Carrying a rifle in public? - Florida


PDA






Phaethon
February 13, 2011, 10:49 PM
So, me and some friends are planning to go on a long road trip this summer after coming of age and graduating from high school. The trick is, we're planning to make the trip on bicycle, around 400 km's, and possibly even further upstate if we decide that it didn't take long enough.

Now, being eighteen, I'm not of the legal age to carry a concealed handgun (or own one, I believe). I do understand that it's legal to carry a rifle in public if in transit to a shooting range or if going hunting. This trip will likely take a week or two since we'll be biking both ways, and I'm concerned about the prospect of taking a 100-mile one shot trip through lonely interstate roads. I'd like to bring a bolt-action along with us to extend the possibilities of our trip to include hunting and camping (we'd camp anyway, but I'd feel better sleeping with a rifle nearby), and the remote necessity for self defense. Unfortunately, South Florida isn't the gun-friendliest area of the nation.

Thus, would it be legal for me to carry a rifle inside a bag slung over my shoulder or on the side of my bike? I'd prefer to bring a center-fire in the .30 cal range, but if I have to I'd settle for a .22 of some nature (which might not be so bad at all, since I'd be able to carry a ton of ammunition). I figure that if it's in a bag and unloaded it wouldn't constitute any threat, and no one would probably even know what it is amongst all our other baggage anyway.

I'm sure it'd probably be legal to carry an air rifle, but I wouldn't feel safe at all wielding one, and wouldn't be excited to rely on one if shooting at prey (or even just bottles to pass the time).

Is there anyone that can give me some info or help on this?

If you enjoyed reading about "Carrying a rifle in public? - Florida" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
Bluehawk
February 13, 2011, 11:11 PM
Your questions should be addressed to local law enforcement...call and ask them!

tyeo098
February 13, 2011, 11:16 PM
You can own a handgun at 18, I own 2 at 19 :rolleyes:

Carrying a rifle on your bike is a bad idea, Florida's castle doctrine extends to an auto (and motorcycle) not a bicycle. Open carry of handguns, much less rifles, is frowned upon here in the gun-shine state, but in PA iirc, you can open carry a rifle no problem.

If you want to take a rifle, take a car.

Phaethon
February 13, 2011, 11:21 PM
Well, to my understanding I can't purchase one from a store, nor the ammo for it, until I'm 21. And I know for a fact that I can't get a concealed carry license until then either.

Open carry is kind of a loose term though, if it's being carried in a case. I've thought about calling local police and asking them, but the thing is that the trip will take us through several different counties with varying jurisdiction. I guess maybe it would be wise of me to contact them all.

In the event that I can't, what would you guys suggest that I do for hunting/self defense?

chris in va
February 13, 2011, 11:23 PM
Well, to my understanding I can't purchase one from a store, nor the ammo for it, until I'm 21

Right. But someone can gift it to you, if state laws allow.

but the thing is that the trip will take us through several different counties with varying jurisdiction

I suspect state preemption would apply, unless Florida has some strange municipal laws.

In the event that I can't, what would you guys suggest that I do for hunting/self defense?

Hunting, skip it. Self defense, pepper spray.

Phaethon
February 13, 2011, 11:38 PM
I know that there are some people that go out hunting via bicycles; I suppose the real prohibitive issue here is my home state? Maybe I should put some thought into going biking in Texas or somewhere, since I have family there too.

Also, I'm not too concerned with human threats on my trip. The prospect of spraying mace at an alligator isn't one I look forward to.

mljdeckard
February 13, 2011, 11:38 PM
First of all, if you want clarification on a law, the DEAD LAST person you should ask is the police. If you want clarification on the law, call the attorney general's office.

For your situation.....no. Not this time. You are stepping outside too many norms here. And have you ever actually biked long distances with a rifle and a pack?

I believe in always being armed. I also believe that a rifle is preferable to a pistol whenever practical. This is not one of those times.

nalioth
February 13, 2011, 11:43 PM
Your questions should be addressed to local law enforcement...call and ask them!This is the LAST thing you want to do.

Police officers are not required to quote the law to you, and many over the past few years have lied to questioners and later arrested them when they acted on the lies they were told.

This has been discussed dozens of times here on THR.

NavyLCDR
February 13, 2011, 11:47 PM
http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3008/3028077376_0d8777e5c9.jpg

http://bsamuseum.files.wordpress.com/2010/08/smle_2.jpg

langenc
February 13, 2011, 11:57 PM
""Open carry of handguns, much less rifles, is frowned upon here in the gun-shine state, but in PA iirc, you can open carry a rifle no problem.""

He didnt say open carry rifle.. he asked how to carry if I remember.

Puit it in a case and strap to the crossbars. Why should that bother anyone??

garymc
February 14, 2011, 02:15 AM
What game is in season in Florida in the summer?

