It’s no secret that gun control has been a hot topic of debate within Florida for the past few years. Recently Florida Governor Ron Desantis signed into law House Bill 543, which will go into effect starting July 1, 2023.
So what does this mean for Florida residents and residents of West Palm Beach in regards to gun control? Read on for the expert advice of our Palm Beach Gardens-based criminal law firm and learn what your rights are regarding Florida’s new permitless concealed carry law.
What is Florida’s New Permitless Concealed Carry Law?
Starting July 1, 2023, the state of Florida will officially be a “permitless carry” state per House Bill 543. The general definition of “permitless carry” means that anyone who is legally allowed to carry a gun may carry it concealed without a permit or license to do so. What may be surprising to some is that CS/HB 543 is listed as a Public Safety Bill. This is because although those eligible to carry a concealed weapon may do so, those who are not legally allowed to do so must carry identification and display it upon demand by a law enforcement officer. The bill also makes changes to s. 1001.212, F.S. concerning the Office of Safe Schools. The Office of Safe School is required to “develop behavioral threat management operational process,” in an effort to improve school safety in our local communities including Palm Beach Gardens, Jupiter, and West Palm Beach.
What are the Florida Permitless Carry Rules?
There are still rules and regulations associated with Florida’s permitless carry law. One of them is that you must be 21 years of age or older. You must also be able to demonstrate competency with a firearm. Lastly, unless serving overseas you must currently reside in the United States and be a lawful permanent resident or U.S. citizen.
Of course, there are restrictions to permitless carry in Florida. You are not eligible for a Florida Concealed Weapon License if any of the following apply to you:
- Physically unable to safely handle a firearm
- A felon
- Convicted of a misdemeanor crime of violence within the past three years
- Adjudication withheld or sentence suspended for felony or misdemeanor crime of violence unless three years have elapsed
- Convicted for violation of controlled substances
- Recorded drug or alcohol abuse
- Two or more DUI convictions within the past three years
- Committed to a mental institution, adjudged incompetent or mentally defective
- Failure to provide proof of proficiency with a firearm
- Dishonorable discharge from the United States Armed Forces
- A fugitive
- Renouncement of U.S citizenship
What Happens if You Break Florida’s New Gun Law?
It is important to know that breaking any law relating to guns, weapons, and firearms in West Palm Beach, Jupiter, and Palm Beach Gardens is considered a serious crime in Florida. The punishment for carrying a gun in violation of HB 543 or violating any other law is a third-degree felony. A third-degree felony charge is severe and can greatly impact your life if committed. If you are arrested and found guilty of a third-degree felony in West Palm Beach, Palm Beach Gardens, or Jupiter Florida, you may be sentenced to up to five years in prison, a $5,000 fine, and be put on probation for five years. If you are arrested in regards to any sort of firearm violation, gun possession, or otherwise it is crucial to contact an experienced Florida Criminal Defense attorney such as those at the Law Offices of Matthew Konecky.