Gun Law 101 CWFL Basics (Part 1)

WFL Basics

Video Transcript:

Hello everybody. This is David Katz. Welcome to the Firearm Firm’s Gun Law, 101 – 3-part series. Today we have CWFL basics, part one of the Gun Law, 101 series. Before we get started, we do have to cover some legal stuff. So first, we’ll let you know that attending this webinar does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and me or you and my law firm Katz and Phillips, P.A. – The Firearm Firm.  All of the information you hear today is provided as general information and no legal advice is being given. If you have a situation, please call an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction to discuss the particulars of your matter. All of the images that you see used in this presentation today are licensed by Katz and Phillips, P.A., through ShutterStock, Filmstro, or other licensing organizations, or are used under the Copyright Act of 1976, “Fair Use” provisions.

It is important to note that our law firm is located in Florida and we are licensed only in the state of Florida. All information provided is for, or under, Florida law. If you live outside of the state of Florida, please do not rely on the information that you are hearing during this webinar. This webinar is designed for the state of Florida and contains only Florida law.  

By way of introduction, as you’ve already heard, my name is David Katz. I am managing partner of Katz and Phillips, P.A., The Firearm Firm. My practice is almost entirely self-defense and gun law. My partner, James Phillips, and I have written the best-selling book on Florida gun law simply called Florida Gun Law, Armed and Educated, now in its third edition. We are also statewide attorneys for U.S. LawShield. I am the president of the only Second Amendment professional association for lawyers, the American Council of Second Amendment Lawyers, as well as a proud life member of Florida Carry, a member of the NRA, and many other organizations working to preserve our right to bear arms.  Finally, I’m lead counsel on several lawsuits against the state of Florida and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement working to preserve our constitutional rights here in Florida. I’m especially proud that my law firm has been named the “Criminal Defense Firm of the Year” for three years running in Central Florida by U.S. Business News. Enough about me, let’s get this show on the road. 

In this class, we will cover the following topics: What is a CWFL? What weapons are covered by a CWFL? What weapons are not covered by a CWFL?  Can you still carry a weapon not covered by a CWFL? What is concealed carry? What do the terms, “conceal from the ordinary site” and “on or about his or her person” mean? 

We will answer common concealment questions. Then we will cover where you can carry a firearm with or without a CWFL.  We will discuss vehicle carry and dispel rumors about the three-step rule. Then we will discuss where your CWFL allows you to lawfully carry. We will finish today’s course with a discussion of special areas of concern for CWFL holders.

What is a CWFL? CWFL stands for Concealed Weapon and Firearm License. It is the only license issued by the state of Florida that allows the concealed carry of a firearm. Open carry is illegal in Florida, except under some very limited exceptions, which we will discuss later. Many people are shocked to learn that in Florida, the issuance of a license to carry a firearm is controlled by the Department of Agriculture. Florida is a shall issue state, which means that unless you’re disqualified from licensure, the Department of Agriculture must issue you a CWFL. 

Some of the reasons a person may be ineligible (for a CWFL) include the inability to handle a firearm, a felony conviction, having adjudication withheld, or sentence suspended on a felony or misdemeanor crime of violence, where probation or other conditions set by the court have been finished within the last three years, a conviction for a misdemeanor crime of violence in the last three years, a conviction for violation of controlled substance laws, or multiple arrests for such offenses, and finally, a record of drug or alcohol abuse.

As you can tell by the name, a CWFL covers much more than a handgun. It also allows for the concealed carry of various other weapons. The weapons covered by a CWFL are a handgun, a knife, an electric weapon, such as a stun gun, or taser, a tear gas gun, and a billie. We will discuss each of these in more detail. There’s really not much to say about a handgun. The only definition found in Florida law of handguns is found in the Florida Constitution Article 1, Section 8, which defines a handgun as a firearm, capable of being carried and used by one hand, such as a pistol or revolver. Unlike handguns, there is a lot to talk about when it comes to knives, aside from the Bowie knife pictured, there are many types of knives that are allowed under a CWFL. These include a butterfly knife, belt buckle, cane, or otherwise disguised knife, and even ceramic knives that will not be detected by metal detectors. Without a CWFL it is legal to openly carry a knife, but illegal to conceal it. Further, there is an exception for what is known as the common pocketknife.

