Last week on April Fools day, a Lakeland area man took a firearms safety course from a firearms instructor who works as an independent contractor to a local gun shop. This particular shop has locations in Apopka, Cassleberry, Clearwater, Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, Lakeland, Tampa and West Palm Beach. They are also major vendors at every gun show you can think of in Florida, I’m sure you have a name that is coming to mind about now.
During the class, this student was told directly by the firearms instructor that it is legal for him to carry a concealed handgun on a motorcycle in his backpack strapped across his back WITHOUT having a Florida Concealed Weapons or Firearms License.
After face palming, I told this gentleman that this is either a bad April Fools joke or if he was serious, this kind of advice could land him with felony charges. Even though Florida Statutes Chapter 790.25(5) has no clear language on this matter, there is a test case from 2008 on record in the 4th District Court of Appeals. The case style is, Daniel J. Doughty, Appellant, v. State of Florida, Appellee. In the opinion Judge Stevenson wrote the following which I will summarize here, you can read the full opinion in the link below.
“In this case, we consider whether the private conveyance exception of section 790.25, Florida Statutes, permits the unlicensed carrying of a concealed firearm or other weapon in a zippered pack around the waist while riding a motorcycle. We conclude that it does not.”
Another resource I highly recommend to our Florida students is Attorney Jon Gutmacher’s book on Firearms Law, Use & Ownership. Jon is crystal clear about this very question on page 90 of the eighth edition of his book. I encourage you to read the book several times, and keep it close by where you can refer to it on a regular basis. It may just save you jail/prison time and a considerable amount of money you will need for defending yourself in a criminal case. www.floridafirearmslaw.com
Personal note: Do a little research on your firearms instructor, and ask for references/qualifications. Going to a gun store for your firearms safety class is not always the best option. This instructor has a multitude of licenses from the State of Florida and gives certificates bearing his Florida K-License number, but one thing is certain, he should never be considered an expert on legal issues.
Lastly, never ever take legal advice from someone unqualified to give it.
Stay Safe and Train Hard!!!