Florida has some of the most relaxed gun laws in the United States, and now that the United States Supreme Court has announced a right to carry for all with proper cause could potentially put limits on the state’s freeform gun laws. Keep reading for more information.
To understand gun laws, it is important to have a grasp on the various terms used to describe firearms and the restrictions on those who own them. Below are common terms used in gun legislation including Florida’s gun laws.
- Concealed carry: Possession of a concealed or hidden firearm while in public
- Open carry: Possession of a firearm in public that is partially or fully visible
- Long guns: firearms with a long barrel designed to be held by both hands. This classification includes shot guns, rifles, submachine guns, and assault rifles (ARs)
- Caliber: The internal diameter or bore of a gun barrel
- Pistols: Small guns that may include derringers, revolvers, or other handguns with chambers that are integrated with the barrel
- Handguns: Shot barreled firearms that can be used with one hand; the most common firearm for concealed carry
- Semi-automatic: Firearms that fire one shot each time the trigger is pulled
- Automatic: Firearms that fire continuously until the trigger is released
Florida Laws on the Books
Florida is one of several states that have “shall issue” laws which means officials must grant a license to carry a firearm to anyone who meets a set of objective criteria. For example: prospective gun owners must be 21 or older, cannot be a convicted felon, and must be a United States citizen.
Other Florida gun restrictions include the following:
- A person may not have a firearm in their possession if a final injunction for domestic violence has been issued against them
- It is unlawful for dealers to sell firearms to minors
- Prospective gun owners must be Florida residents
- Long guns can be purchased by out-of-state residents if the sale follows that state’s guidelines for gun ownership
- The state does not require a permit to purchase a firearm
- Background checks are required
- A waiting period of three days must take place between the purchase and delivery of a firearm
- There are no limits on the number of firearms a person can purchase in one transaction
- Open carry is not permitted
- Individuals dishonorably discharged from the US Armed Forces may not purchase a firearm
These rules apply unilaterally to every prospective gun owner and there are no nuances to the objective criteria for gun ownership.
Federal Gun Laws and the Supreme Court
In a recent decision from the Supreme Court on June 23, 2022 the court gave the states discretion in granting concealed carry permits. In other words, the court established a precedent for a nationwide right to carry guns outside of the home unless otherwise restricted by the state.
For states with strict restrictions on concealed and open carry, the ruling could potentially lead to challenges to state law. Some organizations in Florida have already begun to gather resources to file formal challenges to the state’s open carry ban. This means that these groups are fighting for a lift to the ban among other changes to the law.
Regardless of changes to federal law, the state maintains regulations surrounding gun ownership and weapons offenses. Breaking the law surrounding gun possession has serious consequences. Possession of a firearm as a convicted felon, undocumented immigrant, or person with an active case against them for domestic violence is a felony. Additionally, improper exhibition of a firearm, discharge of a firearm in public, shooting a gun while under the influence, and using a firearm against law enforcement is also a felony.
Felony gun possession may result in fines and prison time depending on the severity of the crime and whether the crime resulted in death or injury. It is important to understand that criminal conviction may result in the loss of gun ownership rights.
Have You Been Accused of a Gun Crime?
If you are facing criminal charges for illegal possession or other gun crimes, The Hoffman Firm can help. Our firm has advocated for countless clients and protected their rights in court. Our firm can evaluate your case and determine the best strategy to defend you against weapons charges.
Contact The Hoffman Firm today for more information.