A common pocketknife may be carried concealed with the blade in the closed position. There is lots of case law on what is and is not a common pocketknife, entirely too much for our purposes, but suffice it to say that a folding knife with a blade, not more than four inches without a notch grip, hilt guard, and locking blade mechanism is typically considered a common pocketknife. One last thought before we move on, the Florida legislature has preempted local governments from making laws or ordinances involving firearms. However, they have not done the same with these other weapons we are discussing. It is important to remember that local laws could change what you are hearing about non firearm weapons. The information presented is based on state law. There is one knife which Florida law specifically makes it illegal, not only to possess, but to manufacturer or sell within this state, that knife is called the ballistic knife. Ballistic knives shoot the blade from the knife as a projectile.

Under Florida statute § 790.01, electric weapon or device means any device, which through the application or use of electrical current is designed, redesigned, used, or intended to be used for offensive or defensive purposes, the destruction of life, or the infliction of injury. Section 15 defines a dart firing stun gun as any device having one or more darts that are capable of delivering an electrical current. Use by anyone under 16 years of age is only allowed with the adult supervision. There is also an important case to know in regard to electric weapons. In Florida Carry Inc. vs Thrasher, the First District Court of Appeals held that a registered student, employee, or faculty member of a college or university who possesses a valid CWFL may carry a stun gun, or non-lethal electric weapon or device designed solely for defensive purposes on campus if the weapon does not fire a dart or projectile.

Florida law does not define what a billie is. The courts, therefore, look to the plain meaning of the word. A billie is defined as a heavy wooden stick with a handle grip designed to be used to strike an individual. Although the definition contains the word wooden, it is likely that courts will also consider metallic sticks with a handle grip designed to strike an individual to be included in the definition. Therefore, collapsible batons also known as ASPs are almost certainly included in this category of weapon. (We have found no cases discussing this and therefore, cannot say with certainty.)  The courts have held that a small souvenir bat does not qualify as a billie under the statute because there was no evidence presented that when used in its ordinary and usual manner, that it was normally dangerous or deadly.

Florida law defines both tear gas, gun, and chemical weapon or device to mean any weapon of such nature. So, our legislature has defined tear gas gun and chemical weapon as a device such as a tear gas gun or chemical weapon or device. Not a great definition, but I guess what they’re saying is that you’ll know it when you see it. Florida law excludes a device known as a self-defense chemical spray from the definition of tear gas gun or chemical weapon or device.  A self-defense chemical spray is a device carried solely for purposes of lawful self-defense, that is compact in size and is designed to be carried on or about the person. A self-defense chemical spray can not contain more than two ounces of chemicals. 

Now, let’s discuss what you can own and carry, if you have a CWFL. First, as you will see from the definitions, tear gas gun includes other chemical weapons or devices and includes any weapon of such nature. This leads to a large variety of chemical self-defense weapons being legal. Most people will recognize mace or pepper spray in the traditional spray can. With a CWFL you can own any size can of chemical weapon that you can conceal. However, even without a CWFL you are still allowed to own and carry a concealed chemical weapon. As I pointed out, Florida law excludes from the definition of tear gas gun or chemical weapon or device, any self-defense chemical spray carried solely for purposes of lawful self-defense that is compact in size, and designed to be carried on or about the person, and contains not more than two ounces of chemicals. This is typically seen as a keychain-size spray can. Therefore even without a CWFL, a person, can carry a canister of pepper spray with two ounces or less of active chemical. One word of caution, it is the amount of active chemical that matters, as long as there is less than two ounces of active chemical, the size of the entire container, including the inert materials, is irrelevant. 

The definitions found in two different Florida statutes are needed in order to figure out what weapons are not covered by your CWFL. Florida Statute § 790.01 defines concealed weapons to include all of the following: any dirk, metallic knuckles, billie, tear gas gun, chemical weapon or device, or other deadly weapon carried on or about a person in such a manner as to conceal the weapon from the ordinary sight of another. However, §790.06 defines concealed weapons covered under a CWFL as only a handgun, electric weapon or device, tear gas gun, knife, or billie.  When one compares the two lists of specific specified weapons, it is easy to see that the legislature left dirk and metallic knuckles off of the list of items covered by a CWFL. However, these are not the only items that may not be carried in a concealed manner. The answer is simple really. If it’s not a handgun, electric weapon or device, tear gas gun, knife, or billie, it is not covered by a CWFL.  Common examples of items that are not covered are dirks, nun chucks, throwing stars, and brass knuckles. Please note it is not illegal to own any of these items, but none of them may be carried concealed even with a CWFL.

