Firearm laws in Florida operate at a state level and are considered as being accommodating in comparison to other states in the country. Florida is considered a “shall issue” state, meaning that both residents and non-residents can be issued a concealed carry license.
Open Carry Laws
Florida is one of five states that does not allow open carry of firearms within its jurisdiction. Anyone who openly carries a firearm is considered a crime, no matter if they have a permit or not.
However, there are some exceptions to this rule. For example, a person is permitted to openly carry a firearm when he/she is inside their homes or places of business. Additionally, if you are hunting, fishing, camping, or attending a shooting practice, then you are exempt from the open carry law. Those who work in the firearm industry (manufacturing or repairing), law enforcement, and in the military are exempt from the law while employed.
Concealed Carry Laws
A handgun must be concealed in order to lawfully carry it in public. Concealed carriers must obtain a license from Florida’s Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. The license is only valid for five years, which means another license must be completed in order to continue carrying lawfully.
The following criteria must be met in order to obtain a concealed carry license in Florida:
- Citizen of the United States
- 21 years of age or older
- No felony convictions on criminal record
- No violent or drug crime conviction in the past three years
- No conviction of public drunkenness
- Not found guilty of domestic violence
- Not currently under a protective order for acts of violence
- No mental handicap which would prevent safe handling of firearms
Do You Need a Permit to Purchase or Possess a Handgun?
In Florida, a person does not need a permit to purchase or possess a handgun. The only permit required by the state is the concealed carry license. Individuals can purchase handguns, rifles, and shotguns without any licensing or registration. The state requires a three-day waiting period before a person can purchase a firearm.
However, there are a few exceptions to these laws. For instance, convicted felons, drug addicts, alcoholics, and the mentally ill are not allowed to use, possess, or own a firearm. A person cannot sell a firearm to a minor without first obtaining permission from their parents. A minor who is under 17 years old is not permitted to possess a firearm, unless it is unloaded and in their place of residence.
Stand Your Ground Law
Florida has a “Stand Your Ground” and “Castle Doctrine” law. The former was enacted in October 2005, making Florida a “No Duty to Retreat” state. This means that if an individual is in a place “where they have the right to be” and they consider themselves at risk of bodily harm or death, they can protect themselves by using deadly force. This law applies to both residents and non-residents.