Florida Gun Law: Facts, Changes, and Regulations
Welcome to the Sunshine State! Although Florida is an incredibly popular tourist destination and home to a variety of amazing attractions, it unfortunately has some of the most permissive gun laws in the United States. The laws, regulations, and ongoing changes in Florida can seem confusing and overwhelming – so let’s dive in and discuss what you need to know about Florida gun laws. In this article, we’ll discuss facts, changes, and regulations of guns in Florida.
1. Overview of Current Gun Laws in Florida
Florida is one of many states in the US that have specific rules and regulations when it comes to gun ownership. In this post, we will discuss the facts, regulations, and changes in the gun laws in the Sunshine State. Below are the facts, changes, and regulations regarding guns in Florida.
- Residents of Florida must be 18 years or older to purchase a firearm.
- To carry or conceal a firearm, a person must have a Concealed Weapon or Firearm License.
- Open carry of a firearm is legal in the state of Florida.
- While open carrying, a person must have a Concealed Weapon or Firearm License.
- Florida is a “stand your ground” state. That means an individual is not required to retreat from a threat if they believe they are in danger.
- Florida does not require a permit to purchase a firearm, but buyers are subject to federally mandated background checks.
- Semi-automatic rifles are allowed in Florida.
- Assault weapons are prohibited in the state.
- Automatic weapons are illegal in Florida.
- It is illegal to possess a firearm on school property except for law enforcement and those with a concealed weapons license.
- It is also illegal to possess a firearm in a place of business that sells liquor to the public.
- In February 2021, Governor DeSantis of Florida signed into law a bill expanding “stand your ground” immunity to those who shoot property owners who unlawfully entered their home or occupied vehicle.
- The bill also allows those who are defending themselves from an intruder to also use non-lethal force.
- Governor DeSantis also signed into law a bill requiring authorities to release the names and personal information of those whose concealed weapons applications are rejected.
While the gun laws of Florida can appear confusing, it is important to remember that they are there to protect us all. It is important to understand the laws to ensure that we are all following the lawful and correct regulations.
2. Key Changes to Florida Gun Laws
Florida state gun laws are constantly changing to address firearm safety, ownership, and use. It is essential to stay current on these revisions to ensure any firearms-related activity is compliant with the law. Here is a breakdown of the latest legal changes to Florida gun laws.
1. Carry and Possession Laws:
- Concealed carry is legal without a permit for any person over 21 (unless they are otherwise prohibited from possessing a firearm).
- Open carry is legal but only with an appropriate license.
- There is a three-day waiting period for all firearms sales, including long guns and handguns.
- It is legal to purchase and own a semi-automatic rifle.
- Large-capacity magazines, defined as a magazine carrying more than 10 rounds, are prohibited.
2. Long Guns:
- There is no permit or registration required for the sale, transfer, or possession of long guns.
- It is illegal to possess a sawed-off shotgun or rifle.
- Long guns may only be discharged on one’s property or property one has permission to shoot on.
- All firearms must be carried unloaded and in a secure place when in a vehicle.
- A permit is required to carry a concealed handgun.
- It is illegal to carry a handgun in a vehicle without a valid license.
- It is illegal to possess or discharge handguns within 1,000 feet of school premises (unless done so on school-approved shooting ranges).
- It is illegal for convicted felons to possess or possess firearms or ammunition of any kind.
It is essential to remain current on the updates and changes in Florida’s gun laws. For more information, residents should contact their local law enforcement agency or refer to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement website.
3. Regulations on Gun Purchasing in Florida
When it comes to purchasing a gun in the state of Florida, several pieces of legislation come into play. Certain requirements must be satisfied before a gun can be lawfully acquired and several changes in policy over the past years. Here are the key facts, changes, and regulations that govern gun purchases in Florida.
1. Firearm Licensing Requirements
To legally purchase firearms in the state of Florida, the buyer must have a valid concealed weapon license, a valid hunting license, a valid target shooting license, or a valid concealed weapon permit.