The term “concealed from the ordinary sight of another person” means the casual and ordinary observation of another in the normal associations of life. A firearm or weapon need not be completely hidden for it to be concealed, however, a firearm or weapon is not concealed if although not fully exposed its status as a firearm or weapon is detectable by ordinary observation. Based on the cases, it’s important to note that the intent of the person carrying a weapon or firearm to conceal or not conceal the weapon is not relevant to whether or not the firearm or weapon was, in fact, concealed. The courts have stated that in determining whether or not a weapon or firearm is concealed from the ordinary site, there are certain variables that should be considered, and others that are irrelevant.  Relevant factors include to what extent the weapon was covered, the location of the weapon, and the nature and type of weapon, among other things.  Irrelevant factors include the time of day or night, or whether a car window was opened or closed. The courts specifically have indicated that the fact a firearm, which is black cannot be seen at night because it is dark, does not make it any more concealed than it would have been during the daylight hours when it could have been easily spotted, nor does dark tint on a car’s windows make a firearm concealed because it could not be viewed until the window or door was opened.

According to Florida standard jury instructions, “on or about a person” means physically on the person or readily accessible to him or her. Generally, you can think of this as meaning as easily accessible as if carried on the person.

Printing is a common street term that refers to the outline of a handgun becoming visible under the clothing of a person. Printing is not a legal term and it is not a crime.  Further, the word printing does not appear anywhere in the Florida Statutes. Printing is not illegal in Florida. Since the gun is covered by a layer of clothing, the gun is still concealed under Florida law. No crime has been committed due to printing, though it may be considered boorish behavior, in bad taste, or even unwise.  No matter your personal opinion, under the plain meaning of the statute, it is not a crime. However, people who choose to dress with their firearm printing often find themselves faced with law enforcement. Uninformed and/or concerned citizens often call the police when seeing a firearm printing through clothes. A “freedom cover” or “Glock sock” shown in the lower picture is a soft fabric covering designed to conceal a firearm.  However, it is typically worn on the belt and often has a picture of the firearm concealed within printed on it. Florida law does not prohibit the use of freedom covers or Glock socks. Since the actual firearm is concealed to the ordinary site, the wearer is not violating the law. 

What about ammunition? Although firearms must be carried concealed, unless an exception applies, there is no such restriction for ammunition. In fact, it would be perfectly legal for a person to wear a Glock sock or other external concealment holster, which conceals their firearm, and openly carry as much ammunition as they can carry. Further, extra ammunition can be openly carried in spare magazines or in any other manner the carrier would like. 

The final point worth discussing in this topic is that the brief and open display of a firearm, whether done accidentally or intentionally to another person, is not illegal. For example, if a person bumps into their friend in a parking lot and tells them that they got a new firearm, they can show the firearm to the friend for a brief period of time, regardless of who else is around and sees it. Additionally, a person who conceal carries a firearm that is momentarily displayed because of a gust of wind or while reaching for an item on a shelf, commits no crime due to the brief and open display of the firearm. Of course, if displayed in anger, it could be a crime. 

The next topic we are going to discuss is the lawful possession of a firearm without a CWFL. In all of the following situations, you can lawfully conceal or open carry a firearm. Even if you do not have a CWFL in your own home. Make no mistake, this means what it says. There is a lot of misinformation regarding this law.  In order to open carry, it must be the home you live in. This does not allow a homeowner to let visiting friends open carry on their property. It also does not mean that you can open carry on any property you own. If you do not live on the property and it does not fit into another one of the exceptions, you cannot open carry or conceal carry just because it is your property. Florida Statute § 790.25 (3)(n) allows you to open or conceal carry a firearm in your place of business or employment. This was first recognized by the courts in Peoples vs State and clarified to include the surrounding property and State vs Anton.  However, be careful as there’s currently no case that informs us about common areas, where a business is located, such as a strip mall with a common parking lot. Likely, based on the cases regarding condominiums and apartments, it is not permissible to carry in those common areas without a CWFL.  Also, it is important to remember that although you can legally open or conceal carry at your place of employment, your employer does not have to let you do so. A business owner can prohibit the open or concealed carry of firearms on their property, with the exception of an employee, keeping a firearm securely encased in their vehicle.

