Here's what Jon Gutmacher,Esq says:
CAN YOU CARRY AT A HOSPITAL?
© 2006 by Jon H. Gutmacher
Florida Statute § 394.458 states “except as authorized by law” it is a third degree felony (yeah – felony!) for any person to bring, carry, possess, or transport a “firearm or other dangerous weapon” upon the grounds of any “hospital (or mental health facility) providing mental health services”. Here’s the actual wording: (1) (a) Except as authorized by law or as specifically authorized by the person in charge of each hospital providing mental health services under this part, it is unlawful to introduce into or upon the grounds of such hospital, or to take or attempt to take or send therefrom, any of the following articles, which are hereby declared to be contraband for the purposes of this section:
Any intoxicating beverage or beverage . . . .
Any controlled substance as defined in chapter 893; or
Any firearms or deadly weapon”.
I just handled an arrest involving this statute. I raised the defense that the phrase “except as authorized by law” meant just that – and that securely encased weapons in vehicles on hospital grounds were therefore legal, pursuant to Florida Statute 790.25, and that persons having a Concealed Weapons Permit were also authorized because Florida Statute 790.06(12) lists all the places you can’t carry pursuant to your permit – and a hospital or mental health facility isn’t one of them. Thus you’re obviously “authorized by law”.
Now, the State Attorney agreed with me in the case I was handling – and dropped the prosecution. However, there is no binding appellate decision on this issue, and therefore, no guarantee you couldn’t get arrested, and become the next “test case”. Just because I’m sure my interpretation is correct doesn’t mean that the rest of the world will. Likewise, the “law according to Gutmacher” isn’t quite the same thing as an Opinion by an appellate court which is binding across the State. So -- maybe some caution isn’t such a bad idea?
I therefore would suggest that carrying inside a hospital or mental health facility pursuant to your CWP should be reserved for very special instances. Likewise, if any one knows you’re carrying, and tells the police or a security guard - I would suggest you be more than accommodating in offering to leave immediately if they feel you’re illegal, or just don’t want you there. Remember -- even if my interpretation is correct -- they still have the right to tell you to leave under trespass laws, no matter what the actual law is. So just get the heck out while you have the chance. If you get into any type of situation where you’re actually taken into custody, politely suggest to the officers that because you have a CWP, you’re not acting illegally. They’ll probably ignore you – but who knows? Can’t hurt!
Anyway, that’s my spin on this statute. Keep safe.