Gun laws in Florida

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Location of Florida in the United States

Gun laws in Florida regulate the sale, possession, and use of firearms and ammunition in the state of Florida in the United States.

Florida is a "shall issue" state, and issues concealed carry licenses to both residents and non-residents. Florida recognizes licenses from any other state which recognizes Florida's license, provided the non-resident individual is a resident of the other state and is at least 21 years old[1] or may be under 21 if the applicant is a member or veteran of the United States Armed Forces.[2]

Florida is considered "accommodating" to guns, by national standards. There are 56 laws relating to owning, transporting, and using guns. Convicted felons have few rights to gun possession.[3]

Overview[edit]

Subject/Law Long guns Handguns Relevant Statutes Notes
State license to Purchase? No No None
Firearm registration? No No Chapter 790.335 It is a felony under Florida law to create, maintain or publish any list, record or registry of legally owned firearms or law-abiding firearm owners.
"Assault weapon" law? No No None
Magazine Capacity Restriction? No No None
Owner license required? No No None
Concealed Carry licenses issued? No Yes Chapter 790.06 Allows concealed possession of handguns, electronic weapons or devices, tear gas guns, knives, or billies, but not long guns or machine guns per Chapter 790.06(1). Concealed carry only; no open carry of firearms allowed, even with license, except when hunting, fishing, camping, or while practice shooting and while traveling to and from those activities.
Open Carry? No No Chapter 790.053, Open carry of firearms is generally banned except open or concealed carry is allowed for without a license under 790.25 for certain protected places and activities. Exceptions include in the home, place of work, hunting, fishing, camping, gun shows, or while practice shooting and while traveling to and from those activities.
State Preemption of local restrictions? Yes Yes Chapter 790.33
NFA weapons restricted? No No None
Peaceable Journey laws? No No None Federal rules observed.
Duty to inform? No No None Florida law does not require one to disclose their possession of a firearm on contact with Law Enforcement.

Preemption[edit]

Florida law prohibits localities from regulating firearms, other than with regards to zoning laws (i.e., for restricting where gun sellers may locate their businesses). The Florida Legislature has since 1987 occupied the whole field of regulation of firearms and ammunition, including the purchase, sale, transfer, taxation, manufacture, ownership, possession, and transportation. Due to a lack of penalties associated with violating the preemption statute, it was almost universally ignored by city and county authorities until, on December 7, 2010, Representative Matt Gaetz introduced a bill to the Florida Legislature adding penalties for violating the existing preemption statute. It was signed into law by Governor Rick Scott on June 2, 2011.[4] Penalties may include fines, removal from public office, termination of employment and other punishments.[5]

Concealed carry[edit]

Firearms regulations are uniform throughout Florida, and a carry license is valid everywhere other than in a few specially-defined areas. These specially-defined prohibited areas include:

  •  Any place of nuisance as defined in s. 823.05[6]
  •  Any police, sheriff, or highway patrol station;
  •  Any detention facility, prison, or jail;
  •  Any courthouse;
  •  Any courtroom, except that nothing in this section would preclude a judge from carrying a concealed weapon or determining who will carry a concealed weapon in his or her courtroom;
  •  Any polling place;
  •  Any meeting of the governing body of a county, public school district, municipality, or special district;
  •  Any meeting of the Legislature or a committee thereof;
  •  Any school, college, or professional athletic event not related to firearms;
  •  Any elementary or secondary school facility or administration building;
  •  Any career center; (Commonly referred to as "Technical Schools")
  •  Any portion of an establishment licensed to dispense alcoholic beverages for consumption on the premises, which portion of the establishment is primarily devoted to such purpose;
  •  Any college or university facility unless the licensee is a registered student, employee, or faculty member of such college or university and the weapon is a stun gun or nonlethal electric weapon or device designed solely for defensive purposes and the weapon does not fire a dart or projectile; (With an exception for students, faculty and visitors keeping firearms stored in their cars.) [7]
  •  The inside of the passenger terminal and sterile area of any airport, provided that no person shall be prohibited from carrying any legal firearm into the terminal, which firearm is encased for shipment for purposes of checking such firearm as baggage to be lawfully transported on any aircraft; or
  •  Any place where the carrying of firearms is prohibited by federal law.[8]
  •  In Seaports[9] – The seaport must provide clear notice of the prohibition against possession of concealed weapons and other contraband material on the premises of the seaport. Any person in a restricted area who has in his or her possession a concealed weapon, or who operates or has possession or control of a vehicle in or upon which a concealed weapon is placed or stored, commits a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.
  •  In the Savannas Preserve State Park[10] – It is unlawful for any person, except a law enforcement or conservation officer, to have in his or her possession any firearm while within the Savannas except when in compliance with regulations established by the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission applying to lands within the described boundaries.

Anyone lawfully carrying a firearm in a concealed manner, may briefly and openly display the firearm to the ordinary sight of another person, unless the firearm is intentionally displayed in an angry or threatening manner, not in necessary self-defense.[11]

Currently, Florida's Concealed Weapon License is one of the most widely-recognized, state-issued concealed weapon license. The resident Florida Concealed Weapon License is recognized in thirty-five different states, while the non-resident Florida Concealed Weapon License is recognized in thirty states.[12]

Open carry[edit]

Open carry when on foot in a public area is generally illegal, but is permitted in certain circumstances, as defined by Florida statute 790.25(3). For example, open carry is permitted while hunting, fishing, camping, gun shows, or while shooting, and while going to and from such activities.[13] The open carry ban statute is currently being challenged in Court[14]

Vehicle carry[edit]

Vehicle carry without a license is permitted.