You can also open or concealed carry without a CWFL while you are hunting, fishing, or camping. The law allows both open and concealed carry while hunting, fishing, or camping, even without a license. This applies even if you decide to go camping at a state or national park, the exception is the Savannah Preserve State Park, where firearms are not allowed. Remember if you are camping at a national park, you cannot carry your concealed firearm into any federal buildings within the park. You are also allowed to conceal or open carry while on your way to, or returning from a hunting, fishing, or camping expedition. This means you may open openly carry from your home directly to your hunting, fishing, or camping destination. However, you cannot make any stops for gas supplies or other reasons on your way to, or home, from the hunting, fishing, or camping site. Although the law allows you to open carry while traveling to and from these activities, it is likely that you will get a lot of unwanted attention by law enforcement. If you are seen open carrying on your way to, or from, your destination. Also, remember that you must be lawfully, camping, hunting, or fishing. If you decide to participate in these activities and are carrying a firearm, either openly or concealed without a CWFL, you must be fishing, camping, or hunting legally, in compliance with all laws, and you must have a valid fishing or hunting license if required, in order to carry under this.  

Additionally, the open carry of firearms is also allowed when traveling to or from places where firearms are typically used. For example, while going to or from shooting, if you are a regularly enrolled member of a target or trap shooting club, or if you are firing weapons for testing or target practice under safe conditions, you may carry a firearm even without a CWFL.

A vehicle is another place that you can possess a firearm without a CWFL.  One popular belief is that if you do not have a CWFL, you must follow the three-step rule. Let’s watch this video with my partner, James Phillips to learn more.

Typically, a three-step role is just that, the ability to fire a firearm is three steps away. An example of the three-step rule would be step one, your gun is unloaded.  Step two, your gun is in a closed case or in a holster with a snapping or buckling retention strap. Step three, your gun is in the case or holster, and is then put into the glove box or center console.  To be clear, Florida does not now, nor has it ever had a three-step rule. The law regarding carrying a firearm in your car without a CWFL is found in Florida Statute § 790.25(5), entitled possession in our private conveyance, which in relevant part reads:

It is lawful 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.

To be securely encased, all that is required is that the firearm be in a closed container, such as the glove box or center console of the car, a firearm cannot be placed loosely under a seat or between the seat and center console.

As you have just learned, there is no three-step rule in Florida.  In order to carry a firearm in a vehicle without a CWFL the following must occur:

1) The driver of the vehicle must be at least 18 years of age;

2) The firearm must be either securely encased; or

3) Not readily accessible for immediate use, as James just explained in the video.

Next, we’re going to talk about lawful possession with a CWFL.  Let’s talk first about places many of you are likely to come in contact with on a regular basis:

The property of any school. This includes any K through 12 public school, private school, or religious school. The general rule is that you cannot bring a firearm onto school property, but there are some important exceptions, Florida Statute § 790.06 contains a number of subsections that explicitly prohibit the carrying and possession of firearms on school grounds. Firearms are not allowed at any school or college athletic event, not related to firearms. Florida Statute § 790.115 broadens this prohibition by applying it to all school sponsored events and school property. A person may not possess a firearm or other weapon at a school sponsored event, on the property of any school, school bus, or school bus stop subject to the exceptions we will discuss. This includes the grounds of any elementary or secondary school facility or administration building and career centers. Florida does not allow for the concealed or open carry of firearms on university or college campuses. However, remember that if an individual is a registered student, employee, or a faculty member of the college or university, they may carry a stun gun or non-lethal electric weapon or device designed solely for defensive purposes if it does not fire a dart or projectile.  Further, as previously mentioned a person may carry under one of the few exceptions laid out in Florida Statute § 790.115.

A firearm can be carried in a case to a firearms program, class, or function that has been approved in advanced by the principal or chief administrative officer of the school, as a program or class to which a firearm can be carried, or carried in a case to a career center having a firearms training range. 

