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]

Summary table[edit]

Subject/Law Long guns Handguns Relevant Statutes Notes
State permit required to purchase? No No None Must be 21 to purchase any firearm except for police.
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.
Owner license required? No No None
Assault weapon law? No No None
Magazine Capacity Restriction? No No None
Permit required for concealed carry? N/A 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).
Open carry allowed? 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, 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 Chapter 790.161 Making, possessing, throwing, projecting, or discharging any destructive device, or any attempt to do so is a felony in Florida.
Peaceable Journey laws? No No None Federal rules observed.
Duty to inform? No No None Florida law does not require one to disclose one's possession of a firearm on contact with Law Enforcement.
Background checks required for private sales? No No None
Red flag law? Yes Yes SB 7026 The police can get judicial approval to confiscate, for up to a year, the firearms of a person deemed a danger to themselves or others.
Waiting period? Yes Yes The state requires a three-day waiting period between purchasing and taking possession of a firearm. Individual counties can require a waiting period of up to five days.


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) and as provided for in the Florida Constitution in regards to regulating sales by non-licensed sellers in public forums [3]. 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 prohibited places include any police station, prison, courthouse, polling place, government meeting place, airport, seaport, or tavern.[6] Concealed carry is also prohibited in any school, except for authorized security personnel or armed marshals.[7][8]

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.[9]

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.[10]

"Concealed firearm" is defined in F.S.S.790.001(2) as "any firearm, as defined in subsection (6), which is carried on or about a person in such a manner as to conceal the firearm from the ordinary sight of another person."[11]

Unlicensed concealed carry is allowed during a mandatory evacuation as a result of a state of emergency.[12]

As of 2018, some school employees may choose to receive special training in order to carry a firearm at school.[13]

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 target shooting at a gun range, and while going to and from such activities.[14] The open carry ban statute was challenged in court[15] but the ban was upheld.[16]

Vehicle carry[edit]

Vehicle carry without a license when the weapon is not immediately accessible/available for use is permitted.

Handguns must be either "securely encased" -F.S.S.790.25(3)(l) Some cite this as a grey area or risky- or not immediately available for use.[17] "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.[18] 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 may be anywhere in a private conveyance when such firearm is being carried for a lawful use.[19]

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 for keeping a legal firearm locked in his or her vehicle in the company parking lot. The purpose of the new law is to allow citizens 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, nuclear power plants, national defense facilities, facilities for explosives or combustible materials, or a motor vehicle owned, rented, or leased by a person's employer.

A case was filed against Walt Disney World Resort by 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.[20][21]

Castle doctrine and "stand your ground"[edit]

"Castle doctrine" refers to the generally accepted common-law principle that one is not required to retreat when in one's own dwelling. Eliminating the requirement to retreat outside the home (i.e. in public) is generally referred to as a "stand your ground" law. As of October 1, 2005, Florida became a "No Duty to Retreat" (i.e. Stand Your Ground) state. Florida Castle Doctrine 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. With the passage of Florida's Stand Your Ground law, this principle now also applies in any other place where a person "has a right to be." Essentially, 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". Note that all of the generally accepted common-law principles of self-defense must still be followed.[22]

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]

Buyers must be at least 21 years old to purchase any firearm in Florida.[23] There is a waiting period of the longer of 3 business days or until background checks clear unless the purchaser has a concealed carry permit, is trading in a different firearm, the purchase is for a rifle or shotgun and the purchaser has completed a 16 hour hunter safety class in addition to holding a hunter safety certification card, or the purchaser is law enforcement or military. [24]

As state law on waiting periods and background checks do not apply to sales by non-licensed sellers, 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 for non-licensed sellers when any part of a firearm sale is conducted on property to which the public has the "right of access",[25] such as at a gun show conducted on public property. These local option ordinances may not be applied to holders of a concealed weapons license.[26] Only Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach, Hillsborough, and Volusia counties had enacted such ordinances. [27]


Other laws[edit]

Under Florida's red flag law, the police can get judicial approval to confiscate, for up to a year, the firearms of a person deemed a danger to themselves or others.[13][28]

The possession of a bump stock is illegal. This is a gun stock that can be used to increase the rate of fire of a semi-automatic rifle.[29][28]

See also[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. ^ "Florida Constitution Article VIII Section 5".
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^ "Other Location Restrictions in Florida". Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. November 16, 2017. Retrieved March 11, 2018.
  7. ^ "Guns in Schools in Florida". Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. November 16, 2017. Retrieved March 11, 2018.
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^ Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services – Division of Licensing
  11. ^ "Florida Statutes, Title XLVI, Chapter 790". Florida Legislature. 2017. Retrieved March 11, 2018.
  12. ^ "Statutes & Constitution: View Statutes: Online Sunshine". Retrieved 2016-11-23.
  13. ^ a b Astor, Maggie (March 8, 2018). "Florida Gun Bill: What's In It, and What Isn't". The New York Times. Retrieved March 9, 2018.
  14. ^ Section 790.25 Florida Statutes
  15. ^ Dale Lee Norman v. State of Florida
  16. ^ "U.S. Supreme Court Rejects Assault Rifle, Open-Carry Appeals". 2017-11-27. Retrieved 2017-11-28.
  17. ^ [1] Florida Statutes, Chapter 790.25(5): Weapons and Firearms
  18. ^ [2] Florida Statutes, Chapter 790.001(17): Weapons and Firearms]
  19. ^ [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)]
  20. ^ Powers, Scott; Garcia, Jason (3 July 2008). "Walt Disney World fires back on guns at work". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved 12 February 2018.
  21. ^ Powers, Scott (8 July 2008). "After protesting gun rule, Disney guard is fired". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved 12 February 2018.
  22. ^
  23. ^ "Florida Statute 790.065".
  24. ^ "Florida Statute 790.0655".
  25. ^ Open letter to federal firearms licensees from ATF Miami Field Division, November 28, 2011. Retrieved January 1, 2014 via
  26. ^ "Florida Statute 790.0655".
  27. ^ "Florida Constitution, Article VIII Section 5".
  28. ^ a b Scherer, Michael (March 7, 2018). "Florida Legislature Backs New Gun Restrictions After Parkland School Shooting". The Washington Post. Retrieved March 16, 2018.
  29. ^ Dearen, Jason; Lush, Tamara; et al. (March 10, 2018). "Florida Governor Signs Gun Restrictions 3 Weeks After Attack". Tampa Bay Times. Associated Press. Retrieved March 11, 2018.CS1 maint: Explicit use of et al. (link) CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)