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Expanding Baton carry in FL

50844 Views 9 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  Cer10Death
I live in Sarasota FL and am currently waiting on my CWP to be issued (currently at 70 days)

My question is: Does anyone know the legality of carrying an expanding type baton like an ASP? Is it legal to carry in FL or only legal to carry with a CWP? Illegal even with CWP?

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Hi Ken,

Here's my advice: do NOT carry an ASP or other collapsible baton until you receive your "CWP". Legally speaking, once you have you "CWP" it's okay to carry one - but you may receive undue attention from law enforcement for doing so.

I believe the ASP to be a "concealed weapon" by its very nature. You have 13-17 inches of steel pipe hidden away in a handle section only 8-9 inches long (those numbers are based on the ASP 21" and 26" batons respectively). If you spend any amount of time studying case law (court decisions) regarding concealed weapons you learn that much of the focus is whether or not a person would have some reasonable opportunity to discern that a potential attacker is armed AND what the nature of the weapon such attacker is armed with. In the case of the collapsible baton, even openly carried, the true nature of the weapon is "concealed" until the baton is deployed/opened.

There is also a strong bias on the part of many law enforcement officers against private citizens owning/carrying/using what is felt to be "law enforcement only" equipment. Although there is no federal nor Florida law prohibiting a private citizen from owning, carrying (with a "CWP") or using (with justification) a collapsible baton - you may nonetheless face this bias if you are contacted by law enforcement.

From a practical standpoint, you should seek out and attend a basic training/certification class. This is so that if you ever have to actually use the baton you can show that you as a reasonable and prudent law abiding citizen had received training in the safest and most effective use of the baton. Translation: attending a professional training class is like buying an insurance policy that may assist you in the event of arrest or prosecution.
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"Muddy" is usually lawyer speak for, "This is gonna cost you a whole lot of money and you just might end up going to jail or prison."

I have a saying I use, "Police officers don't have to know the law - they only have to know Probable Cause, 'You're probably causing a crime so you're under arrest.'"

Standing case law (prior court decisions) in Florida declares that actually determining what is or is not "concealed" or a "concealed weapon" is a matter for the trier of fact - that is, the judge or jury actually determining guilt. So if you really want to get down to it, any questionable (muddy) issues regarding Florida law cannot be answered except on a case by case basis at trial. Is that really where you want to find out whether or not your conduct was legal or illegal?

Another phrase I use is, "It really sucks to be the legal test gerbil."
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That's an idea, but that would only give the point of view of one LEO - who likely would err on the side of caution and tell you not to carry without a CWP anyway.

Problem being that at any given time one can easily be contacted by at least three very different Florida law enforcement agencies: the Florida Highway Patrol, local sheriff's office deputies and local municipal police department. On top of that, as we travel around you could potentially add in mulitple OTHER state, county, municipal and special area (universities, school districts, airports, etc.) law enforcement agencies, so the opinion of ONE officer standing in the lobby of the local dept doesn't get you far.

It also fails to take into account that frequently one is contacted by law enforcement during a "not the best time of my life" moment. You've usually already done something to inspire their interest in the first place. Some traffic infraction, or walking late at night, or mistakenly trespassing, or after a couple of beers, or... something that already puts you in a less than favorable light - and then the LEO discovers you have an ASP baton on your hip. This usually does not add up to a good day.
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