Last year, I met a man who had recently purchased a firearm by private sale. He felt that the transaction was a little strange and wondered if the firearm was stolen or not. I ran the serial number on the Florida Department of Law Enforcements stolen firearm database. To our surprise, the name and phone number for a detective in Miami showed up. We called the detective who told us that the firearm was stolen during a burglary two years prior. Needless to say, my customer was not happy with the fact that he had purchased a stolen firearm.
Here is the best way to make sure this never happens to you.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement was a website that allows you to see if a firearm has been reported stolen or not. The site is called FDLE | Stolen Gun Search . Simply enter the serial number for the firearm in question and click submit. If the search results say No Records Found, then this firearm isn’t stolen. However, if the search results list a detective name and contact info, I would walk away from the transaction.
I hope this article has been helpful. Tell me what you think of this article by giving me a thumbs up and share with you friends.
If you have any additional questions feel free to contact me by phone, text or email. If you're looking to get your Florida Concealed Weapons permit, take a look at our class schedule here.
Remember, Stay Safe & Help Others!
The most common question I receive is “What are the rules about having a firearm in my car without a concealed weapons permit?” First let's take a look at Florida Statute 790.25
F.S. 790.25(5) - POSSESSION IN PRIVATE CONVEYANCE. Notwithstanding subsection (2), it is lawful and is not a violation of F.S. 790.01 for a person 18 years of age or older to possess a concealed firearm or other weapon for self-defense or other lawful purpose within the interior of a private conveyance, without a license, if the firearm or other weapon is securely encased or is otherwise not readily accessible for immediate use….
According to this statute, you can have a firearm or weapon in your vehicle without a concealed weapons permit. Your firearm is allowed to be loaded and located anywhere is the vehicle as long as you meet three requirements.
#1 You Must be 18 Years or Older
F.S. 790.25(5) - a person 18 years of age or older to possess a concealed firearm or other weapon …. within the interior of a private conveyance...
It appears that if you're 18 years or older you can have a firearm in your vehicle. But remember this only applies if you are not a prohibited from possessing a firearm under Federal and State law. I recently had a young women approach me after a course with a concerned look on her face. “I’m not sure if i'm allowed to get a concealed weapons permit based on what you were saying” she said. I replied “What makes you feel that way.” She then preceded to tell me that she spent two years in prison for cocaine trafficking. I was pretty shocked. This woman just sat through a two and a half hour class and she's is prohibited from even touching a firearm, let alone carrying one concealed.
#2 The Firearm Must Be Securely Encased
F.S. 790.001(17) - “Securely Encased” means in a glove compartment, whether locked or not locked; snapped holster; in a gun case, whether or not locked; in a zippered gun case; or in a closed box or container which requires a lid or cover to be opened or access.
#3 The Firearm Must Not Be Readily Accessible
F.S. 790.001(16) “Readily accessible for immediate use” means that a firearm or other weapon is carried on the person or within such close proximity and in such a manner that it can be retrieved and used as easily and quickly as if carried on the person.
Remember the firearm must always be hidden from the view of others, if the firearm is visible to other drivers that is open carry and may be unlawful.
Can the firearm be loaded? Yes
Does the glove box have to be locked? No
Where can my firearm be located? Anywhere
What about the police?
I can tell you from personal experience that just because something is legal doesn’t mean the police know it's legal. I have had dozens of students over the years share stories of interactions with police where the police provided there own interpretation of how a firearm must be transported in a vehicle.
Real Story: The Truck Driver
One of my students is a truck driver who had a handgun loaded and placed in his glove box. One day he was pulled over and immediately informed the police officer that he had a firearm. The officer took the firearm and informed him that what was doing is unlawful. The officer then unloaded the firearm, placed a zip tie on the trigger and placed the firearm in a ziplock bag. The police officer then told the driver that he could take him to jail for what he did and to not remove the zip tie until he returned home.
