tie on the trigger and placed the firearm in a ziplock bag. The police officer then told the driver that he could take him to jail for what he did and to not remove the zip tie until he returned home.
Real Story: Arrested for a Felony
In June of 2017, I met a student who had been arrested for carrying a concealed firearm without a permit, which is a felony. I assumed that if he was arrested, the firearm must have been concealed on his body. I was wrong, the firearm was in a holster inside the glove box.
Based on F.S. 790.001(17) this is not a crime, but the officer didn’t know that. My student was arrested for a felony and his bond was set at $5,000. The fee to hire an attorney was also $5,000. That's a lot of money for most people to come up with let alone a 22 year old. His attorney made a quick phone call to the state prosecutor and they both agreed that no crime had been committed.
The charges were never filed and the case was closed. The victim had his firearm and bond returned later that month, but he still lost $5,000 for the attorney. All this because a police officer didn’t know the rules for carrying a gun in your car in Florida..
Just because something is legal doesn’t mean the police know it's legal
This is why it's up to you to understand your rights. I also keep a copy of my book Florida Concealed Carry Law inside my vehicle at all times.
If the police are telling you something that you know isn’t correct, inform the police that you have a copy of these two documents in your glove box and they are free to use these tools to verify what they are claiming when you carry a gun in your car. It's extremely important that you are polite and respectful when doing this.
Hopefully the officer will look through these documents and prevent mistakes from being made about carrying a gun in your car.
That's all I have for today. So until next time keep training and stay safe...Talk to you soon,
Ryan G. Thomas
P.S. You’re one step away from getting your Florida concealed carry permit….FAST & EASY…
And for a limited time you can watch the concealed carry course online for free... Click here to get started...