Who is and is Not Allowed to Possess a Firearm in Florida?

  • Jun 15 2018

Recent school shootings have raised many questions about firearm possession in Florida, especially given the enactment of some tough new gun control measures. While it is legal to own and carry a firearm, it is not as simple as that in Florida, and it is important to understand what laws apply to gun ownership in Florida and the consequences of breaking those laws.

Who Has the Right to Own a Gun in Florida?

Most people know that the right to bear arms is protected under the Second Amendment to the federal constitution. Florida has also enshrined this right in its state constitution, which says “the right of the people to keep and bear arms in their own defense shall not be infringed, except that the manner may be regulated.” Thus, under Florida’s constitution, the state has the ability to regulate who can and cannot have a firearm.

Florida’s legislature has restricted gun ownership in several ways, and consequently there are certain types of individuals who are not able to own certain types of firearms. This includes individuals under the age of 21 (though this restriction is currently being challenged in court); anyone who has been convicted of a felony (unless their civil rights are restored; anyone who is under a domestic violence court restraining order; anyone who has been committed to a drug abuse treatment facility or convicted of certain related crimes within the past three years; those who are habitual drug and alcohol abusers; and anyone who has been committed to a mental institution during the last three years.

Who Can Concealed Carry in Florida?

Florida’s concealed carry law applies to handguns, electronic weapons or devices (like tasers) tear gas guns, knives, and billie clubs. Concealed carry permits are only issued to individuals who are at least 21 years old, are U.S. citizens or permanent resident aliens, and are eligible to own a gun under both state and federal law.

What Do the New Gun Restrictions in Florida Mean for Firearm Owners?

Florida’s legislature recently passed legislation placing new restrictions on gun possession, in response to the tragic recent mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. The law has increased the minimum age for all gun purchases from 18 to 21; implemented a minimum three-day waiting period to purchase a gun to allow for time to process a background check; and has banned bump stocks, which enable semi-automatic rifles to fire more rapidly.

What are the Penalties for Violating Florida’s Gun Laws?

Florida does not treat violations of its gun possession laws lightly. If you violate a Florida gun possession law, you are facing stiff penalties, including mandatory minimum sentences, significant jail time, and fines. It can also lead to the loss of your rights as a citizen and gun owner.

What Do I Do if I Am Charged With Violating a Florida Gun Law?

Because of the stiff penalties associated with weapons violations, they are serious matters. If you are facing a weapons charge involving a firearm, you need a lawyer. The attorneys at Valiente, Carollo and McElligott PLLC have experience defending individuals against weapons charges in the courtroom and are ready to use their knowledge of Florida’s gun laws to defend you to the fullest extent. Contact Valiente, Carollo and McElligott PLLC today to discuss your options.

Posted in: Gun Laws