Concealed Weapons License in Florida

Florida offers a license to carry for individuals interested in carrying a firearm concealed in the state. In today’s blog, we cover the eligibility requirements for a Florida Concealed Weapons License and the process for applying in person or by mail.

Florida’s Concealed Weapons License (CWL)

Florida is a shall-issue state with concealed weapons permits issued at the state level by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS). There is no permit, background check or firearms registration required when buying a handgun from a private individual, though a license is required for concealed carry in the state. Also, the Florida CWL allows holders of the license to carry not only a handgun but also other weapons such as electronic weapons, tear gas guns, billie clubs, and knives. CWLs are issued to residents and non-residents. In terms of reciprocity, Florida will only honor resident CCW licenses from states with which Florida has a reciprocity agreement.

Note that open carry is not legal in Florida, except for a few limited exceptions such as:

  • a person engaged in fishing, camping, or lawful hunting, or going to or returning from a fishing, camping, or lawful hunting expedition;
  • a person engaged in the business of manufacturing, repairing, or dealing in firearms, or the agent or representative of any such person while engaged in the lawful course of such business; and
  • a person firing weapons for testing or target practice under safe conditions and in a safe place not prohibited by law or going to or from such place.

License Eligibility

To be eligible for a Florida concealed weapon or firearm license, interested applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • be 21 years of age or older;
  • be able to demonstrate competency with a firearm;
  • currently reside in the United States and be a U.S. citizen or deemed a lawful permanent resident alien by Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service.

Factors that may render an individual ineligible for a CWL are:

  • the physical inability to handle a firearm safely;
  • a felony conviction (unless civil and firearm rights have been restored by the convicting authority);
  • having adjudication withheld or sentence suspended on a felony or misdemeanor crime of violence (unless 3 years have elapsed since probation or other conditions set by the court have been fulfilled);
  • a conviction for a misdemeanor crime of violence in the last 3 years;
  • a conviction for violation of controlled substance laws or multiple arrests for such offenses;
  • a record of drug or alcohol abuse;
  • 2 or more DUI convictions within the previous 3 years;
  • being committed to a mental institution or adjudged incompetent or mentally defective;
  • failing to provide proof of proficiency with a firearm;
  • having been issued a domestic violence injunction or an injunction against repeat violence that is currently in force;
  • renouncement of U.S. citizenship;
  • a dishonorable discharge from the armed forces;
  • being a fugitive from justice.

To determine if you are eligible for a CWL, answer a few of these simple eligibility questions.

Applying for a License

To pursue a CWL, especially if you have questions about an application during COVID-19, call the state’s office at (850) 245-5300 to schedule an appointment.

Individuals can apply for a concealed weapon license in person at a Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) regional office or an authorized Florida tax collector's office in their area. Alternatively, they can also apply by mail, which requires an appointment at the applicant’s local sheriff’s office to submit fingerprints and a completed application mailed to:

Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
Division of Licensing
P.O. Box 6687
Tallahassee, FL 32314-6687

When applying for a license, applicants must provide:

  • a picture ID (driver license or state-issued identification card);
  • a copy of a training document or other certificate that confirms that they are proficient with a firearm;
  • form of payment (note that regional offices cannot accept cash).

Applicants may also need to provide additional documentation for special cases. For instance, if an individual has ever arrested, they should also bring certified copies of the court documentation reflecting the final disposition of the charges filed against them. Those born outside of the United States or are a permanent legal resident alien will need to bring official documentation with them that confirms their citizenship status.

Individuals currently employed as a law enforcement officer, correctional officer, or correctional probation officer with a Florida law enforcement agency and are applying as such will need to provide a copy of an official document stating that they are currently employed with that agency as such. Similarly, those who are retired law enforcement officers, correctional officers, or correctional probation officers from a Florida law enforcement agency and are applying as such will need to provide a copy of an official document that includes their date of retirement and the agency from which they retired.

Active military personnel who want to apply for a CWL should include a copy of their Common Access Card or other form of official military identification with their applications, such as a copy of service members' current orders as proof of active duty status. Honorably discharged veterans should submit a copy of their DD 214 long form with their applications.

The application process itself shouldn’t take more than an hour to complete. Applicants should expect FDACS to issue a license or deny their application within 90 days after receipt of their complete application.

Questions? Contact Attorney Phillip T. Ridolfo, Jr.!

If you are interested in applying for a CWL to carry a weapon in Florida, be prepared to provide the required elements of the application, such as proof of residence among other things. An experienced Florida attorney can address any legal questions you might have about obtaining a license, especially if you have past convictions on your criminal record or have any other ineligibility concerns.

Let Attorney Phillip T. Ridolfo, Jr. help! Schedule a free consultation with the firm today!


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