After the 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida passed a package of gun safety bills that raised its score from an F to a C- on our Annual Gun Law Scorecard. The laws include raising the minimum age to purchase firearms to 21, requiring a three-day waiting period on purchases from dealers, and creating an extreme risk protection order law. In 2017, Florida had the 28th-highest gun death rate in the country and the 35th-highest rate of crime gun exports. To save lives from gun violence, Florida legislators could require a background check on all firearm sales, expand domestic violence firearm prohibitions to include dating partners, and direct funding to evidence-based, community-driven violence intervention strategies in underserved communities.
State Law Background
Among other things, Florida:
- Allows law enforcement to petition for extreme-risk protection orders;
- Requires at least a three-day waiting period prior to the purchase of firearms at retail;
- Restricts gun purchases by minors under 21;
- Imposes liability upon persons who fail to secure their firearms to make them inaccessible to children; and
- Prohibits the transfer or possession of certain types of ammunition.
Florida does not, however:
- Require a background check prior to the transfer of a firearm between private parties (although counties may impose such a requirement);
- Require firearms dealers to obtain a state license;
- License firearm owners;
- Require the registration of firearms;
- Regulate assault weapons, 50 caliber rifles, or large capacity ammunition magazines;
- Limit the number of firearms that may be purchased at one time; or
- Regulate unsafe handguns (“junk guns” or “Saturday night specials”).
Local governments in Florida generally lack authority to regulate firearms or ammunition, and the state requires the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to issue a license to carry a concealed weapon to any applicant who meets certain basic qualifications.