Do you have a concealed carry license in Florida? If so, we have important news that could shape not only 2018 Florida gun law, but national gun law in the coming year as well. The Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017, formally dubbed H.R. 38, was just passed by the U.S. House of Representatives with a bipartisan vote of 231 to 198. Should it be passed by the Senate and signed into law by President Trump, the Act would permit you to carry in any other state that also permits concealed carry. Time will tell if the Act will be signed into law, but if it does indeed pass, it will be a major win for supporters of the Second Amendment.
Key Components of H.R. 38
Any responsible gun owner knows that it is critical to be mindful of a state’s gun laws when traveling with a firearm. Unfortunately, though those laws may permit the state’s residents to carry a concealed weapon with a permit, they may not allow you to do the same unless a reciprocity exists between Florida and that state. H.R. 38 would change that, allowing any concealed carry permit holder to exercise that right in all 50 states, albeit within the confines of each state’s particular laws regarding concealed carry by residents. In doing so, it would ensure that law-abiding gun owners are not robbed of their right to self-defense when crossing state borders.
In addition to dismantling the two-tiered system that allows states to grant some residents the right to carry concealed while denying that right to travelers passing through, H.R. 38 will honor the standards of each state for granting that right. Essentially, if you would legally be able to obtain a concealed carry permit as a resident of a particular state, a Florida concealed carry permit will protect you from prosecution for executing that right in that particular state. Additionally, it does not strip property owners of the power to determine whether concealed carry is permitted on their premises, nor does it allow for otherwise unlawful behavior when passing through a state with a firearm. The measure also seeks to repair the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, enhancing transparency and accountability for licensing and retail firearm purchases.
What Else Is to Come for 2018 Florida Gun Law
H.R. 38 isn’t the only measure Florida gun owners should be keeping an eye on as the new year approaches. There are also two state bills which may be introduced by Senate Judiciary Chairman Greg Steube in 2018, which if presented and passed could expand the rights of gun owners in the state.
The first is a bill before the Florida Senate, which addresses where you can carry a concealed weapon in Florida. SB 274 would allow holders of concealed carry permits to carry firearms within private schools that are located on the same property as a religious institution. A second bill before the state Senate is SB 148, which if passed would reduce the penalties for those with concealed carry permits who inadvertently openly carry a firearm (link to: http://grahamlegalpa.com/what-florida-gun-law-says-about-open-carry/). It is still yet to be determined whether Steube will bring these proposals to the Judiciary Committee, and our Miami gun rights attorneys will be monitoring his decision closely.
If you have a case concerning your rights as a gun owner in Florida, our attorneys are here to offer guidance and help you seek justice. Contact our office today to schedule a consultation with a member of our team.