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Old April 29, 2013, 10:03 PM   #1
dakota.potts
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Black powder carry laws

I'm wondering what the laws are regarding carry of a black powder firearm (specifically in my state Florida).

The deal is I'm turning 18 soon. I will be able to have a handgun and have it in my car if I choose. However, until I'm 21 I won't be able to apply for a concealed weapons license. This limits me to a 4" folding knife and a little plastic jewelry keychain in the meantime. I'm of the opinion that the day you don't carry a gun is the day you might need it, and that an option I wouldn't normally consider for carry (black powder) is much better than a pointy stick. So, I think my question is kind of a natural progression.

I have been told that a gun that only shoots black powder may not be defined as a firearm, so if this holds true, might it be legal to open carry a black powder weapon? This is what the law states "Except as otherwise provided by law and in subsection (2), it is unlawful for any person to openly carry on or about his or her person any firearm or electric weapon or device."

I think the question really hinges on the definition of "firearm" in this case. I know that open carry of, say, a knife or a hatchet is legal in Florida (although concealing them wouldn't be)

I'm not even sure if this is a move I would want to make. I know it would be a lot of hassle and could cause some trouble and negative perception. On the other end, I haven't decided if that is worth the ability to have a weapon at my side. This is a personal decision that I don't wish to run the whole conversation (though I do appreciate tips in the decision making). I'm just curious about my options as I step into the adult world and I'm left without the ability to carry for 3 years.

Hopefully the Florida Carry foundation wins the case proving open carry a state constitutional right and renders this question null.

Thanks in advance for answers and perhaps sources so I can be fully informed
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Old April 30, 2013, 08:13 AM   #2
Rifleman1776
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I can't answer for Florida. It really depends on state laws, and there may be several involved, and how they define "firearm". Often overlooked is the attitudes of the arresting officer, prosecutor and judge. You may hear "they can't do that". But if "they" try it can cost you a considerable amount of time, grief and money to get to the "can't" part.
Personally, I wouldn't test the law.
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Old April 30, 2013, 11:56 AM   #3
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I'd suggest contacting a lawyer in your state that is familiar with the laws pertaining to firearms. At the very least, it'll be handy to have their number when you get arrested.
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Old April 30, 2013, 10:55 PM   #4
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In most states, black powder handguns (percussion cap, flintlocks, etc.) are not considered "firearms" - you can purchase them without a license, without registration, through the mail, etc. However, in some states (New York being an example), when you possess the ammunition to discharge the weapon, you have a working firearm and must register the gun.
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Old April 30, 2013, 11:00 PM   #5
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They may not be firearms, but that doesn't mean that they aren't weapons and don't fall under some other prohibition in that respect. The advice to contact a lawyer in your state is good.
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Old April 30, 2013, 11:10 PM   #6
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Black powder carry laws

Here in Georgia a handgun is defined as "a firearm of any description, loaded or unloaded, from which any shot, bullet, or other missile can be discharged by an action of an explosive where the length of the barrel, not including any revolving, detachable, or magazine breech, does not exceed 12 inches"

That definition would seem to include blackpowder handguns.

Florida may be different.
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Old April 30, 2013, 11:22 PM   #7
Peptobismol9
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I was in this exact spot a little while ago. I'm 20 now, but as I was turning 18 I bought a Colt 1850 confederate Navy for 75 dollars and did open carry it a little bit. I'm in Alabama (Baldwin County), and the pistol permits here are only issued to those 21 and older but open carry is legal. I purchased the pistol because of black powder guns not being considered firearms, but by the time I got brave enough to carry it daily I had warped the frame by shooting hot loads. It's little more than a paper weight now and I resorted to simply carrying a knife or occasionally a charter arms .38 before ultimately just deciding to wait until I can get a pistol permit.
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Old April 30, 2013, 11:46 PM   #8
dakota.potts
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I know that weapons in Florid are legal to carry open. A knife over 4" long, for instance, is considered a weapon and can only be carried open. To conceal it would be a felony. Same with knuckles (the ones that are even legal) and things of that nature.

The more I think about it, the more I'm debating whether it would even be good practice. Do I have any other options to remain armed until I turn 21?
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Old April 30, 2013, 11:58 PM   #9
roashooter
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first thing that comes to mind...ifin its that dangerous where you live....that you believe you need to be armed...how have you survived this long???
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Old May 1, 2013, 12:03 AM   #10
dakota.potts
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Kind of a logical fallacy. How many people have ever needed to use their carry gun? 1 in 100? 20? 10? Would you find those other 9 or 19 or 99 and ask them the same question? I want to be prepared the best I can (legally) and if that means a folding pocket knife or a black powder revolver or a 1911 I'll take what I can.

As a matter of humor, I floated around the idea of carrying a broadsword or battle axe on my back but my girlfriend found that too ridiculous
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Old May 1, 2013, 12:16 AM   #11
62coltnavy
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The word "firearm" can mean different things in different circumstances. The law in California, for example, provides that a blackpowder firearm is not a "firearm" within the meaning of the laws pertaining to purchasing and registration. But it is a firearm--loaded or unloaded-if you are a prohibited person (meaning felons can't own them). And when it was still legal to carry unloaded firearms openly, a blackpowder firearm was deemed loaded if it had ball and powder AND a cap in place.

