• How difficult is it to purchase a gun in Florida?

    By: Debbie Lord, Cox Media Group National Content Desk

    Updated:

    Florida is a state where it is not particularly difficult to get a gun. The Giffords Law Center, which is a gun-control advocacy group named after former U.S. House Rep. Gabby Giffords, gives Florida an "F" grade for its gun laws. Below, from the Giffords Law Center, is a look at Florida’s gun laws. 

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    In Florida, you do not need a license to own or purchase a handgun, shotgun or rifle, nor do you have to register a gun. Here is what’s required from the state for gun ownership.

    How do you get a gun in Florida? 

    In Florida, to purchase a gun from a gun store, you must pay $8 and complete the paperwork for a background check. If you pass the background check, you get the gun. If the gun is a rifle or a shotgun, you do not have to wait three days to get it. For a handgun, there is a mandatory three-day “cooling off” period in Florida, one of only 10 states that require any waiting period for the purchase of a gun. There is no federal waiting period required when purchasing a gun. Waiting periods are imposed by states.

    Here is what Florida does not do:


    Who is prohibited from purchasing a gun in Florida?

    Federal law prohibits certain people from purchasing or possessing firearms. Felons, certain domestic abusers, and people with a history of mental illness are generally barred from buying a weapon. In Florida, a person is prohibited from owning or possessing a firearm if they:

    • Have been convicted of a felony, or are under 24 years of age and have been convicted of a delinquent act that would be a felony if committed by an adult
    • Have been issued a final injunction that is currently in force and effect, restraining that person from committing acts of domestic violence
    • Are a “violent career criminal,” as Florida law defines that term


    What is the minimum age to purchase a gun in Florida?

    In Florida, a person has to be at least 18 years old to purchase and possess a gun. There are exceptions to that law. Minors are eligible to possess a gun if they are:

    • Engaged in a lawful hunting activity and are at least age 16 or if under age 16, are supervised by an adult;
    • Engaged in a lawful marksmanship competition or practice or other lawful recreational shooting activity, and are at least age 16 
    • Transporting an unloaded firearm directly to or from one of the aforementioned events.
    • Florida law prohibits dealers from selling or transferring firearms to anyone younger than 18 

    Can someone who has become a person who would be prohibited from possessing firearms in Florida have their guns taken away?

    No, Florida has no law requiring a person who has become a person who would be prohibited from owning weapons in Florida to surrender the weapon, nor is there a law that would allow law enforcement to take that person’s firearms.

    If a person is the subject of a court-imposed protective order, then Florida does consider it a violation of that protective order if the person refuses to surrender his or her firearms.

    What about a semi-automatic weapon? How tough is it to get those type of weapons? 

    In most cases, it’s no tougher to get a semi-automatic rifle than it is to get a handgun. Seven states -- California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York – and the District of Columbia have enacted laws banning semi-automatic weapons. Minnesota and Virginia regulate semi-automatic weapons. There is no ban on purchasing the weapons in any other state.

    Students grieve outside Pines Trail Center where counselors are present, after Wednesday's mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. Nikolas Cruz was charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder Thursday morning.
    AP Photo/Joel Auerbach

     

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