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Laws in Florida Concerning the Purchase and Transfer of Firearms

Because of the shooting in Parkland on February 14th, the debate about gun control vs gun rights is going to get heated again.

It’s a very sobering subject and may produce heated arguments among people.

We put together this quick overview of the laws in Florida concerning the purchase and transfer of firearms.

The Florida State Constitution does not require private citizens to register their firearm, keep a bill of sale, have to do background checks or have a license to sell firearms. However, they may not knowingly sell or transfer firearms to anyone who may be prohibited by federal law.

These individuals include:

  • The physical inability to handle a firearm safely.
  • A felony conviction (unless civil and firearm rights have been restored by the convicting authority).
  • Having adjudication withheld or sentence suspended on a felony or misdemeanor crime of violence unless three years have elapsed since probation or other conditions set by the court have been fulfilled.
  • A conviction for a misdemeanor crime of violence in the last three years.
  • A conviction for violation of controlled substance laws or multiple arrests for such offenses.
  • A record of drug or alcohol abuse.
  • Two or more DUI convictions within the previous three years.
  • Being committed to a mental institution or adjudged incompetent or mentally defective.
  • Failing to provide proof of proficiency with a firearm.
  • Having been issued a domestic violence injunction or an injunction against repeat violence that is currently in force.
  • Renouncement of U.S. citizenship.
  • A dishonorable discharge from the armed forces.
  • Being a fugitive from justice.

Licensed dealers such as gun shops, pawn shops, and big box stores like Wal-Mart have to perform background checks, only sell handguns to those who have a concealed weapons permit, and execute a three-day waiting period. If the buyer already has a concealed weapons permit, they do not need to wait three-days.

For rifles and shotguns, licensed dealers only need a Florida state ID to sell a firearm to someone.

All the laws presented so far in this article, only apply to single-fire and semi-automatic weapons.

Fully automatic weapons, or what most commonly referred to as “machine guns”, are heavily regulated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Any activity concerning the purchase, selling, transfer of ownership, interstate transfer, basically anything, has to be reported, registered, and approved by the ATF. That’s only for organizations who are approved to have these weapons. Private citizens are barred from engaging in any activity concerning machine guns.

The only way a private citizen can lawfully possess a machine gun, is if they possessed and registered the weapon with the ATF before May 19th, 1986.

Hope this overview helps you have a productive conversation.

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