Guns Allowed in Florida Parks

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When you drive into a state park you may have noticed a sign that says “no alcohol, no guns.” Well, you can leave the alcohol at home, but the state Legislature says you can take your gun with you.

Mark Folmar has a concealed weapons permit. He takes his gun just about everywhere. Now he can take it to the national forests or the state parks.

Mark Folmar, a gun owner, said, "I think if it's legal to have a gun, and you're using it legally, you're not using it to hunt, you're using it for personal protection, then why not be able to have it in a park?"

The state Legislature agrees, changing the rules for national forests and state parks. The bill states weapons shall be at all times in the possession of a responsible party or properly secured within a vehicle or temporary housing.

Legal experts reviewing the case say this does not mean gun owners can walk around brandishing a weapon.

Ethan Way, a board certified trial lawyer, said, "They're going to be restricted to what they can do with the firearms just as they would be restricted on a street outside an office, essentially anywhere else."

Way says rules applying to concealed weapons, storing weapons and accessing weapons will apply in parks as they would on public property.

The Department of Environmental Protection, which oversees state parks, says it is looking for public comment and placing information on guns inside the parks.

According to the bill, guns can be stashed in temporary housing which includes motor homes, travel trailers, RVs, campers, tents or other enclosed structures in state parks.

Park rangers do not carry guns, only law enforcement officers who respond to the parks as needed.