Real Story: Arrested for a Felony
In June of 2017, I met a student who had been arrested for carrying a concealed firearm without a permit, which is a felony. I assumed that if he was arrested, the firearm must have been concealed on his body. I was wrong, the firearm was in a holster inside the glove box. Based on F.S. 790.001(17) this is not a crime, but the officer didn’t know that. My student was arrested for a felony and his bond was set at $5,000. The fee to hire an attorney was also $5,000. Thats a lot of money for most people to come up with let alone a 22 year old. His attorney made a quick phone call to the state prosecutor and they both agreed that no crime had been committed. The charges were never filed and the case was closed. The victim had his firearm and bond returned later that month, but he still lost $5,000 for the attorney. All this because a police officer didn’t know what he was talking about.
Just because something is legal doesn’t mean the police know it's legal. This is why it's up to you to understand your rights. I also keep two items in my vehicle at all times. First is the complete Florida Statutes 790 book, this book details Florida firearms statutes. Second is a copy of the book Florida Firearms Laws, Use and Ownership written by Jon Gutmacher, this book is used as the training tool for 80% of the law enforcement agencies in Florida. If the police are telling you something that you know isn’t correct, inform the police that you have a copy of these two documents in your glove box and they are free to use these tools to verify what they are claiming. Its extremely important that you are polite and respectful when doing this.
Hopefully the officer will look through these documents and prevent mistakes from being made.
Disclaimer: This article is for information purposes only and should not be constituted as legal advice. Always consult with an attorney
Is open carry legal in the State of Florida? It's a question I get asked everyday. But before I answer the question let's clarify what open carry means.
What is Open Carry?
Open carry is when your firearm is openly exposed for the world to see. Just imagine a police officer with a pistol on his hip, this is open carry. However open carry does not mean that the firearm is in your hand. This is called in hand ready to use and is highly frowned upon.
Is Open Carry Legal?
The answer is found in Florida Statutes 790.25 (3). This statute lists a few limited situations that we can open display our firearm.
Florida Statutes 790.25 (3) LAWFUL USES.—The provisions of F.S. 790.053 (This is the Statutes that prohibits Open carry) and 790.06 do not apply in the following instances, and, despite such sections, it is lawful for the following persons to own, possess, and lawfully use firearms and other weapons, ammunition, and supplies for lawful purposes:
Members of Gun Range, Club, & Gun Shows
F.S. 790.25 (3)(g) Regularly enrolled members of any organization duly authorized to purchase or receive weapons from the United States or from this state, or regularly enrolled members of clubs organized for target, skeet, or trap shooting, while at or going to or from shooting practice; or regularly enrolled members of club or organized for modern or antique firearms collecting, while such members are at or going to or from their collectors’ gun shows, conventions, or exhibits;
F.S. 790.25 (3)(j) 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;
F.S. 790.25 (3)(k) A person firing weapons in a safe and secure indoor range for testing and target practice;
It appears that we are allowed to openly display our firearm if we are at a gun range, which makes sense. But it also says we can openly display our firearm on the way to and on our way home from the range. The ability to open carry with your firearm while traveling to and from has been a hot topic of debate in the firearm community. Some people believe this is smart and within their rights. Even if the courts have ruled that this is legal, I personally don’t think most police would know its lawful and you are definitely going to scare anyone that sees you with the gun. We live in a very anti gun culture today and openly exposing your firearm unnecessarily isn’t going to change that.
Fishing, Camping or Hunting
F.S. 790.25 (3)(h) A person engaged in fishing, camping, or lawful hunting or going to or returning from a fishing, camping, or lawful hunting expedition;
My family is pretty active and we love spending time outdoors. If i'm fresh water fishing in Florida you better believe i'm going to have a gun. But choosing whether to open or concealed carry depends on where I am and how many people are around me. If i'm in an area where people can see me, I prefer to keep my firearm concealed. Personally my goal is create more firearm enthusiast and I don’t think we can do that by scaring random people. Many gun owners would disagree with this mindset saying “It's legal and it's my right. I don’t care who I scare.”
The decision is yours to make. Just remember if your decision is to open carry in public you may be spending more time talking to the cops then enjoying the outdoors.
F.S. 790.25 (3)(i) 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;
Have you ever been to a gun shop where the staff didn’t open carry a gun? Probably not. Firearm owners expect to see this and would be more shocked if they didn’t see a firearm.