The licenses must have been issued in the state of Florida, and, in some cases, a criminal history background check must be completed by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. In addition, the applicant must demonstrate competency in gun safety and rules related to the safe handling of firearms.
2. Age Requirements
It is illegal for someone under the age of 21 to purchase a firearm in the state of Florida. In certain cases, citizens aged 18 and older may be allowed to purchase a rifle or a shotgun; however, they must provide a valid hunting license issued by the state of Florida. In addition, buyers must be at least 21 to purchase ammunition.
3. Background Check Requirements
When a gun is purchased from a federally licensed firearms dealer in Florida, the buyer must complete an ATF Form 4473. The form must be completed, signed, and dated for the dealership to process the sale. The form includes questions related to the buyer’s identification, address, date of birth, and criminal history.
During the sale, the dealership will contact the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to perform a criminal background check on the buyer. Once the background check is completed, the dealer will either proceed with the sale or stop the sale, depending on the results of the background check.
4. Waiting Periods
In the state of Florida, all firearms purchases must be accompanied by a mandatory three-day waiting period. This waiting period does not apply to concealed weapon permit holders, but it does apply to buyers purchasing a firearm from a federally licensed firearms dealer.
In addition, certain counties in Florida require gun buyers to wait up to a month before they can take possession of their weapon. This is to provide a period in which potential buyers can reconsider their decision and to help prevent rash or rashly made purchases.
5. Additional Restrictions
- Assault Weapons: It is illegal to possess or purchase an assault weapon in the state of Florida.
- Large Capacity Magazines: It is illegal to possess or purchase large capacity magazines in the state of Florida.
- Bump-Fire Stocks, Sniper Rifles, and Automatic Firearms: It is illegal to possess or purchase bump-fire stocks, sniper rifles, or automatic firearms in the state of Florida.
In summary, the gun laws in Florida are comprehensive and continue to constantly evolve. It is important to know the regulations before attempting to purchase a gun or ammunition in the state. By following all the laws and regulations, you can help to ensure that firearms are properly purchased, used, and stored.
4. Requirements to Possess Guns in Florida
In Florida, most individuals must meet certain requirements to purchase and possess a firearm. Here are the facts about the existing gun laws and regulations in Florida, as well as changes made to the law:
Age Requirements – To buy or possess firearms, Florida residents must have reached the age of 21. Additionally, minors under the age of 18 need written consent from their parents or guardians to buy or own guns.
Background Checks – Every gun sale or purchase must include an approved background check, as determined by the ATF. Additionally, anyone wanting to conceal and carry must have a license. The license holds more stringent requirements and may include mental health screenings.
Gun Ownership Rights – When it comes to gun ownership, people in Florida are allowed to open carry and conceal carry.
Gun Restrictions – It is illegal to carry a weapon in the following public areas:
- Govt offices
- Police stations
Changes in 2019– In 2019, several reforms to the existing gun laws in Florida were made.
- People under a certain level of risk orders need to relinquish their firearms to a law enforcement agency, regardless of whether they have a permit or not.
- The minimum age for a person to purchase rifles and other long guns was raised to 21.
- Money for mental health and school safety initiatives, including educational program materials and metal detectors, was allocated.
Other Regulations – Gun stores need to be certified by the FDLE and all gun sales must include approved background checks for buyers. To purchase a gun, buyers need to demonstrate their age with valid identification. In addition, no more than one gun can be purchased per month.
5. Impact of Changes to Florida Gun Laws
In recent years, Florida has seen sweeping changes to gun laws that have drastically altered the state’s firearms regulations. From expanding the ability of citizens to carry firearms in public settings to making it easier to obtain concealed carry permits, the Sunshine State has seen some of the most significant changes in the nation. The following will explore the facts, changes, and regulations concerning Florida gun laws.
1. Background: Florida’s gun laws have undergone significant changes over the years with an ever-increasing level of leniency. In recent years, the introduction of ”stand your ground” laws and the allowance of individuals to openly carry firearms without a permit have been particularly noteworthy. Of course, many firearm-related regulations remain in place, such as the requirement to possess a concealed weapons permit to carry in public, residency requirements, and state-sanctioned firearms training courses.