Now let’s talk about school parking lots. Remember that we already said that under Florida law concealed firearms can be carried without a license in a vehicle, as long as the person is 18 or older and the firearm is securely encased or otherwise not readily accessible for immediate use. This extends to the carrying of a firearm in a person’s vehicle, on the grounds of a school, or at a school activity. However, school districts are free to adopt written and published policies that waive this exception for purposes of student and campus parking privileges.  This means that while firearms in vehicles on school parking lots are legal under state law, an individual school may have a policy that makes it illegal to have one on the lot. Remember, even if a school district does not have a policy prohibiting firearms on the property, they still may not be taken outside of the vehicle or into a school building.  

No discussion of schools and firearms would be complete without also talking about the federal Gun-Free Schools Zones Act. The federal Gun-Free Schools Zones Act is found in the United States Code § 18, U.S.C. 922. Under this law. It is a federal crime for an individual to possess a firearm on the grounds of, or within a thousand feet of a public, parochial, or private school. This takes the prohibition on carrying a firearm to a school one step further than Florida state law, even making the mere possession of a firearm by an occupant of a vehicle driving past a school or dropping their child off a federal crime. However, seven exceptions are provided, the first four of which we will discuss because they are likely to apply to many of us. 

Exception One – if the possession is on private property, which is not part of the school grounds. This means that a person living within a thousand feet of a school can keep a firearm in their home. 

Exception Two – if the individual possessing the firearm is licensed to do so by the state in which the school zone is located. This means that a CWFL holder may legally carry a concealed firearm into a gun-free school zone. However, there is one important note about the statute. A person can only lawfully carry in a school zone located in the state that issued the firearm license. Therefore, if a person has a Florida CWFL, they can only carry through Florida school zones. If that Florida CWFL holder is traveling through another state, the exception under federal law does not apply to them, and they will be violating the law if they travel through a school zone in the state they’re visiting. It also means that a Florida resident who holds a non-resident, non-Florida concealed carry license or permit does not benefit from this exception and will be in violation of the law if they take a firearm into a school zone.

Exception Three – if the firearm is not loaded and is in a locked container or a locked firearm rack. This means that if a firearm is unloaded and carried in a locked case, a glove box or trunk that is locked, for example.  

Exception Four – There is no violation of federal law if the firearm is carried by an individual for use in a program approved by a school in the school. This exception covers school sponsored shooting activities, such as an ROTC program. 

So, let’s try and make sense of the law in light of the separate federal and Florida state laws. Fortunately, for our purposes, Florida state law and federal law are similar in their allowances for firearms in school parking lots. The most important question for most of us is, “what do I do when picking my child up in the car line from school?” Remember that Florida state law allows a firearm to be carried in a school parking lot if it is concealed in either a secured, locked container, or otherwise not readily accessible for immediate use, and exception three to the Federal Gun-Free Schools Zone Act allows an unloaded firearm to be carried in a lock container or locked firearm rack. If you have a CWFL your firearm must be concealed and must remain in the vehicle on school grounds. If you do not have a CWFL, then in addition to the requirements for a CWFL holder, your firearm must also be unloaded and in a locked container. And remember that if you are parking in the school parking lot, you need to know if the school district has a policy forbidding firearms in cars for campus parking purposes. 

Now let’s look at some other places where we get a lot of questions about concealed carry:

Can you carry in a polling place? Which means a place where people vote during an election? No, not while it is a polling place. Once the election is over, if you could carry there before, then you can carry there again. 

Can you carry in a courthouse? No.

Can you carry at a horse race or a Greyhound racing? No, you cannot. 

Can you carry in an airport in Florida? No, you cannot carry anywhere in an airport terminal with the only exception being that you can have an unloaded firearm in your checked baggage. However, if you are traveling with your firearms, make sure you know the law in your destination and that you follow all TSA guidelines and airline policies. We’ve represented too many people who had forgotten that they had a firearm in their carry-on bag or women who had them in their purses and attempted to go through the TSA screening. Please remember where your firearms are! Even an innocent mistake will cost you thousands of dollars and can end up with you being arrested if you make the mistake of carrying a firearm into a TSA checkpoint. It happens hundreds of times a year in this country. Please be careful and mindful of where your firearms are. 

Can you carry in a bar? No.

What about when you go to watch the Florida Gators beat Florida State? Nope. You cannot carry at the Gator game, any high school or collegiate or professional sporting event. 