At a Business by Owners or Staff or at Home
F.S. 790.25 (3)(n) A person possessing arms at his or her home or place of business
First let's discuss open carry at a business. I believe a degree of discretion should be used with this one. Customers expect to see firearms at a gun store or range. They may not be expecting to see the staff at an auto mechanic or cell phone store with a gun on their hip. Just remember, if you're in a non firearm related industry, a portion of your customers may not be pro gun and you may lose more than you're gaining. The same mindset should be used when openly displaying a firearm at home. Many years ago I was unloading rifles from my car after a day at the range. About thirty minutes later I had a knock on my door and to my surprise it was the police. My neighbor, a little old lady, over reacted when she saw me carrying a firearm up my driveway. Thankfully the police understood and the conversation ended as fast as it started.
I am a supporter of open carry but I think it needs to be used wisely. Just because open carry is lawful doesn’t negate the fact that you may scare people and the police may just show up. Always use an extreme amount of discretion before choosing to open carry your firearm. Anti Gun people tend to overreact and think you're a threat, when really you're just exercising your rights.
Do you think open carry should be lawful in all situations? Going to the grocery store, church or the mall. Tell me what you think and why in the comments below. If you enjoyed the article help spread the word by sharing on social media.
Remember, Stay Safe & Help Others!
I recently had an opportunity to go shooting with a former student Nichole.
Nichole is very new to the gun world. She was raised by two hippies, her words not mine, that encouraged her to stay away from firearms. As a child that was great advice for Nichole. However something in her mind changed after the Las Vegas massacre in 2017. Nichole and her husband made the decision that it was time to buy a gun and get protect themselves.
When Nichole arrived at the gun range she was bubbly and excited, that all changed when I asked her to load the magazine on a Glock 19. “Now I’m getting nervous” she said as she looked back at me. I gave her a quick word of encouragement and she was ready to shoot.
Bang, Bang, Bang
“Nope, No I don’t like this” Nichole said as she shaked a little. “I just can’t do this.” she blurted.
It was the recoil, it was just a little too much for her and is for most new shooters. Understandable so, guns can be scary and intimidating. At this point Nichole was ready to walk out and give up the idea of carrying a firearm concealed. I asked her to give me one more chance shooting with my eight year old daughters gun, a Walther P22. She agreed, she loaded the pistol and let loose. After she was finished she safety checked the firearm and looked back at me with a great big smile. “That was fun. I think I did a pretty good job” she said with amazement.
Sometimes first time shooters are pressured by a spouse or friend to shoot a large caliber gun that scares the crap out of them and just like Nichole they decide “I’m never doing this again.”
I strongly believe it’s better to practice the functionality and fundamentals of shooting with a firearm that you feel comfortable with. If that’s a 22LR that’s ok. Practice with your 22 until you're proficient and then if you choose, you can make the transition to shooting a larger caliber firearm. Once somebody is comfortable with shooting, basics, recoil and safety it is easier to handle a larger caliber firearm with confidence.
Nichole fired 50 rounds and had pretty solid groupings. She then asked me what she should do next to continue developing her skills. My answer “Buy a gun”, she looked at me like I was crazy. I’m sure she was thinking “why would I buy a gun if I don’t feel comfortable yet,” I believe the only way she will ever get comfortable is to buy a firearm, I recommended a Ruger SR22, some dummy rounds and practice loading, unloading, sight alignment until she has it down.
You don’t learn to drive a car by reading a book, you learn by getting behind the wheel and practicing. I also encouraged Nichole to watch some of my free training videos on YouTube and practice the drills. The more she handles a firearm the more natural and confident she will become.
I think Nichole did a great job shooting today. She overcame her fear and realized that shooting is pretty fun.
I frequently get asked about the process of selling a firearm through a private sale. Here are some important rules and tips to keep you legal and safe.
The State of Florida requires that if you're going to transfer ownership of a firearm through a private sale you follow the following rules.
Rule #1 - Identification Requirements
The buyer and the seller must possess a valid government issued ID from the State of Florida.
Rule #2 - Minimum Age Requirements
The buyer must meet the minimum age requirement for the firearm type being transferred.
Pistol / Revolver - 21
Shotgun (No Shoulder Stock) - 21
Shotgun (w/ Shoulder Stock) - 18
Rifle - 18
Rules #3 - Is the buyer a prohibited person?
To the best of the seller's knowledge the buyer is not prohibited from possessing a firearm.
