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Possession of a Concealed Weapon by a Convicted Felon is a Nonexistent Crime in Florida

In Florida, it is illegal for a person who has been convicted of a felony crime in any state to carry a concealed weapon.  There is a Florida criminal statute that addresses possessing a firearm and carrying a weapon, but they prohibit different things.  The law says that person who has previously been convicted of a felony may not possess a firearm.  The same statute says a person who has been convicted of a felony may not carry a concealed weapon.  The key difference, of course, is with the words carry and possess.  Regarding firearms, they may not be possessed.  Of course, if a convicted felon is carrying a firearm, he is also possessing it. However, the concept of possession is much broader than what a person is carrying.  A person can constructively possess things that are miles away.  For instance, you may be in California but also be in possession of a firearm in your house in Florida if the state can prove you knew the firearm was there and had sufficient control over its existence there. Proximity to a firearm may be sufficient to prove possession.  More than one person can be in possession of the same firearm. Many factors may be sufficient for the state to prove a person is in possession of a firearm, and if that person is a convicted felon, the penalty for such an offense can be severe.

Carrying a weapon is much more narrow. A convicted felon may not carry a concealed weapon. Carrying is generally interpreted as one would expect. As a result, if the police find a knife in a driver’s glove compartment of his car, the state may be able to prove the driver is in possession of the knife, but he is not carrying it, and therefore would not be in violation of this criminal statute. However, while the action required for criminal liability is more narrow, the definition of a weapon is broad. A weapon can include any potentially deadly weapon that can be concealed from another person. For instance, brass knuckles can cause a lot of damage, but they are generally not a weapon that is used to cause death. However, they are specifically listed in the statute as a potentially deadly weapon that a convicted felon cannot carry while concealed.

In conclusion, no person who has been convicted of a felony in any state may carry or possess a firearm. Also, that person may not carry any concealed weapon that has the potential to cause a deadly injury. That person may carry a potentially deadly weapon that is not a firearm openly so that it is not concealed.  However, it is still dangerous for a convicted felon to carry a deadly weapon that is not a firearm openly because if someone reports it as concealed and/or the police officer believes the weapon is concealed, the suspect may be facing a felony charge that is a credibility contest where a jury would know he or she is a convicted felon.