Pasco theater shooting raises concealed weapon questions - WFLA News Channel 8

Pasco theater shooting raises concealed weapon questions

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PASCO COUNTY, FL (WFLA) - Monday's shooting at a Pasco County movie theater is raising new questions about concealed weapons permits.

"The Florida concealed carry license is a license to carry.  It is not a permit to use it or even let it be seen," said shooting range owner Ken Zellers.

Zellers runs a Hillsborough County shooting range, where he educates the public on gun safety and gun restrictions.

"A firearm is just an extra tool," said Zeller.  "A firearm will not make you safe anymore than a computer will balance your checkbook if you don't know how to use it."

Retired Tampa Police captain Curtis Reeves, who is accused in the theater shooting may have had a permit, but that didn't give him the right to carry a weapon into a business with a sign that read "no firearms allowed".

Complete coverage: Pasco movie theater shooting

"A lot of business don't have metal detectors," said Joe Bodiford, an adjunct Stetson Law school professor.  "And most responsible gun owners will keep it out of the way and out of sight and it never becomes an issue.  Unfortunately, most business owners don't know if you are carrying or not until something bad happens."

Under Florida statue 790, it is quite clear where you are never allowed to bring a weapon.  It ranges from police stations, jails, courthouses to schools and sporting events.

"I find a lot of people get the permit but they don't take the time to fully read and understand the statue dealing with where and when and under what circumstance you can and specifically cannot carry," Bodiford added.

Larry McKinnon with the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office says most of the one million people in Florida with concealed permits will respect a business if it says no guns allowed.

"Private properties that are not in that statue still maintain a right to refuse service if you come in with a firearm violating after they have asked you to leave is a trespass," McKinnon said.

If a gun owner refuses to leave, they could face a charge of armed trespassing.

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