That's it as long as you follow the legal requirements listed above your well within your rights to sell your firearm. However privately selling a firearm can be dangerous, so here are some helpful tips to keep you safe.
Tip #1 - Make the trade in a public place.
The first firearm I purchased was through a private sale. I met the seller online and after some negotiating we decided to meet. As you can imagine I was a little nervous. I mean this guy knows that I have $600 cash and I'm not even sure he has the gun. I was supposed to meet the seller in a Starbucks parking lot. I figured it was a public place and it should be ok. When I arrived I couldn’t find the seller. “I'm in the alley behind the Starbucks” the seller said via text message. I proceeded to the alley where the seller opened a bag to show me the shotgun. I gave him the cash and got out of their as fast as I could. It was like a scene out of a movie. I have never made a purchase like that again. I choose the location like a gun show, gun store or very public parking lot.
Tip #2 - Use a Bill of Sale Document
If the firearm you're selling is ever stolen or used in a crime, a firearms trace will link the weapon back to you. A bill of sale will help you prove who you sold the firearm too. Here is the bill of sale that I use, you can download it here.
Tip #3 - Verify the Firearm isn't Stolen
The State of Florida has a website that allows you to see if a firearm has been reported stolen or not.
Simply type in the serial number of the firearm and if the search results say “No Records Found” your good to proceed with the sale. However if the search results list a detective name and phone number you should walk away from the transaction as safely as possible.
Tip #4 - Take a Friend with You
Private sales can be very dangerous. Take a friend for backup.
Tip #4 - Be ready to walk away
If the situation doesn’t look or feel right, be ready to walk away. Many years ago I was meeting a buyer in a very public parking lot. When the buyer arrived and stepped out of his vehicle. I quickly realized that this is not a person I wanted to sell a firearm to. It was the face tattoo that tipped me off.
Tip #5 - Must have a
One of the tricks I like to use is to only buy or sell a firearm to individuals who have a valid Florida concealed carry permit . If the buyer or seller has a CWP I know they have passed an FBI background check and they are not a prohibited person. This will reduce the pool of potential buyers or sellers but it will make for a much safer transaction. Personally if the buyer doesn’t have a concealed carry permit , I walk away.
Don’t send someone money without seeing the firearm in person.
Don't allow people to know where you live or work.
Don't get suckered by a deal too good to be true
Their are lots of scam artists posting amazing firearm deals online. They tell you to act quickly before it's too late. Don't buy into this. Firearms have very little margin, so if you find a huge price difference between top sellers there's a reason.
During a recent Concealed Weapons Permit class, at our Brandon, FL location, a student, Roberto, mentioned that he recently purchased a firearm online and was having some problems with it. I asked him to bring the firearm and I would help him diagnose the problem.
The firearm he purchased was an American Tactical Imports 1911. The seller claimed the firearm was brand new and in good working order. Roberto was excited about his new gun, so he headed out to the range. After the first shot, Roberto was surprised that the pistol had jammed. He cleared the malfunction and released the slide forward. “What the hell is that?” Roberto said as he noticed the recoil spring hanging out of the frame.
I disassembled the firearm and was surprised to find that this was not a new gun. The internals were modified and polished in an attempt to repair the firearm. I also noticed that the recoil assembly was missing a spring and a retention pin. I believe this is what caused the problem that Roberto was experiencing.
A Common Mistake
Many time new shooters who attempt to purchase used firearm fall victim to a scum bag seller. These sellers know that new shooters don’t have a clue what to look for or what a fair price is for a used gun. Roberto purchased a broken firearm for $425 when he could have purchased the exact same firearm from a local dealer for $459 brand new. I feel bad for Roberto. It's a hard lesson to learn. My challenge to you is to learn from his mistake. I purchase my firearms online brand new then I have them transferred to a local dealer for pick up. This gets me the best possible deal on price while avoiding the pitfalls of a private sale.
To learn more about Flordia's laws on private sales and how to avoid making mistakes, read my article Florida Rules on Private Sales
Attila immigrated to the United States over 25 years ago from a country where firearm possession is restricted to law enforcement only. Luckily, Attila's good friend was a police officer. This provided him with a rare opportunity to shoot and develop a passion for firearms. Fast forward 25 years, Attila is living in Florida and getting a concealed weapons permit , because well the world seems to be losing its mind. I had a really interesting conversation with Attila about his view on stopping the violence and gun control.