Can you carry at a correctional facility, meaning a jail or a prison? Nope. 

What about the VA hospital? This is an important question for our veterans out there. Unfortunately, the answer is no. And we have seen quite a few arrests of veterans who were unaware of this prohibition.

So, where can you lawfully carry?  Let’s review. Even if you do not have a CWFL, as long as you are not otherwise prohibited by law from possessing a firearm, you can carry in your own home, place of business, or employment. In a motor vehicle securely encased. You can also carry without a CWFL, either concealed or openly while engaged in camping, hunting, fishing, firearms training, testing, or target practice, and while traveling to or from those locations and events. 

If you have a CWFL, you can carry in a motor vehicle concealed. Your firearm may be readily accessible and does not need to be securely encased, but it does need to be concealed. You can also carry in any public place, not prohibited by law, which includes pretty much everywhere with the exceptions we’ve just covered and some tricky places, which we will cover shortly. You can lawfully carry in hospitals unless they provide mental health services. Then the entire hospital is off limits. You can also carry on state and local government property unless a meeting is occurring. You can carry in a grocery store, convenience store, and the liquor store.  You can carry virtually anywhere we have not discussed as prohibited, but now we need to talk about the nitty gritty and the gray areas.

Let’s start with a quick review and expand on the areas we’ve already covered. Even with a CWFL, you cannot carry on or at the property of any public or private school, school bus, school bus stop, school activity or event, college or technical school or university.  You cannot carry at sporting events, school, college, or professional, nor at hospitals that provide mental health services, any law enforcement station, detention facility, jail or prison, any courthouse or courtroom, unless you have the judges written permission, any polling place, any private property where you receive notice it is prohibited. Any meeting of the legislature or legislative committee, any meeting of County or municipal government.  You cannot carry at school, board meetings, the US Post Office, including the parking lot, at a bar, in an airport terminal, in a Seaport in the secured areas.  Finally, you cannot carry at any place of nuisance.

Now let’s talk about gray area. But first, let me make sure you understand that at our law firm, we do not take chances with your freedom. The advice we give when an area is unknown will always be the advice that will keep you from getting in trouble. Many legal scholars, including attorneys who practice in firearm law will give different advice. 

Gray Area Number One:

The first area that this occurs in is regarding signage prohibiting the carrying of firearms. Florida law does not address a “No Guns” sign. No one can give you a definitive answer regarding whether these signs have any legal effect. There is also no case law, where a judge has decided whether a No Gun sign has any effect. We therefore tell you to treat them as if they do have legal effect. We do not want you to be the test case. If a property owner does not want people on their property with firearms, they have a right to ban them. Those who have knowledge that they are not welcome while carrying a firearm who do so anyway are trespassing.  Armed trespassing is a felony. If you see a sign banning firearms, don’t take the risk, take your business elsewhere, or risk being the test case.

Gray Area Number Two:

The second gray area is restaurants with bars. Let’s review what we should already know. We cannot carry a firearm into a bar. We can carry a firearm into a restaurant unless we have notice from the establishment that we are not allowed to do so. What about restaurants with bars in them? Think of most major chain sit-down restaurants like Outback, Chili’s, Red Lobster, etc. Can we carry into these establishments? Are there portions where we cannot carry? Florida law in relationship to establishments that sell alcohol only says that we cannot carry in any portion of an establishment licensed to dispense alcoholic beverages for consumption on the premise, which portion of the establishment is primarily devoted to such purposes. Again, there is disagreement in the legal community on this, but our advice will keep you from getting in trouble. Simply stay out of the bar area of such establishments. When carrying your firearm, you should be fine eating in the dining room. If you need to use the restroom, go the long way around the bar do not cut through It.

Gray Area Number Three:

Let’s talk about parking lots and Florida law. We have a statute called, Protection of the Right to Keep and Bear Arms in Motor Vehicles for Self-Defense and Other Lawful Purposes. This is Florida Statute § 790.251. It specifically allows us to keep a firearm in our cars, in the parking lot of just about every business in the state, with the exception of schools, prisons, nuclear plants, places that affect national security, places that make, use, or store explosives and those places excluded by federal law. Although the law is still on the books, it has been found to be unconstitutional, which means it is not good law, and businesses can prevent you from parking in their lots if you have a firearm in your car. The only portion of the law still in effect, is the portion that deals with a CWFL holder parking in the parking lot where they work. A business cannot prevent its employees who have a CWFL from leaving a firearm in their vehicle, in the parking lot. The rest of the law is void. 

