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Florida Gun Laws

Florida Gun Laws



Over the past ten years, Florida’s gun laws have undergone notable changes, reflecting the state’s continuous efforts to balance Second Amendment rights with public safety concerns. From concealed carry to background checks, these developments have aimed to adapt to evolving perspectives on responsible firearm ownership. This article offers a comprehensive overview of the key advancements in Florida’s gun laws and regulations from 2013 to 2023, presented in bullet points:

2013 – Stand Your Ground Law Review:

   – Florida’s controversial “Stand Your Ground” law, which allows individuals to use deadly force in self-defense without a duty to retreat, sparks national debate and review.

2014 – Warning Shot Law Enactment:

   – Legislation is passed to provide immunity to individuals who fire warning shots in self-defense, addressing concerns about the state’s strict self-defense laws.

2015 – Mental Health Background Checks:

   – Florida enhances its background checks by increasing the sharing of mental health records to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).

2016 – Open Carry Regulations:

   – Florida considers proposals to allow open carry of firearms, sparking discussions on the potential impact on public safety and law enforcement.

2017 – “Red Flag” Law Consideration:

   – Florida begins exploring “red flag” laws, allowing law enforcement and family members to request temporary firearm removal for individuals deemed a risk.

2018 – Enhanced Background Checks for Gun Purchases:

   – In response to the Parkland school shooting, Florida raises the minimum age for purchasing firearms to 21 and implements enhanced background checks for all gun sales.

2019 – School Guardians Program:

   – Florida enacts the School Guardians Program, allowing trained school staff to carry firearms on campus as an additional layer of security.

2020 – Preemption of Local Firearm Regulations:

   – Legislation is passed to strengthen state preemption laws, preventing local jurisdictions from enacting firearm regulations that exceed state laws.

2021 – “Stand Your Ground” Law Expansions:

   – Florida introduces measures to expand the scope of its “Stand Your Ground” law, further clarifying self-defense rights in various scenarios.

2022 – Mental Health Crisis Intervention Training:

    – The state considers requiring law enforcement officers to undergo mental health crisis intervention training to handle situations involving individuals in distress.

2022 – Firearm Waiting Period Extension:

    – Florida explores extending the firearm purchase waiting period from three days to seven days, sparking debates on the potential impact on gun buyers.

2023 – “Red Flag” Law Implementation:

    – Florida enacts its “red flag” law, allowing law enforcement and family members to seek temporary firearm removal for individuals showing signs of danger.

2023 – Background Check Expansions:

    – Proposed legislation aims to expand background checks to include private sales, raising discussions about closing potential loopholes.

2023 – Assault Weapon Ban Proposal:

    – Florida considers a ban on assault weapons, leading to intense debates on balancing personal rights and community safety.

Florida’s gun laws have witnessed notable changes over the past decade, reflecting the state’s ongoing commitment to addressing firearm safety and responsible ownership. From “Stand Your Ground” law reviews to enhanced background checks and discussions on “red flag” laws and assault weapon bans, these amendments demonstrate Florida’s responsiveness to changing times. As Florida continues to navigate the complexities of firearm regulation, it remains essential for stakeholders, policymakers, and citizens to engage in informed discussions that prioritize both individual freedoms and community security.

Florida gun laws do not necessitate the registration of shotguns, rifles, or handguns. Also, there is no required Florida gun permit to purchase firearms. Under Florida gun laws, individuals that classify as eligible to purchase and possess firearms must be no less than 18 years of age. Though it is illegal for a minor to purchase or possess a firearm, the exception is that a minor may do so only with the permission of the parent or legal guardian.

This provision also includes other types of weapons such as air guns or BB guns; the only weapon that may be sold to a minor is an ordinary pocket knife, as stated under Florida gun law. Furthermore, the minor may only be in possession of a weapon only while engaged in sporting, hunting, and recreational activities that are considered as legal, and under the supervision of a parent, legal guardian, or certified or qualified instructor. Otherwise, a minor may only possess a firearm if he/she is at the place of residence, and the firearm is unloaded.

A licensed firearms dealer must also obtain a completed form from the prospective buyer of a firearm and receive approval for the transfer of a firearm by the Department of Law Enforcement, pending a background check of the individual.

It is considered illegal for a licensed firearms dealer to deliver a weapon to a buyer without having completed the aforementioned process. Those that are not subject to the background check include other licensed dealers, law enforcement and military personnel, and individuals that have already obtained a permit to carry concealed weapons. There is a three day waiting period to purchase a handgun from any licensed firearms dealer. The waiting period is waived for those individuals that have concealed weapons permits or are trading in another handgun.

There is no required permit to carry shotguns or rifles under Florida law on guns. However, those wishing to carry handguns must apply for a license or permit to do so. To carry a concealed handgun, one must apply for a license to the Department of Agriculture. The requirements of an eligible applicant are that the individual must be at least 21 years of age, a legal U.S. resident, not a convicted felon, has not been convicted of a crime in the past three years under misdemeanor, felony, or domestic violence statutes, and can provide for adequate and appropriate reasons to carry a concealed weapon.

The license is valid for a total of five years and includes the name, address, race, date of birth, and occupation of the licensed carrier. Under Florida gun laws, it is considered illegal for an individual to carry any firearm–concealed or in the open–in public, with only the following exceptions:

     Individuals involved with firearms with the purpose of sport and target shooting, and while traveling to and from such locations.

     Individual involved in hunting or trapping, and while traveling to and from such activities.

     Law enforcement and military personnel.

     Individuals involved in the firearms business, such as dealing and repairing.

A firearm may be transported in a private vehicle as long as the firearm is in a secured case and is not easily accessible by anyone traveling in the vehicle. This particular juncture pertains specifically to handguns. Rifles and shotguns may be transported anywhere in a private vehicle, as long as the use of such firearms is considered to be within the constraints of the law, and the firearm is not concealed on the person.

A unique facet of Florida gun laws is that it allows for a no “duty to retreat” clause in its legislature. Essentially, this provision of the law states that an individual has the right to defend him/herself by any means necessary–including deadly force–if he/she is attacked on a location, as long as the individual is not trespassing. An individual has the right to defend him/herself if the person feels it is absolutely necessary to prevent harm or death to him/herself or others.