On a separate note: Pepto, you should NEVER put a hot load in a brass framed (i.e. "Confederate") blackpowder pistol; the metal is too soft. Further, while steel can take the beating, most of us have found that accuracy suffers with max loading. Twenty grains in a .36 or 30 grains, maybe 35 in a .44 is more than sufficient firepower. 35 grains of black was the original loading for the .45 Colt SAA, and that was enough to down a horse.
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Old May 1, 2013, 12:31 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 62coltnavy
On a separate note: Pepto, you should NEVER put a hot load in a brass framed (i.e. "Confederate") blackpowder pistol; the metal is too soft. Further, while steel can take the beating, most of us have found that accuracy suffers with max loading. Twenty grains in a .36 or 30 grains, maybe 35 in a .44 is more than sufficient firepower. 35 grains of black was the original loading for the .45 Colt SAA, and that was enough to down a horse.
Funny you should mention that. I was looking at the owner's manual for a Pietta clone of a Colt 1851 "Confederate Navy" in .44 caliber with a brass frame. The instructions cautioned not to load more than 25 grains ... for a .44.
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Old May 1, 2013, 09:39 AM   #13
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Quote:
first thing that comes to mind...ifin its that dangerous where you live....that you believe you need to be armed...how have you survived this long???
Dakota, you're correct that this is logical fallacy. Even those of us who carry daily find ourselves in situations and places where we cannot be armed. You have to compensate in other ways, not the least of which is heightened situational awareness.
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Old May 1, 2013, 11:14 PM   #14
62coltnavy
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Pietta's loadings are too light. My first is a Pietta 1861 Navy in .36, with a Pietta recommended loading not to exceed 15 gr. So I dutifully loaded 15 gr--and the ball jammed in the forcing cone. With 20 gr, no such problem. Now it is true that I am using a substitute, not true black, but it shouldn't matter. I've read testing data putting a 20 grain load in the 800-900 ft/sec range, maybe a bit higher depending on your ball diameter. .44s with 30 grains shoot just about the same as a .45LC.
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Old May 3, 2013, 01:11 PM   #15
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For the best chance of getting a correct answer, short of hiring a Florida-licensed attorney, get yourself a copy of Jon Gutmacher's "Florida Firearms Law" book.
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Old May 3, 2013, 11:21 PM   #16
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Let me state at the outset that I am NOT an attorney. That said, I am a retired CLEO, and I was so employed at the time of the adoption of the '87 law.

The very topic at hand, carriage of a BP handgun, defined as a weapon and not a firearm was discussed at length at one conference. It was clearly understood that antiques, as defined statutorily, were NOT firearms by definition and that they could be borne just as knives and other openly carried weapons were.

That said, since the OC ban in Florida came into being, I have little doubt that anyone so doing WILL experience no end of difficulty, in truth you would in all probability beat the charge but you will experience the 'ride'.

I would counsel forgoing the issue unless you just want to be a test case, and those sorts of things aren't fun.
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Old May 6, 2013, 12:07 PM   #17
BoogieMan
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Wait a couple years and be happy you dont live in NJ. Black powder as well as BB guns are considered firearms here. We also dont have C&R recognition and its nearly impossible to get a CC.
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Old May 9, 2013, 12:43 AM   #18
Jim March
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FLORIDA IS NOT AN OPEN CARRY STATE FOR FIREARMS. At least one poster above said otherwise, extrapolating (incorrectly) from knife laws.

I recommend finding the laws that ban concealed carry (except when you have a permit) and reading them in detail, and finding the definition of the "firearms" that are banned from unpermitted carry.
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Old May 9, 2013, 12:51 AM   #19
dakota.potts
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Jim, I do know this. I know that in Florida it is illegal to conceal ANY deadly weapon. However, it is legal to openly carry all but firearms. Black powder weapons are not firearms technically.

This brings me to dogrunner's point. His opinion is intelligent and informed. Thank you for your answer, especially given your experience.
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Old May 9, 2013, 07:19 AM   #20
MLeake
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OP, enlist in the Florida National Guard or a branch of the Reserves, and you can get a concealed carry license in Florida.

http://licgweb.doacs.state.fl.us/wea...ements_web.pdf

See the above, first paragraph.

http://www.leg.state.fl.us/statutes/...s/0250.01.html

See the above, look up "service member."

Then you won't have to worry about black powder, or what is a firearm.
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Old May 9, 2013, 10:59 PM   #21
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You will also likely get a free guided tour of Afghanistan with complimentary stomach ailments and the necessity of meeting "interesting" people...and killing them.

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Old May 9, 2013, 11:13 PM   #22
dakota.potts
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While I applaud those who do serve in any guard or military, that's not the lifestyle for me. It looks like I will just have to keep my mind sharp and do what I can until I'm given more options.
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Old May 9, 2013, 11:21 PM   #23
Frank Ettin
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnKSa
They may not be firearms, but that doesn't mean that they aren't weapons and don't fall under some other prohibition in that respect. The advice to contact a lawyer in your state is good.
This is the correct answer and a good place to quit.
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