Gray Area Number Four:

As the slide says, you may lawfully carry in both state and national parks. However, you may not carry in any federal government buildings including those located in a national park, such as museums or ranger, stations, gift shops, or restrooms.

Gray Area Number Five:

Finally, let’s talk about churches, temples, and other religious organizations. There is no law in Florida that prohibits you from carrying in your religious institution whether you are there for services or other reasons. However, you must remember that you cannot carry on the property of any school. Many legal scholars believe this does not include Sunday school or religious school, whether that is true or not may depend on if the church or other organization charges for this education.  To be safe, we recommend that if your church or other religious institution has a school on property, that you not carry a firearm with you while on the property.

Gray Area Number Six:

Can you carry your firearm while consuming alcohol? Yes, you can.  Please understand, I’m not recommending drinking while carrying a firearm. I’m only telling you what Florida law says. It is not illegal to be carrying your firearm if you are consuming alcohol in Florida.  In fact, you could be concealed carrying and be commode hugging drunk, laying in a pool of your own vomit, and not be breaking the law.  What you cannot do is be under the influence and “use your firearm.” Use your firearm means to actually discharge it or have it “readily accessible for immediate discharge,” which means loaded and in your hand. Of course, even if you are heavily intoxicated, the law allows you to use a firearm in a true self-defense situation. But, what you cannot do is misinterpret the situation because you’re drunk and use your firearm mistakenly.  In truth, we all know that alcohol and guns don’t mix.

Gray Area Number Seven:

Finally, the last thing we’re going to discuss today is whether or not you need to display your CWFL when you encounter a law enforcement officer. The answer is no! Whether or not you’re walking down the street and stop to talk to a police officer, or if you’ve been pulled over for a traffic infraction, Florida law does not require you to voluntarily disclose that you are carrying a concealed weapon or that you are a CWFL holder. You are only required to disclose that you have a CWFL upon demand by the officer. If asked for your CWFL you must provide it, and another form of identification. Failure to do so is not a crime, but a civil infraction punishable by a twenty-five dollar fine payable to the clerk of the court. However, if you are carrying and do not produce your CWFL, you may find yourself arrested for the crime of concealed carry.

People often ask us what they should do. If they are carrying and are pulled over for a traffic infraction. What you do is up to you. The law does not require you to inform the officer that you have a firearm or a CWFL unless he asks you for your CWFL.  In that case, you must display it. Personally, when I get pulled over, I do the following. I stopped safely on the side of the road. Before the officer reaches my car, I open all the windows and the sunroof and turn on all interior lights. This lets the officer clearly see in my car, know exactly how many people are in it, and indicates to them that I’m not trying to hide anything. It allows them to feel safe. I then place my hands on the steering wheel in clear view and await the officer’s approach. Before removing my hands from the wheel, I have chosen to inform officers that I am a CWFL holder and tell them where on my person or in my car my firearm or firearms are located. I’ve done this on three separate occasions. Not once has an officer taken my firearms. In fact, all three times, the officers expressed their gratitude to me and not once did they do anything other than giving me a warning for whatever infraction that caused them to pull me over.  This has been my experience. I know others that have been asked to get out of their cars, and yet others who’ve had their guns taken during the encounter and returned to them disassembled. What you do is your choice. However, what you should not do is reach into any area containing your firearm. For instance, if you’re asked for your registration, which you keep in your glove box, and you also happen to keep your firearm in the glove box, it would be a very bad idea to reach into the glove box. When the officer sees your gun, you will likely see his. Instead, I would highly recommend saying, Officer, I’m happy to provide you with the documents you want. However, it’s in my glove box, and my firearm is also in the glove box. How do you want to proceed so that neither of us feels unsafe? Then, follow their instructions. Finally, when interacting with law enforcement use the word firearm, not gun. Police Officers have been trained to yell out gun when they see one on the scene and to react when they hear that term.

