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When Church and State Collide: Can You Carry In a Florida Dual Purpose Facility?

The following is a video transcript.

Last year a “Church Carry” bill was introduced in the Florida Senate. If it had become law, the bill would have allowed Concealed Weapon or Firearm Licensed (CWFL) holders to carry their firearm onto the property of a religious institution, even if there was a school on the property.

Although no law exists in Florida prohibiting the carry of a firearm onto the property of a religious institution, many institutions also have a school on the property. As we all know, Florida Statute 790.115 prohibits the carry of a firearm onto school property and defines “school” to mean any preschool, elementary school, middle school, junior high school, secondary school, career center, or post-secondary school, whether public or nonpublic. Please note the definition does not mention “Sunday or religious school.” However, there are no cases clarifying whether or not Sunday school, or religious school, on the property makes the property “school property” for the purpose of the prohibition on carrying a firearm.

Further, this prohibition remains in effect even if school is not in session. Therefore, many of us are left defenseless when we are attending religious services. Unfortunately, the bill did not become law. Unless the law in Florida changes, if your religious institution has a school on the property, you cannot carry your firearm while at religious services. If there is no school on the property, you can lawfully carry concealed, as long as you have a CWFL and the institution does not prohibit you from carrying on their property.

For more information about carrying in a facility that doubles as a house of worship and an educational center, call U.S. LawShield and ask to speak to your Independent Program Attorney.

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