2. Changes to Gun Laws in Florida: Since 1987, the gun laws in Florida have undergone considerable change. The gun laws have been amended numerous times, resulting in a more lenient legislative atmosphere for firearms. The most noteworthy changes include:
- The introduction of “stand your ground” laws
- The allowance of individuals to openly carry firearms without a permit
- The repeal of the three-day waiting period to purchase handguns
3. Current Gun Laws in Florida: Currently, the gun laws in Florida generally reflect a relaxed stance when compared to other states. This includes the following regulations:
- Individuals have the right to carry a concealed weapon without a permit within their vehicle if the weapon is properly stored
- Individuals must be at least 21 years old to purchase firearms and ammunition
- All gun owners must go through a background check regardless of how the firearm was acquired
- The sale, transfer, and transportation of firearm silencers are prohibited
4. Enforcement: With the significant changes to the gun laws in Florida, enforcement of these laws has become increasingly important. Violating the state firearms regulations can result in misdemeanor or felony charges, depending on the specifics of the case. As an example, failing to obtain a concealed carry permit if legally required or the carrying of a concealed firearm into a prohibited area can result in felony charges.
The changes to the gun laws in Florida have had a wealth of implications for the state. Most citizens view the new laws as a positive step, allowing for greater freedom while still maintaining reasonable restrictions. The changes have also resulted in a noticeable decrease in gun-related crime, as many would-be criminals are now deterred by the restrictions and repercussions of violating the law. Overall, the changes to the gun laws have led to a generally positive outcome for the citizens of Florida.
6. Recommendations to Strengthen Current Gun Laws in Florida
1. Universal Background Checks: In Florida, individuals who wish to buy guns in a private sale are not required to obtain a federal background check. Requiring a background check on all gun purchases would decrease the probability of an individual with a prior record of violent or criminal behavior obtaining a gun. Universal background checks would provide a necessary layer of security.
2. Purchase Permits and Licensing: In addition to universal background checks, those who wish to purchase a gun in the state of Florida must currently obtain a concealed carry permit or a “purchase permit” only as authorized by their county Sheriff. Legislation can be implemented for the state to require a firearm safety training course and a list of safety procedures before a permit is issued.
3. All-inclusive Database: A comprehensive database updated in real-time of Floridians who have met the requirements for a firearms purchase permit should be maintained by the state, making it easier for law enforcement officials to check the status of a permit holder before a firearm purchase or a transfer. Additionally, a program could be put in place to alert officials when a permit holder has been convicted of a disqualifying offense or fails to renew their permit.
4. Increase the Minimum Legal Age: In Florida, federal law restricts gun purchases to individuals over the age of 18. This should be increased, allowing for persons aged 21 and over to purchase guns. Currently, many states have enacted a similar piece of legislation to limit the sale of guns to individuals under the age of 21, and Florida should consider the same.
5. Strengthen Prohibited Possessor Laws: A prohibited possessor is an individual who is not legally allowed to purchase or possess a firearm due to a prior violent criminal offense. Currently, in the state of Florida, there are laws in place to prevent the sale of firearms to prohibited possessors; however, this should be strengthened by enforcing harsher penalties for individuals who are caught in violation of this law, including jail time.
6. Extend Gun Purchases Waiting Periods: Federal law requires that individuals who wish to buy a handgun must wait for a minimum of 5 days before purchase, however, this period can be extended if the individual is purchasing a firearm from a private seller. Extending the gun waiting period throughout the state will make it more difficult for those who pose a high risk of injury or death to themselves and others to obtain a firearm. We hope this article has helped clear up any confusion surrounding Florida’s gun laws and regulations. As with any law, it is important to stay up-to-date, as some aspects are constantly changing. It is also important to recognize that gun possession and its laws differ from state to state, and individuals should research and take note of their local government’s guidelines. Stay safe and informed!