In the wake of the school shooting that took place at Marjory Stoneman Douglas in Parkland, communities nationwide are reevaluating their gun laws and urging their politicians for gun reform. Florida’s governor Rick Scott claimed that “everything is on the table” when it comes to reforming state gun laws, though he stresses that he will not infringe on anyone’s constitutional rights. What exactly does this mean for Florida? First, it helps to understand the current, relatively relaxed gun laws residents of the Sunshine State enjoy.
No Permit or License or Registration Necessary to Own a Firearm
In Florida, guns are less restricted than vehicles. There is no permit or license necessary to obtain and own a firearm in the state legally. There is also no requirement for gun owners to register their firearms. In fact, state law prohibits local governments from creating regulations that would require firearm registration. It is one of the only, if not the only, states that penalize leaders of local governments from enacting gun laws that are more strict than state gun laws. Elected officials who violate this law face a civil fine of $5,000 and can be removed from office.
Permit Required to Conceal Carry Handguns
A concealed carry permit is necessary to carry a handgun on your person. To ensure the handgun is “concealed” means that the weapon is carried under one’s shirt, in one’s pocket, or another location where passersby cannot see it.
Florida is a “Shall Issue” State
The “shall issue” policy means that the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services must issue a concealed weapons license if the applicant meets specific criteria, some of which include:
- Being a U.S. resident and citizen or a permanent resident
- Being at least 21 years old
- Not having a felony conviction
- Demonstrating competence with a firearm
- No history of being committed to a mental institution
No Background Checks for Private Gun Sales
Currently, there are no laws in Florida that require private gun sellers to conduct background checks. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement conducts background checks as required under federal law when a federally-licensed gun dealer notifies them about a sale. Gun sales between private individuals circumvent background checks. This is sometimes referred to as the “private sale loophole.”
No Limit to How Many Guns You Can Buy at a Time
A person can buy as many guns as he or she wants at a time because there are no laws imposing limits on the number of firearms a person can purchase.
3-Day Waiting Period for Retail Gun Sales
Florida law upholds a three-day waiting period for handgun purchases. A person looking to buy a handgun, pistol, or revolver must wait three days before the handgun may be delivered to him. The weapon used in the recent school shooting is not be covered by this law.
The right to bear arms is guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and is the most fought over right in America. In light of one of the most horrific school shootings in the state’s history, these laws may change drastically. Attorney Brian Gabriel of The Law Office of Gabriel & Gabriel is a veteran defense lawyer who stays up-to-date on the state’s gun laws and has defended hundreds of firearms cases in Palm Beach County. If you face gun charges in West Palm Beach, call 561-622-5575 for a free case review or contact us online.