  • Handguns – must be either "securely encased" or not immediately available for use.[15] "Securely encased" means in a glove compartment, whether or not locked; snapped in a holster; in a gun case, whether or not locked; in a zippered gun case; or in a closed box or container which requires a lid or cover to be opened for access.[16] Carry of a Handgun on one's person inside a vehicle without a license is not permitted (except in the case of open carry in accordance with the law outlined above). Once a handgun is securely encased, it can be stored anywhere inside the vehicle and is not limited to just the glove compartment/center console.
  • Long Guns – a legal firearm other than a handgun may be anywhere in a private conveyance when such firearm is being carried for a lawful use.[17]

As of July 1, 2008, Florida became a "Take your gun to work" state (F.S. 790.251). This law prohibits most businesses from firing any employee with a Concealed Weapon License for keeping a legal firearm locked in their vehicle in the company parking lot. The purpose of the new law is to allow carry licensees to exercise their Second Amendment rights during their commutes to and from work. Exceptions listed in F.S. 790.251(7) include:

  • school property;
  • correctional institutions;
  • property where a nuclear-powered electricity generation facility is located;
  • property upon which substantial activities involving national defense, aerospace, or homeland security are conducted;
  • property upon which the primary business conducted is the manufacture, use, storage, or transportation of combustible or explosive materials;
  • a motor vehicle owned/leased/rented by your employer;
  • any other property upon which possession of a firearm is prohibited pursuant to any federal law, contract with a federal government entity, or general law of Florida.

A case was filed against Walt Disney World Resort by Edwin Sotomayor, a former Disney security guard who was fired, despite having a CWL, for having a firearm locked in his car on July 1, in violation of Disney's pre-existing no weapons allowed policy. The case was later dropped by the plaintiff citing personal and financial reasons. Disney claims that they are exempt from the new state law, on the basis of their having a fireworks license for conducting nightly fireworks shows at Disney World.[18][19]

Florida law makes no distinction between loaded and unloaded firearms except in determination of the firearm's availability immediate for use.

Castle doctrine[edit]

As of October 1, 2005, Florida became a "Stand-your-ground" state. Florida law establishes that law-abiding residents and visitors may legally presume the threat of bodily harm or death from anyone who breaks into a residence or occupied vehicle and may use defensive force, including deadly force, against the intruder. This law also applies in any other place where a person “has a right to be”. That person has “no duty to retreat” if attacked and may “meet force with force, including deadly force if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony".[20]

A person who uses force within the parameters of the law is immune from criminal prosecution or civil action and cannot be arrested unless a law enforcement agency determines there is probable cause that the force used was unlawful. If a civil action is brought and the court finds the defendant to be immune under the law, the defendant will be awarded all costs of defense.

Firearm sales[edit]

Florida law permits private firearms transfers between residents without processing through a Federal Firearms Licensee (FFL).

The Florida Constitution, Art VIII Sec. 5(b), permits counties to enact ordinances that require a criminal history records check and a 3 to 5-day waiting period when any part of a firearm sale is conducted on property to which the public has the "right of access",[21] such as at a gun show conducted on public property. These local option ordinances may not be applied to holders of a concealed weapons permit/license.[22] Only Broward, Palm Beach, Volusia and Miami-Dade counties have enacted such ordinances.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Florida Statutes, Chapter 790: Weapons and Firearms
  2. ^ Florida Statute 790.062 Members and veterans of United States Armed Forces; exceptions from licensure provisions
  3. ^ "Owners face dovetailed laws, rights". Florida Today (Melbourne, Florida). February 3, 2013. pp. 1A. 
  4. ^ http://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Bills/billsdetail.aspx?BillId=44848&
  5. ^ http://www.flsenate.gov/Laws/Statutes/2013/790.33
  6. ^ http://www.flsenate.gov/Laws/Statutes/2013/823.05
  7. ^ http://opinions.1dca.org/written/opinions2013/12-10-2013/12-2174.pdf
  8. ^ http://www.flsenate.gov/Laws/Statutes/2013/790.06
  9. ^ http://www.flsenate.gov/Laws/Statutes/2013/311.12
  10. ^ http://www.flsenate.gov/Laws/Statutes/2013/258.157
  11. ^ http://www.flsenate.gov/Laws/Statutes/2013/790.053
  12. ^ Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services – Division of Licensing
  13. ^ Section 790.25 Florida Statutes
  14. ^ Dale Lee Norman v. State of Florida
  15. ^ [1] Florida Statutes, Chapter 790.25(5): Weapons and Firearms]
  16. ^ [2] Florida Statutes, Chapter 790.001(17): Weapons and Firearms]
  17. ^ [3] "Nothing herein contained prohibits the carrying of a legal firearm other than a handgun anywhere in a private conveyance when such firearm is being carried for a lawful use." Source: Florida Statutes, Chapter 790.25(5)]
  18. ^ "Walt Disney World Fires Back on Guns at Work", Orlando Sentinel, July 3, 2008
  19. ^ "After Protesting Gun Rule, Disney Guard is Fired", Orlando Sentinel, July 8, 2008
  20. ^ http://www.flsenate.gov/Laws/Statutes/2013/776.012
  21. ^ Open letter to federal firearms licensees from ATF Miami Field Division, November 28, 2011. Retrieved January 1, 2014 via archive.org.
  22. ^ http://flsenate.gov/Laws/Constitution