"I don't understand why people want to take away guns, just look at the facts. In places where citizens can own firearms crime goes down when guns are restricted crime goes up."
Attila said in a thick Hungarian accent. I think it's pretty funny that people from the other side of the planet get it but our politicians can't seem to grasp the concept that guns save lives. Anyway back to why I think Attila lied to me. In the picture above notice the grouping on the red X, that's 15 shots from a Glock 19. He claims that he hasn't shot a gun in 25 years. What I think is that Attila is John Wicks counterpart from Hungry.
Attila shot a Custom Glock 19, S&W 637, Glock 43 and a Walther P22 with a Huntertown Arms silencer. His accuracy was amazing. However, because of his massive hands, he didn't like shooting the Glock 43 or the S&W 637.
Attila did make a couple of common mistakes.
Mistake #1:The biggest mistake Attila consistently made was leaving his finger on the trigger after the firearm was empty. We reviewed how important it is to immediately remove your finger from the trigger when you're not ready to fire.
Mistake #2:When you hear Bang, Bang, Click what should you do? We should keep the firearm pointed in a safe direction and count to 30 seconds. If that round is a hang fire we want the bullet to go into a safe direction. What we should not do, especially on a revolver is pull the trigger again. By doing this you move the potential hang fire out of line of the barrel, creating a very dangerous situation.
The awesome thing about Attila is that he noticed his mistakes and acknowledged his mistakes before I could get the words out of my mouth. He is a fast learner and probably the most organized student I've ever had. Attila thank you for trusting me to teach you firearm safety and the basics of shooting.
5 Items you can never Conceal Carry unless you want to end up in prison with hard-ass Jimmy :)
The State of Florida is pretty awesome when it comes to Concealed Carry. You can almost Carry any type of firearm or weapon you can imagine. Here is a list of 5 items you can never Conceal Carry even if you have a Florida Concealed Weapons Permit.
Machine Gun - means any firearm which shoots or is designed to shoot more than one projectile with one pull of the trigger.
Short Barreled Shotgun - means a shotgun with a barrel less than 18” in length or has an overall length shorter than 26”.
Short Barreled Rifle - means any rifle with a barrel less than 16” in length or has an overall length shorter than 26”
Destructive Device - means any explosive device or explosive launching device.
Silencer or Suppressor - a device for reducing the noise emitted by a gun or other loud mechanism.
Most of these items are lawful for you to own and possess in Florida. The process is not as simple as cutting the barrel on your shotgun. ATF has created an extensive application process to purchase or manufacture one of these items.
Hope this helps and you don't end up in prison! Remember Stay Safe & Help Others!
Trisha attended our Concealed Carry permit course in July and I can't tell you how nervous she was. Trisha wanted a carry permit due to threats she has been receiving from an ex-boyfriend. "I've never handled a gun before and really didn't want to come, but my friend is forcing me," she said to me before the class started. By the end of the class, I could tell her anxiety was gone.
Check us this great review Trisha left us on Google!
"Let me start off by saying I am petrified to even hold a gun. Recently I had a crazy ex which made me scared to death. My friend gave me moral support to go to this class. I never in a million years thought I would do something like this. Ryan was the NRA instructor who made me feel comfortable. He was funny and made the class enjoyable very informative. Ryan made it interesting by sharing his personal experiences and his "what if" situations. The videos Ryan shared helped put some of the info into perspective. At the end of the class, he took the time and give me personal attention on how to hold a gun. I can't wait to attend a private lesson with him I highly recommend this class." Trisha
On Monday Trisha and I met at a local gun range for a little private instruction . As you can imagine she was nervous. When I asked her to pick up the gun she started shaking a little. I was very surprised at what came next. Trisha was extremely accurate in her shooting. It blew my mind, and even though she didn't stop shaking. She was consistently shooting 2" groups at 10 yards with a Walther P22. I think Trisha may have been lying to me about her previous experience shooting. She claims that she has never shot a gun before. I think she is an undercover CIA agent pretending to be a new be. I guess I will never know.
Here is a video of Trisha loading, shooting and clearing a Walther P22 like a pro.
Do I need a Concealed Carry Permit to buy a firearm?
