Can You Bring a Gun into Florida Airports?
When it comes to gun ownership and firearm laws in Florida, the complexities of federal and state-specific regulations can make it difficult to know what is lawfully allowed and what isn’t. Ever-evolving legislation pertaining to gun regulations makes it especially imperative for firearm owners to understand the restrictions around public carry and other firearm laws in 2023.
Although the state of Florida currently allows the permitless carry of firearms, this doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s legal to carry a gun into a Florida airport. It’s crucial for Miami firearm owners to stay as informed as possible and take necessary precautions to ensure compliance with current state and federal firearm regulations and avoid life-changing criminal consequences, such as getting detained at the airport.
Keep reading to learn more about how Florida’s gun laws apply to airports in 2023.
What Is Florida’s Permitless Carry Law?
Florida’s new permitless carry law went into effect on July 1, 2023. The updated firearm regulation allows Florida gun owners to carry concealed firearms without a valid permit or license. The law was signed by Governor Ron DeSantis on April 3, 2023, making Florida the 26th state to enact “Constitutional Carry” legislation.
Despite Florida’s permitless carry law, there are still restricted locations where firearms are prohibited, including:
- Polling places
- Police stations
Bringing a firearm onto the above premises is still illegal in Florida, making it all the more crucial for Floridians to fully understand their right to carry a firearm and the legal ramifications of a criminal conviction.
While the permit requirement for concealed carry has been removed, other laws and regulations regarding the possession and use of firearms in Florida still apply, which is why it’s essential to familiarize yourself with these laws to ensure compliance and avoid potential disputes in criminal court.
Airport Restrictions on Firearm Possession
While Florida permits individuals to legally possess firearms, certain restrictions apply when it comes to bringing guns into certain locations—airports included. Under Florida Statute 790.06(12)(a), it’s illegal to carry a concealed weapon or firearm without a permit in areas that are designated as off-limits, regardless of whether you possess a concealed weapon license.
Florida airports are considered secure areas, so carrying firearms into these facilities is strictly prohibited. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA), a federal agency responsible for ensuring the security of travelers, prohibits passengers from bringing firearms past airport security checkpoints.
Penalties for Carrying a Gun in Florida Airports
In 2022, the Tampa International Airport (TPA) ranked 10th in the nation for firearms flagged at security checkpoints, making it all the more important to understand current firearm regulations in Florida. Despite the state’s permitless carry law, bringing a gun into airports is still illegal and punishable by criminal penalties.
Under Florida law, bringing a weapon into the airport is a second-degree misdemeanor punishable by:
- Up to 60 days in jail
- A maximum fine of $500
- Up to 6 months of probation
Exceptions for Lawful Firearm Carry in Florida Airports
Despite the firearm restrictions in Florida airports, it’s vital to know that certain exceptions can apply to these regulations for qualifying individuals intending to transport firearms for lawful purposes.
When is it lawful to carry a gun in Florida airports? Generally, carrying a firearm in the airport is legal for those transporting their weapon for lawful purposes. For instance, if you are traveling with firearms for hunting, shooting competitions, or other legitimate activities, you may be permitted to transport them through Florida airports.
To comply with the law and ensure a smooth journey, Floridians carrying guns must follow certain guidelines, including:
- Ensuring firearms are unloaded
- Storing all ammunition separately
- Locking firearms in a hard-sided container
- Including firearms with checked baggage instead of carry-on baggage
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