For the time since the 19th century, citizens in Florida can carry a slungshot without facing the possibility of being arrested on a misdemeanor charge of carrying an illegal weapon.

Earlier this spring, Gov. Rick Scott signed House Bill 4009 into law. The new law strikes the slungshot from the list of illegal weapons in the Sunshine State, allowing people in Florida to make, sell and carry a concealed slungshot.

Republican Rep. Neil Combee of Polk City first introduced the proposal in 2015, where it died in committee. This year Combee’s bill passed both houses of the legislature unanimously. Combee told the Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel when he first introduced the bill that it was partly in reaction to a woman in Polk City who made slungshots as keychains.

“As far as I’m concerned, they leave a lot to be desired when it comes to a personal defense item,” Combee said. “But people don’t know it’s against the law to carry them.”

Slungshot: A Self-Defense Tool

In an interview with Bay News 9, Louis Krudo, a self-defense expert and owner of Krudo Knives, explained that the slungshot actually can be useful as a self-defense weapon if you have the proper training.

“The slungshot, which is a ball that can be either marble or steel, is wrapped in paracord or some sort of string and can fit on your key or in your pocketbook. It can be used as a self-defense tool,” Krudo said.

Slungshots originated among sailors. They were typically used to provide weight at the end of rope when throwing one from ship to shore. Sailors took to carrying a slungshot with a bit of rope attached, which is when it moved from tool to concealed weapon.

“The sailors, when they were in a fight, would actually use this ball to defend themselves,” Krudo said.

Florida eventually added slungshots to the list of illegal weapons in 1868, where it remained for 148 years, according to Guns.com.

Slungshots Today

As noted by Krudo, slungshots now are available in a variety of forms, including small keychains and necklaces.

But he warned that simply having a slungshot is not enough. You need to actually know how to use it.

“It’s not as simple as flinging this tool around. You want to be effective. You want to be quick. And you want to leave as soon as possible,” Krudo said. “So, some training would be required.”