Consider a person who works at a business in Jacksonville, Florida who carries a handgun that is concealed on his/her person or keeps a gun concealed close by in order to protect the business from robbers. If a police officer comes into that business and finds the employee with the concealed firearm, can that employee be arrested for the Florida crime of carrying a concealed firearm, which is a third degree felony punishable by a maximum of five years in prison (assuming the search by the police officer was valid for the purposes of this example)? It seems obvious that the Second Amendment and Florida law would allow a person to keep a concealed firearm in his/her place of business for protection. However, several people have been arrested by police over the years in Florida for doing just that, and they have been convicted.
So, the question remains: Can a person in Florida carry a concealed gun at his place of business? The answer most likely is yes. It is a crime in Florida to carry a concealed firearm on or about one’s person without a permit. However, the law also says that a person is permitted to possess a firearm at his/her home or place of business? The confusion arises over the phrase: “his/her . . .place of business.” State prosecutors have argued that a person must be in a place of business that he/she actually owns or possesses (i.e. leases). State prosecutors have argued that mere employees of a business who do not own the business are not permitted to carry a concealed firearm at that business. This seems like an attempt to twist the meaning of the law for something other than its intended purpose. This issue has not been ultimately decided and the law could certainly change, but as I read it, a person is permitted to carry a concealed firearm at a business as long as he/she owns the business or works at the business. However, the law does not specifically account for a situation where the company policy prevents employees from possessing firearms at work.
Additionally, this exception to the carrying a concealed firearm law in Florida is different for a home. A person may be properly arrested and charged with carrying a concealed firearm if he/she carries a concealed firearm at the home of another person.
If you have been arrested on a gun charge in the Jacksonville, Florida area or have any questions regarding the laws pertaining to concealed firearms or other weapons, contact a criminal defense lawyer who knows the laws in this area so you can fully understand your rights regarding gun ownership and possession in Florida.