Do Snowbirds Have a Right to Carry Concealed in Florida?

conceal carry in Florida

Many “snowbirds” wonder if they can carry concealed in Florida.

Each winter out-of-state “snowbirds” flock to the Sunshine State in hopes of avoiding brutal blizzards and freezing temperatures.  Most of Florida’s seasonal visitors come from the northern New England states or Canada. While some individuals have the luxury of owning a second home in Florida, others enjoy temporary residency in beachside motels, rentals, or RVs. Either way, the question remains, do snowbirds have a right to carry concealed in Florida?  Regardless of whether it is a firearm or other weapon, the answer to this question varies.

First, we must consider Florida’s permitless carry law.  Under Florida Statute § 790.015, a nonresident of Florida may carry a concealed weapon or concealed firearm, as that term is defined in s. 790.06(1), while in this state if the nonresident is a resident of the United States who is 21 years of age or older and he or she: (a) Satisfies the criteria for receiving and maintaining a license to carry a concealed weapon or concealed firearm under s. 790.06(2)(a)–(f) and (i)–(n), (3), and (10); or (a) Is 21 years of age or older, (b) Has in his or her immediate possession a valid license to carry a concealed weapon or concealed firearm issued to the nonresident in his or her state of residence, and (c) Is a resident of the United States. In plain language, an individual in Florida can carry a concealed firearm if that individual is a U.S. citizen, or legal permanent resident, is at least 21 years of age, and is not disqualified from possessing firearms. Common disqualifiers are typically due to criminal history or mental health concerns.  Hence, neither a concealed weapons license nor permanent residency in the state of Florida is required to exercise the right to carry concealed.

Our Canadian visitors however, will need to have acquired, at minimum, a green card in order to carry a concealed weapon or firearm in Florida. A valid visa or visa waiver entry does not suffice for purposes of carrying concealed in the Sunshine State.  Although there are exceptions under federal law that will allow non-immigrant visa holders to possess a firearm, the laws differ for carrying a firearm that is concealed. Therefore, some individuals who do not possess citizenship or a green card, may legally possess a firearm in their temporary Florida home, but cannot carry the firearm concealed outside of the home.

For legal U.S. residents visiting Florida for the winter season, a license to carry a concealed weapon or firearm in Florida is not necessary. However, it is highly recommended.  Keep in mind, you do not have to be a permanent resident of the state of Florida to qualify for a Florida Concealed Weapon or Firearm License. Any legal U.S resident can apply, so long as you are not prohibited from possessing firearms anywhere within the U.S.

Finally, remember that all Florida nonresidents are subject to the same laws and restrictions with respect to carrying a concealed weapon or concealed firearm as a resident of Florida who is licensed to carry concealed.  Therefore, you must familiarize yourself with the relevant laws before choosing to carry concealed. So, no matter where you choose to spend your winter months this year, make sure to stay informed.

To learn more about why you should still get a CWFL under Florida’s permitless carry law, click here.


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