The Truth Behind the Florida 3 Step Rule
Ask any local police officer, talk to any firearms instructor, or meet anyone in the great State of Florida, and they’ll tell you, “without a license to carry, you can carry a gun in your car in Florida, as long as it’s ‘3 steps away.'”
The “3 Step Rule” rule ensures that you have your gun “3 steps away” from you in your vehicle.
A typical example of the “3 Step Rule” most often sounds like this:
- Step 1: Your gun is UNLOADED
- Step 2: Your gun is in a zippered case or a holster with a retention strap
- Step 3: Your gun is then placed inside of your glove box or center console
There has never been a “3 Step Rule” in Florida – and there never will be
Nobody is quite sure where the “3 Step Rule” originated from, but it has never existed, and it will never exist.
The truth is much more simple than any variation of the 3 steps anyway.
Here’s what Florida 790.25 statutes have to say:
(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.
Let’s break this down a bit further:
- You must be 18
- You may possess the firearm in your private conveyance
- You do not need a license to carry
- The firearm must be “securely encased” or not readily accessible
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What does “securely encased” and “not readily accessible” actually mean?
There’s a big difference between written law (above) and case law. Case law is someone actually getting arrested for an infraction of the written law, and then a judge determining what the written law actually means.
Case law on this subject has always been clear and consistent.
“Securely encased” and “not readily accessible” always must have the following two factors:
- The firearm must be in a container permanently attached to the vehicle
- The container must have a lid that shuts
So, what’s the bottom line about Florida’s “3 Step Rule?”
At 18 years of age, you may legally have a loaded firearm inside your glove box or center console – loaded – out of a holster, and ready to go.
Without a license to carry, you may not have your gun:
- Under your seat
- In your door compartment
- In between your center console any your seat
Does a motorcycle count as a “private conveyance?”
Without a license to carry, it would be lawful to have your firearm in a compartment on your motorcycle that was permanently attached to the vehicle with a lid that shuts.
Examples that would be OK without a license to carry:
- Having your firearm in your saddlebags that are permanently attached to the motorcycle
- Having your firearm under the seat of your motorcycle
- Having your firearm in a permanently attached tank bag on your motorcycle
Examples that would NOT be OK without a license to carry:
- Having the firearm on your person
- Having the firearm in a backpack strapped to the motorcycle