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The History of Concealed Carry in Florida

Having the ability to protect yourself at a moment’s notice is of great importance, but when did the right to do so through concealed carry come to pass in Florida? We’re here to go over the history of the law and why it’s so important to its residents today.

 The right to bear arms was in fact one of the forefront rights that came with the creation of the United States. Weaponized citizens will always have greater advantages than those who are not, and thus naturally those other citizens want to regain a sense of security. English common law has had rules in place to maintain the peace such as the prohibition of concealed carry weapons.

A Controversial Past

Seemingly, the reason for such a law in olden American times came from the controversial and sometimes downright racial ideology. Law against the hiding of a weapon began being the standard in state laws throughout the 19th century. The revolver was yet to be commonplace, so the primary concern were knives, daggers, and any other edged weapons. Fair enough: the right to be safe against potential threats seems like a good reason. …right?

 By the end of the Antebellum period, nearly all of the southern states had implemented concealed carry laws out of fear of retribution. Freed slaves, still-bonded slaves, and abolitionists were amongst the most feared. The few old west-regulated towns outright banned the possession of firearms altogether. Now infamous gunfights and showdowns were the cause of out-of-towners breaking these civil ordinances. Robertson v Baldwin was the first Supreme Court Case to address the issue. The 1897 case concluded that bans against concealed carry did not overshadow an individual’s right to bear and keep arms.

New Beginnings

The start of the 20th century was a new time and began a series of restrictive laws against the handgun. Sullivan laws were one of the most notable; passed in 1911, the laws required a permit to even own a pistol. Along with that, uniform acts also made unlicensed concealed carry a misdemeanor. Other than law enforcement, “good character” citizens could gain a permit for concealed carry. Obviously what characterizes good character was very circumstantial, but these permits were already rarely issued except to the wealthy and politically well-connected. So overall, mainly white males would receive this exception.

A New Wave

Nowadays concealed carry laws are the norm amongst states. This “new wave” is credited to Marion Hammer and the United Sportsmen of Florida’s advocacy in getting concealed carry passed in that state in 1987. Although, many beg to differ that the foundation for that law’s approval was set up way earlier. Thus, Florida went from may-issue to shall-issue; shall issue being a jurisdiction that requires passing certain basic requirements before being issued a permit to concealed carry and may-issue being a permit issued at the discretion of law enforcement. Concealed carry classes in Florida have risen to gain a concealed weapons license or permit with courses being able to be booked in person or online. Florida really has paved the way for many of its inhabitants and we’ll surely see more changes to come from future lawmakers.