Phaethon
February 14, 2011, 02:33 AM
Yes, that's basically correct, Langenc. The rifle wouldn't be in "open carry" because it would be stowed and out of cursory sight in a nylon bag/case. Under Florida Statutes it is lawful to carry a weapon to and from places of camping, hunting, and target shooting; all things that I will be engaged in during the trip. What gets me is, is there any definiton on how far I can travel to such hunting, camping, or shootig destinations? Specifically camping? And how does keeping the rifle out of sight change the dynamics of things?

A person traveling by private conveyance when the weapon is securely encased or in a public conveyance when the weapon is securely encased and not in the person’s manual possession;

There was something earlier about private coveyance, but here Florida statute seems to be making a lawful exception specifically for public conveyance, though I'm not sure what that's defined as. Perhaps I should seek proper clarification from someone well versed in laws. If the police force is to be avoided, do you all suggest I follow prior advice and contact the Attorney General?

Lastly, pertaining to a previous comment about whether or not I can handle carrying a rifle with a pack; I have good knees and will be in top physical shape for the trip. Besides that, biking with weight is considerably easier than huffing it on foot.

vanagon40
February 14, 2011, 11:48 AM
The problem when seeking advice from the Attorney General (or a private attorney, or even the police) is that the people who wrote the laws never contemplated how the laws would apply to a person riding a bicycle. It is likely that if you were to ask 10 different lawyers, you would get 10 different opinions, even if each lawyer were well versed on Florida firearms laws.

One lawyer will say that the laws that would apply to carrying a firearm on a bicycle would be the same as if the person were on foot (the bicycle is not a motor vehicle). Another will claim that because bicycles are subject to the same rules of the road as other other motor vehicles, the laws regarding transporting a firearm would apply. Others will take some position in between or apply a different analysis all together.

There is likely no court decision interpreting the law as applied to bicycles, because court decisions require real cases, which means that someone had to have been prosecuted and then appealed an unfavorable decision.

My guess is that NO ONE will be able to provide a definitive answer to your question. (I also agree that a police officer is the last person you want to rely upon for legal advice.)

Art Eatman
February 14, 2011, 04:22 PM
Even a cloth bag removes a rifle from being "readily accessible"--particularly if you use some sort of plastic-coated cable lock. It also removes the "scare factor".

Handgun? If you're old enough for legal possession away from home (not talking about purchase), a cable-locked plastic case might pass the smell test, but I don't profess to know for sure.

There are bound to be some attorneys in Florida who specialize in firearms law. I'd try Google to try to find one--and ask him. Or even blindly call a law firm and see if somebody there knows somebody who...

JohnF Boulder Co
February 14, 2011, 04:53 PM
Sounds like a fun trip.
Do a lot of research before going out.
http://opencarry.org/fl.html

Open carry isn't legal in FL, not even in a car, apparently.
18 seems to be the legal age.
There doesn't seem to be any distinction between long guns and handguns.
Interesting that one prosecutor might view carry on a bicycle as a "vehicle" while another would take you to court as "personal carry".
So what about a scabbard on the side of a horse? It seems it hasn't been tried yet.

While what you're planning might be technically legal, the opnly way to find out is to sit in jail until you're bailed out, and wait for the court date...
You can carry copies of the relevant laws and examples of cases where similar things have been decided in your favor in the past, but the cop that decides to hassle you isn't the one to decide. He'll take you to jail and let the courts decide.

oneounceload
February 14, 2011, 10:10 PM
through lonely interstate roads

No such thing in FL - if you mean getting off the beaten path on some of the lovely two-lane county roads, that's something else .............
With all of your other gear you will need, you need to plan on light weight for whatever firearm you take

Phaethon
February 15, 2011, 12:01 AM
through lonely interstate roads

Well, if you live in Miami like I have for my entire life, you come to appreciate any sparsely populated two-lane road like SW 8th ST and Alligator Alley as "lonely". I'm guessing that by electing to do this, I'm walking a fine line between jail time and freedom. Maybe I'll leave the rifle at home and press my luck on my own another time.

So, I guess maybe I should just bring an air rifle along with me, huh? I was hoping to at least carry a .22.

lizziedog1
February 15, 2011, 09:25 AM
Just dress from head to toe in tactical clothing. Then everything will be fine. You can tell LEO's you are on the way to the mall.:)

oneounceload
February 15, 2011, 03:08 PM
So, I guess maybe I should just bring an air rifle along with me, huh? I was hoping to at least carry a .22.