The simple answer is no you do not. To buy a firearm in the State of Florida all you need is a valid government issued ID ( Driver's License, Identification Card) or a combination of ID to prove:
You only need a concealed carry permit if you're planning on concealing your firearm on or about your person. Which means in your waistband, purse or backpack. If you do not have a concealed weapons permit you will have a three-day wait. The only difference with a concealed carry permit you will not have to wait the three full business days for your firearm, you will be able to take it with you right after you purchase it. You can read more about the Florida three-day waiting rule by reading our Why is there a Three Day wait to buy a firearm article. For a detailed explanation of the process to buy a firearm along with ID requirements check out his post How to buy a firearm in Florida.
If you would like to get your Florida Concealed Weapons Permit, click here to see our online concealed carry class schedule.
Remember, Stay Safe & Help Others!
Take our Florida concealed carry class! it's only $49 and we teach classes weekly in Tampa, Largo, and Brandon. The State of Florida requires you to take a class by an NRA Instructor before you can apply for your permit (that's the part we do).
Here are the two options to submit your application.
Regional Office- Scheduling an Appointment
I believe this is the easiest way to submit your application, however, it does cost a little more money. I would also like to note that they're very efficient and you will be in and out in 15 minutes...they should get the Driver's Licensing place right?
The first step is to schedule your appointment by going to CWP Appointment . The wait times for your appointment will be one to two weeks, however, some of the offices will allow walk-ins.
At your Appointment:
First, you will complete your application on a computer from the 1980’s. It's a pretty basic application, however, there are some key points I want you to be aware of.
Your social security number is optional in this document. My word of advice is to list your social security number. It makes the background check a lot smoother. You will also be asked to answer some questions which can be confusing for some people. If you get stuck, just ask for clarification from one of the representatives.
Second, you will be electronically fingerprinted. So if you have outstanding warrants for kidnapping a goat or anything similar. I would clear that up before proceeding.
Third, It's picture time. Make sure you look nice for this part. I was wearing and brushed off my haircut for the last three months and didn’t think for a minute they would ask me to remove it. Well...I was wrong and I look like a drug addict in my picture.
Fourth, Pay your filing fee. If you're submitting your application for your concealed weapons permit at a Department of Agriculture office the processing fee will be $102. If you're at a Regional Office, like the Tax Collector or Clerk of the Court, the fee will be $124. I'm not sure why but this is the Government we're talking about. Remember most offices will accept all payment forms except cash.
Fifth, You will need a couple of additional documents. A valid driver's license or ID card, a copy of your concealed carry class certificate you received at the end of your class. If you are Active Duty Military or veteran you will want to bring your DD form 214 or CAC card. This will expedite your application.
It never fails. When I’m super excited about something it takes forever. One cool thing is that the application office will provide you with an Application Control Number which you can use to check the status of your Florida concealed carry permit application online. Use the link below Check Permit Status.
I find this process to a pain, but it is the best option if driving to a regional office isn't an option.
First, you must complete the concealed weapons application and have it certified by a notary. Your local bank or Post Office can help you with this.
Second, it's time to get fingerprinted by a law enforcement officer. Your local Police or Sheriff office can take care of this for you for a small fee. Usually around $20.
Third, You will need a passport style photo taken of yourself. Any photography studio or Walgreens can do this for you for around $12-$17.
Fourth, You will need a couple of additional documents. A copy of your driver's license or ID card, a copy of your concealed carry class certificate. If you are Active Duty Military or veteran you will need a copy of your DD form 214 or CAC card. This will expedite your application.
Finally, you need to submit the above documents to the Department of Agriculture. Along with a check or money order in the amount of $60, this is your filing fee. You will also need to include a copy of your concealed carry class certificate . It's never smart to send the original.
The snail mail option is great if you live out of state or out of reasonable driving distance from a regional office. This process requires a lot of running around, but it's important to choose the best option for you.
I hope this helps clarify the process of submitting your application through the State. If you have additional questions please feel free to comment below or contact Tampa Carry by email at Classes@TampaCarry.com or you can call or text at 813-545-1798. If you are interested in getting your Florida Concealed Weapons Permit , please click here to see our online concealed carry class schedule.
Remember, Stay Safe & Help Others!