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Carrying a rifle in public? - Florida

Discussion in 'Legal' started by Phaethon, Feb 13, 2011.

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  1. Phaethon

    Phaethon Member

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    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?
     
  2. Bluehawk

    Bluehawk Member

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    Your questions should be addressed to local law enforcement...call and ask them!
     
  3. tyeo098

    tyeo098 Member

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    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.
     
  4. Phaethon

    Phaethon Member

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    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?
     
  5. chris in va

    chris in va Member

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

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

    Hunting, skip it. Self defense, pepper spray.
     
  6. Phaethon

    Phaethon Member

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    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.
     
  7. mljdeckard

    mljdeckard Member

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    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.
     
  8. nalioth

    nalioth Member

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    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.
     
  9. NavyLCDR

    NavyLCDR member

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  10. langenc

    langenc Member

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    ""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??
     
  11. garymc

    garymc Member

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    What game is in season in Florida in the summer?
     
  12. Phaethon

    Phaethon Member

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    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?

    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.
     
  13. vanagon40

    vanagon40 Member

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    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.)
     
  14. Art Eatman

    Art Eatman Administrator Staff Member

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    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...
     
  15. JohnF Boulder Co

    JohnF Boulder Co Member

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    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.
     
  16. oneounceload

    oneounceload member

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    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
     
  17. Phaethon

    Phaethon Member

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    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.
     
  18. lizziedog1

    lizziedog1 Member

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    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.:)
     
  19. oneounceload

    oneounceload member

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    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
     
  20. X-Rap

    X-Rap Member

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    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.
     
  21. MCgunner

    MCgunner Member

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    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.

    wv8h2w.jpg

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

    Realbigo Member

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    NavyLT, i love those pics. I think, i'm going to try and rig something like the 2nd for my MN and Mountain bike
     
  23. MCgunner

    MCgunner Member

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    Oh, yeah, that's a rossi 92 lever carbine in .357 magnum in the scabbard.
     
  24. TYFOOON

    TYFOOON Member

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    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
     
  25. shawnbeachside

    shawnbeachside Member

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    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.
     
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