Friends I have known over the years who would go on bike camping trips made sure there was ZERO extra weight - every ounce on a bicycle gets very heavy after a few miles. If you plan on camping the forests, bear spray would come first, followed by a 38 for meth-head protection - food, water camping gear, etc add up

X-Rap
February 15, 2011, 10:49 PM
I would send a message to the AG telling how you propose to carry and your intent then when he replies keep the letter or a copy with you at all times.
If it were me I would ask if I could carry a handgun unloaded in a locked soft or hard case inside a pack or other form of luggage between camps while on my bike and in public places as well.
I can't imagine that you would be breaking any laws by doing that but spell it out clearly in your inquiry and then follow the response to the letter.

MCgunner
February 15, 2011, 10:56 PM
I have this rigged up on my KLR....his name is "Booger"....he's big and green, ya know.:D It's not for big cities, though, just riding down to my place to hunt or check the hog trap or something.

http://i54.tinypic.com/wv8h2w.jpg

Scabbard bought at an Army surplus store in Aransas Pass, Texas.

Realbigo
February 15, 2011, 10:58 PM
NavyLT, i love those pics. I think, i'm going to try and rig something like the 2nd for my MN and Mountain bike

MCgunner
February 15, 2011, 11:03 PM
Oh, yeah, that's a rossi 92 lever carbine in .357 magnum in the scabbard.

TYFOOON
February 15, 2011, 11:20 PM
NO.

You can't open carry a rifle on your bike.

FL law says: Vehical transportation may only be carried while "securely encased" and "not readily accessable".

Bike IS a vehicle.

Pepper spray amigo.

Fooon

shawnbeachside
February 16, 2011, 02:41 PM
Here in florida an air rifle is the same thing as a firearm, the law lists them both as a gun.
Bicycle is personal conveyance. Yes you can get a DUI on a bike here. Legally you would probably not get a conviction out of it if it is stored in a case that is not on your "person"I.E. mounted on the bike not slung over your shoulder. I have several friends in L.E. and also fish and game and can assure you if you were out on some county/dirt road where you might be hunting you MIGHT be overlooked, if you were out on a state road/hwy in a public area you will definitely be harassed at the least, if not arrested. Most "street cops" are not that familiar with the fine line of gun laws and will always "play it safe" by detaining you. Leave the rifle at home and enjoy the road.

Diggers
February 16, 2011, 03:13 PM
+1 for leaving the rifle at home.

At the very least you will attract a whole lot of attention to yourself and ruin your trip. You can look at the vehicle code for FL, to see what the definition of a vehicle is and if a bike falls into that. In my state a bike isn't a vehicle so carrying a rifle on it would be basically the same as just slinging it over my shoulder and walking around. How would that look to law enforcement in your state?

Another issue to think about is with the number of LEO's killed in your state already, just this year, the police are going to be VERY touchy when they see a person with a firearm. This could lead to a situation where guns are pointed at YOU. Best to avoid that.

BTW...hunting? What can you hunt in southern FL in the summer? I don't know FL's fish and game code but in most places hunting isn't something that can really be done as you go along on a bike trip, just too many restrictions on where, when and how a person can hunt. This would be another reason for law enforcement to contact you just to see if you are following the F&G laws for your area which could lead into a lot of other things.

Sounds like a big can of worms to me.

TX1911fan
February 16, 2011, 03:56 PM
If you were on land where use of a firearm is permitted, hunting varmints is usually always ok, but you'd have to check local law. You could go with a broken down long gun that fit in a pack and was unobtrusive, but that may defeat the purpose for self defense. I'm thinking of a lever gun that can be broken in two parts, or a shotgun with the barrel off, etc.

thorn726
February 16, 2011, 05:16 PM
sounds like if you locked it in the bag and kept it empty you'd be ok, only load when in the woods./.. A friend carried an M1 through 1/2 mile of San Francisco without hassle, it was quite legal but they had no ammo at all. (parked outside a gun show lot so had to carry it through some neighborhoods, he had his girlfriend carry it to minimize fright factor). Of course legal is one thing, not getting hassled is another
another option might be to have the ammo travel on a separate bike. Does sound like you'd have a hard time making it 400 miles without at least one major run in with LEOs, which is not right at all. BIG respect if you go through with this and end up opening some minds, but it is risky

bluesteel63
February 16, 2011, 06:40 PM
Even if you were to carry a 22 like you said you were at least hoping for, How will that fare against an alligator? Might just make him mad!

Paladin38-40
February 16, 2011, 07:18 PM
790.025.p.5

5) POSSESSION IN PRIVATE CONVEYANCE.--Notwithstanding subsection (2), it is lawful and is not a violation of 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. Nothing herein contained prohibits the carrying of a legal firearm other than a handgun anywhere in a private conveyance when such firearm is being carried for a lawful use. Nothing herein contained shall be construed to authorize the carrying of a concealed firearm or other weapon on the person. This subsection shall be liberally construed in favor of the lawful use, ownership, and possession of firearms and other weapons, including lawful self-defense as provided in s. 776.012.

