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Places where a concealed weapon isn’t allowed, under Florida statute 790.06:
1. Any place of nuisance as defined in Florida statute 823.05
2. A law enforcement station
3. A detention facility, prison or jail
4. A courthouse
5. A courtroom, except for the judge or anyone authorized by the judge
6. Polling places
7. Meeting rooms of a government body
8. Any meeting of the Legislature or any of its committees
9. A school, college or professional athletic event not related to firearms
10. An elementary or secondary school facility or administration building
11. A career center
12. Any portion of an establishment licensed to dispense alcoholic beverages for consumption on the premises
13. Any college or university facility, unless the licensee is a registered student, employee, or faculty member of the college or university and the weapon is a stun gun or nonlethal electric weapon or device designed solely for defensive purposes and the weapon doesn’t fire a dart or projectile
14. The passenger terminal of any airport, provided that no person shall be prohibited from carrying any legal firearm into the terminal if the firearm is encased for shipment or checked as baggage
15. Any place where the carrying of firearms is prohibited by federal law
NAPLES — There aren't many places in Southwest Florida where guns are banned.
People with concealed weapons permits can't take their guns into schools and courthouses. Government meeting rooms, polling places and airport terminals are among other places that are off-limits.
In Florida, where state records show there are about 1 million residents licensed to have a concealed weapon, there's no ban on taking guns into movie theaters. But states' laws vary: it is illegal to carry a concealed weapon into a theater in Colorado.
In a Colorado movie theater, a gunman killed 12 people and wounded 59 others 10 days ago during a midnight showing of a Batman movie.
The next day, a gun found inside a Naples-area movie theater was returned to its owner when he came back to claim it, a Collier County sheriff's report shows.
Since the Colorado shooting, there's been no move to change Florida law regarding where weapons are allowed, said Sterling Ivey, a spokesman for the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. He said he's not aware of any recent bills filed for the state Legislature to consider regarding concealed weapons.
"If it's not listed in the statute by law, it can be carried into the location," Lee County sheriff's spokeswoman Sgt. Stephanie Eller said.
That was the case the afternoon of Saturday, July 21, when an employee cleaning a Hollywood 20 movie theater after a noon showing of the "The Intouchables" found a small, black leather bag containing a handgun left behind by a moviegoer, according to a sheriff's report.
The man retrieved his bag and gun a short time later, according to the report. Employees at the Naples theater then notified the Sheriff's Office after the man left with his gun.
Most area movie theaters wouldn't discuss any changes made in security measures in the week following the Colorado shooting, but one theater chain did.
"Moviegoers should expect stricter controls over character attire and accessories at our theatres," Russ Nunley, Regal Entertainment Group spokesman, said in an email. "The vast majority of guests have expressed appreciation when they notice a staff member or security personnel facilitating our safety protocols."
A manager at Hollywood 20 on the Saturday the gun was found wouldn't comment. Calls made subsequently to the media hotline for Hollywood 20 weren't returned, nor was the general manager of the Silverspot Cinema in North Naples available for comment.
In Lee, Eller wouldn't say if there have been extra deputy patrols at local movie theaters because the agency doesn't disclose its tactical operations.
Collier sheriff's patrol Capt. Tim Guerrette said the department has a standing relationship with local theaters and has provided off-duty detail for student programs.
"We have been in contact with the management at the theaters in the area (recently) to work with them to determine their needs, if any. These needs may involve hiring additional off-duty deputies or providing special patrols, which is a standard service that we offer," Guerrette said in a statement.
By the numbers
Approval for a concealed weapon permit in Florida requires fingerprints and background checks, plus firearms training classes.
In Florida, about 1 million residents are authorized to have a concealed weapon, state records show.
In June, 12,568 Collier County residents held a concealed weapon license; in Lee County, 31,357 residents had a license to carry a concealed weapon.
"We will continue to partner with the movie theater managers to ensure that everyone in Collier County can have a safe and enjoyable movie-going experience."
Neither Collier County, nor Lee County, public schools plan to change their security measures regarding weapons.
Collier schools Chief Operations Officer Michele LaBute said in an email that school district staff, along with daily assistance of the Collier sheriff's Youth Relations deputies, and students are always vigilant and on the lookout for any potential threats.
When and if there is reasonable cause to warrant a search, school administrators and-or law enforcement officers conduct a car search or backpack search, as allowed by law, LaBute said. She said searches for firearms are "extremely rare."
Photo by LEXEY SWALL // Buy this photo
"We do not expect a need to change our procedures at this time, but we do re-evaluate them on a continuous basis," LaBute said. "We will continue to be vigilant for any potential threats to the safety of our students, staff and campus visitors during the new school year, and will address any threats appropriately, when and if they occur."
Lee schools spokesman Joe Donzelli said he couldn't talk about safety procedures.
"That incident does not reveal any flaws in any safety procedures that we have in schools," said Donzelli, adding that entering school grounds and a theater are completely different situations.
Currently, the Lee County School District has resource officers provided by the Lee County Sheriff's Office. Just recently, the program also got a new K-9 unit.
Donzelli said the district doesn't keep statistics of how often a backpack, car or locker are searched for firearms.
In Lee County, three arrests were made for possession of a firearm on school properties during the school year from August 2011 to May, according to Lee County Sheriff's Office records.
One place where people with a concealed weapon permit can carry a gun is into county and city parks. A court challenge led various government agencies in Southwest Florida to change their local laws a couple of years ago, now allowing concealed weapons in parks as was spelled out in state law.
In some cases, there are nuances to the law: for example, bars and restaurants.
"There are a couple of things that aren't cut and dried; however, when people get a concealed weapon permit they need to learn the rules ... and know that just because they can carry a gun they cannot carry it everywhere," Eller said.
A portion of the state law, statute 790.06, bans concealed weapons in about 15 places, including bars. But, Eller said, it needs further investigation when determining a possible crime if someone carried a concealed gun into a restaurant that has a bar or lounge area.
"It's not a black-and-white issue," Eller said. "We have to see what they are doing and see the totality of the situation."
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