Thank you for joining us today for the first part of our Gun Law, 101 webinar series. We will be releasing parts two and three shortly. We hope you will join us for those. Today’s webinar was sponsored by U.S. LawShield. Visit Also, after the webinar, please stay tuned for a word from U.S. LawShield. Further, we will be repeating the introductory videos that we played prior to the webinar immediately after the conclusion of this webinar. For those of you who missed them, please stay tuned. They contain a lot of important information and useful information about our law firm, our sponsors, and if you’re a member of U.S. LawShield, about your membership.  This webinar has been produced and presented by the law offices of Katz & Phillips, P.A.,- The Firearm Firm. If you have any questions, please feel free to email us at and we will respond to you within two business days. Thank you for being here. We hope you learned a lot.

Hello. My name is Travis. I’m the area manager for the Tampa Bay region for U.S. LawShield. I have 27 years in law enforcement experience and 25 of those years spent as a firearms instructor as well. Today I want to talk to you about the benefits of being a U.S. LawShield member. What you must keep in mind is for me to prevent a crime, I’m going to have to commit a crime.  Anytime I pull this firearm to defend myself or others, I’m automatically committing a felony. It is not my job as a police officer to arrive on scene and determine if you use justifiable force or not, that is left up to the jury of your peers. Most people want to justify their actions to me. When I arrive on scene or in their excited delirium, make spontaneous utterances, that can land them in a lot of hot water.

Remember the Miranda rights you hear all the time, the right to remain silent. Yes, that applies in a situation like this. Please do not give me a statement on scene. What you want to tell the officer is I fully intend to cooperate with your investigation. However, at this time I’m not making any verbal or written statements until my attorney is present. You must invoke your rights. As officers we have three sleep cycles before we have to make a statement after an officer involved incident. You do not get this luxury. I am there to conduct an investigation and I will question you. The same thing applies with the 911 phone calls. Be careful what you say. It is a recorded line. 

If you use force, whether with a gun, knife, hands, feet, baseball bat, break bottle, or vehicle, you could be facing criminal charges, not to mention the civil actions that will follow afterwards.  If you have ever had to hire a good attorney, it is not cheap even if you have done everything right, and you were justified beyond a shadow of doubt, you could be looking at three to nine months just to get through this criminal process. This is where U.S. LawShield comes in play. They provide their members with a criminal and civil attorney for no other out-of-pocket expense. Unlimited coverage, both criminally and civilly, no caps, no down payments, no deductibles. So, if you go 2.5 million, like George Zimmerman, you pay zero lawyer’s fees out of your pocket. 

They made this program extremely affordable. Our annual membership only costs $131.40 per year. which breaks down to $10.95 a month, or 36 cents a day. One day, I don’t go to McDonald’s for a Big Mac meal and I have an attorney in my back pocket, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The best part, if you could see my card, right here, this is my U.S. LawShield membership card. On the back of this card, there’s a red emergency number. That number, if you call it, I don’t care if it’s Christmas Eve at three o’clock in the morning, no matter what type of tool you use to defend yourself, remember hands, feet, bricks, bottles, knives, guns, baseball bat, or vehicle. You can call it that emergency number and an actual attorney answers the phone. Not a call service, but an actual attorney. Folks that’s priceless to have that attorney by your side. 

We do have five options that can be added on to your plan. However it fits your needs. Our newest option is bail bonds and expert witness.  U.S. LawShield will provide up to $50,000 towards the bail bonds.  Expert witness is also part of this combined add-on.  If you need an expert witness to testify on your behalf, U.S. LawShield would cover this expense. Again, bail bonds and expert witnesses, a combined add on which is only $2.95 extra a month or $35.40 per year. One of our other options is 50 state. With 50 state, you’re going to get the same Florida benefits in all 50 States, plus Puerto Rico and DC. Minor children coverage – If you guys have minor children under the age of 18, if they live in your household, all your kids are covered, not per kid, but all your kids. So, if you have 10 kids, they’re all covered for the one price of $24.00 extra a year or $2 extra a month. Gun Owner’s Identification Theft Coverage- If you have guns and they’re ever stolen, used in a crime, our attorneys will help you with that litigation as well. If you have another adult that lives with you, whether spouse, boyfriend, girlfriend, or adult child, if you sign them up with annual membership also, they will get a $23 discount. Use the promo code that is offered from this webinar (FL817), and you will get two free months each, on us. That’s another $22 savings per person. I want to thank you each and every one of you for being here with us today, if I can be of any assistance to you, please email me at

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