Before we dive on in, we must preface this article by saying this is not legal advice and you should not rely upon it as such. This article assumes you are lawfully allowed to possess firearms under all state and federal laws. Contact an attorney in your area for legal advice specific to your individual situation.
Let’s get started.
Chances are you’ve heard of “The 3 Step Rule.” But what exactly is it?
“The 3 Step Rule” is an imaginary rule that someone, somewhere, made up to describe how to store your firearms in your car if you don’t have a concealed carry permit.
There are a few variations to the rule, but the general idea is the same: If you don’t have a concealed weapon permit, you can have a gun in your vehicle as long as it is at least 3 “steps” away. These steps could include things such as opening the glove compartment, removing the firearm from a holster, loading it, etc.
But the truth is...“The 3 Step Rule” is completely made up. It has never existed and it probably never will.
The good news is the actual law is much more specific.
§790.25(5) outlines possession of a firearm in a private conveyance. There is also a very important distinction to be made between carrying long guns (rifles and shotguns) and carrying handguns (pistols).
§790.25(3)(l) covers possession of a firearm by a person traveling in a public conveyance.
The term “conveyance” is not defined in Chapter 790, but it is defined in Chapter 810 as “any motor vehicle, ship, vessel, railroad vehicle or car, trailer, aircraft, or sleeping car.” I cannot say for certain this is the definition that would be applied to Chapter 790, but such definition certainly seems reasonable and appropriate.
With regards to long guns, there is a notable difference between possession in private versus public conveyances.
A plain reading of 790.25(3)(l) would seem to require a long gun carried in a public conveyance to be securely encased and not on the person.
Even without a concealed weapon or firearm license, long guns can be carried anywhere within a private conveyance as long as they are not on your person. See §790.25(5) which states, in part:
“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. Nothing herein contained shall be construed to authorize the carrying of a concealed firearm or other weapon on the person” (emphasis added).
But handguns are a different story.
Just as with long guns, a plain reading of 790.25(3)(l) would seem to require handguns carried in a private conveyance to be securely encased and not on the person.
You may only carry a concealed handgun in a private conveyance without a license if:
The first four criteria are pretty self-explanatory. Let’s explore the last one a little further.
§790.001(17) explicitly defines “securely encased.” We are provided with several examples of where a firearm can be located and be considered “securely encased”:
§790.001(16) explicitly defines “readily accessible for immediate use”:
“‘Readily accessible for immediate use’ means that a firearm or other weapon is carried on the person or within such close proximity and in such a manner that it can be retrieved and used as easily and quickly as if carried on the person.”
Remember: The firearm must not be “readily accessible for immediate use.”
For example, driving (or riding) with a firearm tucked between the center console and the seat would be considered “readily accessible for immediate use.” Even though the firearm isn’t physically on you, it is stored “within such close proximity and in such a manner that it can be retrieved and used as easily and quickly as if carried on [your] person.” This is a third degree felony, unless you have a permit.
Keep your firearms “securely encased” and not “readily accessible for immediate use” and you should be good to go.
Remember, this only applies to carrying in a private conveyance. If you are not in a private conveyance these criteria do not apply and you may be violating state law.
The best and safest option is to get your concealed carry permit. Then you don’t have to worry about whether or not your firearm is “securely encased” or “readily accessible for immediate use” (unless you’re on school property).
Don’t put off the protection and safety you and your loved ones deserve. The first step to getting your CCW permit is to sign up for our concealed carry class today.