Here is a summary of some of the important points about ccw reciprocity between Florida and other states. Discussed are special notes about Florida licenses, where that permit will be honored and why it might not be honored even if there is a reciprocity agreement in place, and what states’ permits are
honored while a person is traveling in Florida.
Keep in mind that CCW reciprocity rules can change quickly and should always be verified when you are traveling from your home state to another state.
Florida Concealed Carry Permit
Florida’s permit that allows one to carry a concealed weapon is called a “Concealed Weapon or Firearm License.” This license applies to many different types of concealed weapons, including handguns, pistols, stun guns, knives and billy clubs.
It is possible for a person living in another state to apply for and receive a non-resident license in Florida.
Florida also offers a Class “G” Statewide Firearms License. This license allows people to carry a weapon as part of their job, and is typically issued to private investigators or security officers. Reciprocity agreements do not apply to this license and so it is not recognized by other states.
Florida Permits Honored in Other States
Currently 35 states in the union recognize the Florida Concealed Weapon or Firearm License due to CCW reciprocity agreements. Not all of these states recognize every type of permit that Florida issues, or they may have specific limitations on what they accept in their state. It is critical to check with the state you will be visiting before you presume that your Florida permit will be valid exactly as it would be in the Sunshine State.
Most states with ccw reciprocity agreements with Florida only recognize the license as it applies to handguns and pistols. Several states do not honor Florida licenses issued to non-residents. If you are planning to travel to Alabama then it is especially advisable to check with the local authority if you have a Florida non-resident license: there is debate at this time about whether or not the reciprocity agreement extends to non-resident license holders.
Will My Permit Be Honored While Visiting Florida?
The CCW Reciprocity law in Florida is written so that Florida will honor permits from another state, as long as that state honors her licenses. This came to play when Nevada decided in 2009 to no longer honor Florida’s licenses, at which time Florida law no longer recognizes permits issued by Nevada.
Florida law also stipulates that the license holder must carry their license with them whenever they carry a concealed weapon. The state of Vermont does not issue a permit or license, therefore a Vermonter would not have one to carry with them. This means that no one from Vermont can concealed carry while visiting Florida.
Even if you have a valid permit from a state that has a ccw reciprocity agreement with Florida, it does not mean that your permit is automatically honored there.
For example, several states allow permits to be issued to citizens who are 18 years old. Since Florida law requires a permit holder to be at least 21 years of age, any state permit issued to an individual 20 years old or younger is not valid in Florida.
Similarly, Florida does not recognize non-resident permits issued by other states. The only permit Florida will recognize is one issued by the state where you live.
Visiting Florida without a Permit
If you are planning a trip to Florida and you wish to carry a concealed weapon and you happen to live in one of the 15 states that does not have a CCW reciprocity agreement with Florida then you may wish to apply to get a non-resident permit.
Watching old reruns of Tom Selleck driving that hot, red Ferrari around Hawaii may have you dreaming of becoming the next Magnum, PI to land on the islands, but ccw reciprocitybetween Hawaii and the mainland makes it tough to bring that dream to reality.
Concealed carry permits is complicated in paradise. While Hawaii is a “may issue” state in name (and the fee is quite low if you are issued a permit), in practice, few such permits are granted. Whether or not a permit will be issued is left to the discretion of the police chief of the county where the applicant resides, but the applicant must first demonstrate “…an exceptional case, when an applicant shows reason to fear injury to the applicant’s person or property.”
If you are fortunate enough to be issued a permit to carry a weapon by your county’s police chief, it is important to recognize that Hawaii’s law states that the permit is only good for one year and only within the issuing county.
Having your permit valid in only one county on the mainland would be tough as many of us drive through several counties on a daily basis, unaware that we have crossed from one county to another. Fortunately it is not as big a challenge in Hawaii simply because there is only one county on any given island, so as long as you haven’t crossed the water, you are okay. As with most rules, there is usually an exception and that’s true even in Paradise. The one notable exception in this case is the island of Maui, which has two counties.
CCW reciprocity is when one state with a concealed carry weapons permit (it may be called that or any number of other names) honors a permit issued by another state. Here’s the bad news for mainlanders: If your dream is to conceal carry in Paradise then plan on moving to Hawaii first, because the Aloha State does not recognize permits from any other state in the union.
Don’t feel too bad, though. It isn’t easy for the few residents of Hawaii who actually do manage to get permits to venture stateside with their weapons either.
If you are a resident of Hawaii and you have a concealed weapon permit, only about a dozen or so of the mainland states will allow you to carry based on CCW reciprocity. If, however, you have a non-resident permit from another state, such as Arizona, your right to carry may be extended to about 30 states. That might make it worth getting a non-resident permit if you plan to be off island frequently.
For those of us who only dream of hula girls and palm trees swaying on the tropical breeze for short visits, plan on leaving your firearms at home during your next visit to Paradise.
Note that CCW reciprocity changes constantly as new laws are enacted and as existing laws are interpreted. It is critical therefore that you always check the laws of that state you want to visit shortly before your trip to be sure that there are no new rules or regulations that you need to be aware of.