While the overall crime rate in the State of Florida has decreased the most heinous crimes, rape, and murder, have been increasing in the state (source). That’s why it’s essential that you have the ability to defend yourself.
What Self Defense Weapons Are Legal in Florida?
The next question is why weapons are legal to possess in Florida to defend yourself. Here is a list of self-defense weapons that are legal to own in the State of Florida.
- Pepper Spray (2oz or less)
- Tactical Pens
- Tasers & Stun Guns
- Fire Arms (see restrictions below)
- Most Knives (see exceptions below)
Florida Self Defense Laws – Castle Doctrine & Stand Your Ground
Like many states, Florida has a castle doctrine law. This entitles an occupant to defense his or her home or vehicle from an attacker with no duty to retreat. The state also has a stand your ground law which means a person has the right to use deadly force to defend themselves or their families from an attacker. Both laws may only be applied if:
- The person was not the original aggressor (they didn’t start it)
- They must have a reasonable fear of grave bodily danger including death and rape.
- The person isn’t trespassing
- They are not otherwise breaking the law
776.013 Home protection; use or threatened use of deadly force; presumption of fear of death or great bodily harm.—
(1) A person who is in a dwelling or residence in which the person has a right to be has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and use or threaten to use:(a) Nondeadly force against another when and to the extent that the person reasonably believes that such conduct is necessary to defend himself or herself or another against the other’s imminent use of unlawful force; or(b) Deadly force if he or she reasonably believes that using or threatening to use such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony.
Is It Legal to Carry Pepper Spray in Florida?
Pepper spray is legal to carry in the State of Florida so long as it is 2 ounces or less. No license or permit is required to carry it. There are some obvious restrictions namely it can’t be used offensively and never against a law enforcement officer. You’re also not allowed to have it if you’re a convicted felon. See my article on why pepper spray is one of the worst self-defense tools you can have.
FROM THE FLORIDA STATUTE
Chapter 790 WEAPONS AND FIREARMS
Section 001 Definitions
(b) “Tear gas gun” or “chemical weapon or device” means any weapon of such nature, except a device known as a “self-defense chemical spray.” “Self-defense chemical spray” means a device carried solely for purposes of lawful self-defense that is compact in size, designed to be carried on or about the person, and contains not more than two ounces of chemical.
Prohibited use of self-defense weapon or device against law enforcement officer; penalties.—A person who knowingly and willfully uses a self-defense chemical spray, a nonlethal stun gun or other nonlethal electric weapon or device, or a dart-firing stun gun against a law enforcement officer engaged in the performance of his or her duties commits a felony of the third degree
Felons and delinquents; possession of firearms, ammunition, or electric weapons or devices unlawful.—
(1) It is unlawful for any person to own or to have in his or her care, custody, possession, or control any firearm, ammunition, or electric weapon or device, or to carry a concealed weapon, including a tear gas gun or chemical weapon or device, if that person has been:
(a) Convicted of a felony in the courts of this state;
(b) Found, in the courts of this state, to have committed a delinquent act that would be a felony if committed by an adult and such person is under 24 years of age;
(c) Convicted of or found to have committed a crime against the United States which is designated as a felony;
(d) Found to have committed a delinquent act in another state, territory, or country that would be a felony if committed by an adult and which was punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding 1 year and such person is under 24 years of age;
Can You Carry a Stun Gun in Florida?
Yes, you may carry a stun gun or taser in Florida and you may do so without first obtaining a license. However, you are guilty of a crime if you purchase a stun gun and you are:
- A convicted felon and haven’t had your criminal record expunged or your civil rights restored in Florida, or
- Under the age of 24 and were convicted of a juvenile offense that would have been a felony had it been committed by an adult.
- Under the age of 16 and don’t have parental consent
(Fla. Stat. § 790.23 (2019).)
Related: Most Awesome Self Defense Gadgets
Is an Expandable Baton Legal in Florida?
This question was a tough nut to crack. I did a google search plus I searched the Florida statutes for the last twenty years and called two criminal defense attorneys in Florida and couldn’t get a clear answer. The attorney I spoke to said they probably are legal since they are not explicitly prohibited.
Is it Legal to Carry a Switchblade in Florida?
Yes, switchblades are legal to carry in Florida. While Florida law specifically prohibits ballistic self-propelled or automatic knives the statute specifically exempts switchblades. You may also carry knives with a concealed carry permit (source).
2) This section shall not apply to:(a) Any device from which a knifelike blade opens, where such blade remains physically integrated with the device when open.
Instead of a Knife Try This
A Practical Alternative to Restrictive Knife Laws
Instead of a pocket knife consider a tactical knife instead. Here’s my review of the StrikePen which has everything a person looking for a self-defense tool would need from a screwdriver to a flashlight, with one additional bonus. Watch a video on how to use a tactical pen.
Are Brass Knuckles Legal in Florida?
Brass knuckles are illegal to manufacture or sell in Florida however they are not explicitly forbidden to be owned. This is based on the fact that there is no legislation explicitly prohibiting brass knuckles.
A Weapon You May Not Have Considered
A whistle, yes you read that right, I said a whistle. One of the most low tech devices out there can be the most effective. Why? Because it creates the element of surprise. Most muggers don’t want a lot of attention. A good loud whistle will bring a lot of unwanted attention to what is happening.
I watched a video of a convicted mugger who said a would-be victim blew a whistle which caused him to run away. I got one of these whistles for my mom. The reason being is because it’s thin, orange, and has a keyring. Therefore it also serves to ensure you can find your keys in the morning! Best of all it’s discreet. Unlike a baton or pepper spray, most people don’t associate a whistle with a weapon. Check out my list of other best anti-mugging devices.