Face masks are making some concealed weapon permit carriers nervous that they will be unable to carry their guns and wear a mask at the same time.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention continues to recommend face masks in settings where social distancing is not possible to stop the spread of COVID-19, and some municipalities are considering mandatory face mask ordinances.
But a rumor circulating online claims that wearing a face mask during the COVID-19 pandemic removes gun owners’ ability to conceal carry.
The meme, posted to some Facebook and Instagram pages, shows a handgun an identification card and states, “Know what else wearing a mask does??? Anyone? REMOVES YOUR CONCEAL CARRY ability. That’s right!! It’s in the rule. CCW licencees are NOT allowed to wear face coverings while carrying. Now let that sink in.”
Florida has more than 2.1 million concealed carry licensees, according to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, so the Sun reached out to the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office this week to debunk the rumor.
CCSO Spokesperson Skip Conroy stated there is a Florida statute 876.12, which prohibits people from wearing masks in public with the intent to intimidate others, deprive them of equal protection under the law, or engage in criminal conduct.
“Wearing a mask during the course of engaging in criminal conduct can bring enhanced penalties,” Conroy said. “It does not negate a concealed carry permit. There are exceptions to every rule. In this case many people wear masks for medical and safety reasons.”
The general prohibition on wearing masks in public does not include any mention of a concealed carry permit and only applies to the situations Conroy outlined.
“In a nutshell, someone who is legally carrying a firearm and is not committing a crime, the mask isn’t going to be an issue,” he said.