776.013.5.c

“Vehicle” means a conveyance of any kind, whether or not motorized, which is designed to transport people or property.

tyeo098
February 16, 2011, 07:50 PM
790.025.p.5

5) POSSESSION IN PRIVATE CONVEYANCE.--Notwithstanding subsection (2), it is lawful and is not a violation of 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. Nothing herein contained prohibits the carrying of a legal firearm other than a handgun anywhere in a private conveyance when such firearm is being carried for a lawful use. Nothing herein contained shall be construed to authorize the carrying of a concealed firearm or other weapon on the person. This subsection shall be liberally construed in favor of the lawful use, ownership, and possession of firearms and other weapons, including lawful self-defense as provided in s. 776.012.

776.013.5.c

“Vehicle” means a conveyance of any kind, whether or not motorized, which is designed to transport people or property.
Yes, but these two are unrelated. Notice how in 790.025 it always says "Private conveyance" and not "Vehicle."

FLAvalanche
February 17, 2011, 03:06 PM
Your questions should be addressed to local law enforcement...call and ask them!

I'm sorry but this is, and always will be, the absolute WORST recommendation for anyone curious of Florida's firearm laws.

I've worked closely with Florida's finest for over 5 years and 99% of them have absolutely no clue of Florida's firearm laws. Your best bet is to call the State Attorney of the counties you will be travelling through. They are the ones that will be bringing charges against you if you're breaking the law.

I'm sorry, but Florida's law enforcement training on firearm laws is horrible at best. Most senior officers think it's still a 3 step rule. Most will tell you that you can't place a handgun in a holster on your dashboard when you absolutely can.

Notice how in 790.025 it always says "Private conveyance" and not "Vehicle." Yes, you have to be careful there. Florida, for the lack of a better word, half-assedly considers your car an extension of your home, yet some laws make a distinction between the two, like this one does. In self-defense situations your car is considered an extension of your home and you can defend yourself the same way. However, you can't conceal a weapon on your person in your car even though you can inside your own home.

phoglund
February 22, 2011, 03:16 PM
If you want to carry one, perhaps one of these might be a good bet?

http://wardragon.com/cruffler/pics/Papoose.jpg

Keep it in your pack, broken down and in it's case.

Sebastian the Ibis
February 24, 2011, 01:31 AM
I'm not of the legal age to carry a concealed handgun (or own one, I believe). I do understand that it's legal to carry a rifle in public if in transit to a shooting range or if going hunting. This trip will likely take a week or two since we'll be biking both ways, and I'm concerned about the prospect of taking a 100-mile one shot trip through lonely interstate roads. I'd like to bring a bolt-action along with us to extend the possibilities of our trip to include hunting and camping (we'd camp anyway, but I'd feel better sleeping with a rifle nearby), and the remote necessity for self defense. Unfortunately, South Florida isn't the gun-friendliest area of the nation.

Thus, would it be legal for me to carry a rifle inside a bag slung over my shoulder or on the side of my bike?

This is a really bad idea. I also live in Miami, and can pretty much assure you that you would get proned out every block if you rode down US-1 with even a .22 on the side of your bike. Also, based upon what you have said, "Hunting" seems like a pretense. Which would most likely result in some hefty legal bills, and a plea deal with a withhold of adjudication. Also even if you did want a gun for protection an unloaded bolt action rifle, in a case over your shoulder, is going to be worse than useless when a ganbanger on 441 points a hi-point at your head and steals your bike.

I appreciate people standing up for their gun rights, but this doesn't help anyone. If you want to go on a long bike ride, why don't you sign up for the MS ride, or the ride to Key West. Both would provide much better protection from the greatest threat to a cyclist in South Florida - Crazy Miami drivers.

rajb123
February 24, 2011, 02:37 PM
I bear hunt. One day I finished hunting and slept in the car rather than in a hotel. The car had food in it and a black bear came by at 2am to feed.

I don't beleive a small caliper gun or shotgun would do much to scare off a large bear. If you are in bear woods at night, don't carry any food or you may become the food.

AlaskaMan
February 24, 2011, 05:42 PM
At the very least I would expect frequent contact from Law Enforcement. Let's say you are charged with a violation. Will you seek legal counsel as a result of that charge? Contact that lawyer NOW and see what defense they would use.

Planning on carrying a rifle on a bicycle would likely result in a charge of some kind from some LE somewhere. A roadside argument about it's legality would likely yield even worse consequences. Whether you're right or wrong won't matter when you're being booked.

X-Rap
February 24, 2011, 06:04 PM
I still dont see why the op wouldn't carry a revolver in a locked soft case or trigger locked in a back pack until camp is reached or a proper shooting area is found then remove and load unless you must be over 18 to possess a handgun in florida.

If you enjoyed reading about "Carrying a rifle in public? - Florida" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!