Your Guide to Florida Gun Laws

Person holding pistol while at firearms counter

Florida gun laws cover a wide range of topics, including purchase, possession, and use of firearms. Owners and non-owners alike need to understand these laws. Our Tampa personal injury attorneys explain what you need to know about Florida gun laws.

What are the gun laws in Florida?

Florida’s gun laws are found in Florida Statutes Chapter 790¹. Specifically, Florida law 790.065² covers the sale and delivery of firearms. In addition, there are federal gun laws that apply in the State of Florida³. These gun laws cover the legality of purchasing, possessing, and transporting firearms in Florida.

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Do I need a permit to buy a gun in Florida?

No, you do not need a permit to buy a gun in Florida. However, there is a three-day waiting period, and there is a criminal background check required. While you do not need a permit to buy a gun in Florida, you still have to have a license to carry concealed⁴ in the state. Refer to Florida concealed carry laws⁵ for more details.

How much does a gun license cost in Florida?

Obtaining a Florida concealed weapon license involves a fee of $102 for both residents and non-residents of the state, according to USA Carry⁶. This amount includes a fingerprinting processing fee of $42 and the $60 initial license fee. If you need a duplicate copy or revised version of your license, there is a cost of $15.

Where can I get my gun license in Florida?

It’s crucial that you complete all the required steps in order to get a valid CCW license in Florida. There are options for your to apply and start the process, including:

  • Apply in person. If you’d like to apply for a concealed weapon license, you can do this in person at the regional office of a Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS). You may also locate an authorized tax collector’s office that will accept CCW license applications.
  • Apply by mail. CCW applicants may also downtown the application form online and submit it through the mail. However, you will still need to submit all required information and documents, including fingerprints at the police department or local sheriff’s office.

What is the CCW application process?

Applying for a concealed weapon license involves several steps:

  1. Make an appointment with the FDACS regional office or tax collector office (if you plan to apply in person).
  2. Complete the required CCW training course at a qualified facility.
  3. Make a copy of your signed CCW training certificate stating you are proficient with a firearm.
  4. Have your payment ready for the associated fees.
  5. Agree to have your photograph and fingerprints taken.
  6. Either apply in person or mail your application with the required documents.
  7. Wait for approval from the FDACS.

How long does it take to get a concealed carry permit in Florida?

The FDACS office has 90 days to review the license application and either approve or deny the applicant. You can check the status of your application online or get more information about processing delays by contacting FDACS.

How long is a Florida CCW Certificate good for?

Handguns on table with ammunition

In Florida, a concealed weapon or firearm license will stay valid for seven years. The FDACS will send you a renewal form about three months before your license expires so you may renew your license without losing the ability to carry a concealed firearm.

However, if you miss the window to renew your license before your current one expires, you may still renew it up to six months after the expiration date without having to apply for a new one. There is a $15 fee for renewing your CCW license after expiration. However, after six months, you must apply for a new license and pay the full application and processing fees.

Can you drink alcohol while carrying a concealed weapon in Florida?

It is illegal in Florida to consume alcohol while carrying a concealed weapon. Florida law 790.151⁷ makes it against the law to drink or be under the influence of alcohol while carrying a firearm. The law explains that you may not have a firearm readily accessible for immediate discharge will under the influence of:

  • Alcohol
  • Chemical substances
  • Other controlled substances

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What’s the difference between open carry and concealed carry?

Open carry means that a person is carrying a firearm on their person that is visible to others while concealed carry is possessing a firearm that is hidden. For example, a person is open carrying when they have a handgun in a holster around their waist so other people can see it in public.

Conversely, a person is practicing concealed carry if they have a pistol in their purse, backpack, or ankle holster under their pants. You must have a CCW license to conceal carry a weapon in Florida.

Is it legal to open carry in Florida?

Although your state may be one of the open carry states in the U.S., Florida is not a constitutional carry state. It is among a minority of states that prohibits open carry, except for at the following places and activities:

  • Hunting
  • Fishing
  • Camping
  • Target practice including live-fire sessions during training

In addition to these places, it is legal to have a gun while traveling to and from these activities. However, other than these protected locations and activities, it is not permitted to open carry in the State of Florida.

Florida Statute 790.053 states “Except as otherwise provided by law and in subsection, it is unlawful for any person to openly carry on or about his or her person any firearm or electric weapon or device.”

Additional exceptions for open carry in the state can be found in Florida Law 790.25, which highlights the lawful ownership, possession, and use of firearms and other weapons related to open carry in the state of Florida.

Do I need a Florida concealed carry permit to carry a gun in the state?

Handgun on table

It’s possible to carry a concealed weapon in Florida even if your CCW license was issued by another state. Florida is a state that participates in concealed weapon license reciprocity. According to Florida Statute 790.015⁸, the state will recognize concealed weapon licenses that were issued by other states that also recognize Florida CCW license is return.

Check with your state’s Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to see if your state has reached a reciprocity agreement with Florida before you carry a concealed weapon there.

Can a convicted felon get a gun in Florida?

No, a convicted felon cannot get a gun in Florida. United States law prohibits anyone convicted of a felony from purchasing or possessing a firearm. This federal law applies in Florida.

Also, a person who is under indictment for a felony or charged with a crime that would be disqualifying if convicted is prohibited from getting a gun.

Can a felon’s spouse own a gun in Florida?

No, a felon’s spouse cannot own a gun in Florida.

Under Florida Statute Section 790.23, a prosecutor can attempt to prove that you possessed a firearm, ammunition, or an electronic device or weapon through actual possession or constructive possession.

Actual possession occurs when the defendant has the physical object (in this case, a firearm) in their hand. In contrast, constructive possession refers to a situation in which the defendant is aware of an item and has the power and the intention to exercise dominion and control over it. Constructive possession can be established if a person can exercise control over the item but has yet to do so.

How old do you have to be to buy a gun in Florida?

In March 2018, Governor Rick Scott of Florida signed a piece of legislation⁹ that raised the legal age to purchase any firearm in the state to 21 years of age. Prior to this law, it was only illegal for people under 21 to buy a handgun. The new legislation meant other firearms were included in these restrictions, such as AR-15s and other long guns. Scott has since joined other Florida senators and lawmakers who fight for gun control.

However, there are some exceptions to this law. If a person is a member of law enforcement, a service member, or a correctional officer, they may be able to purchase a rifle or shotgun if they are at least 18 years old.

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Who is prohibited from owning a gun in Florida?

A person is prohibited from owning a gun in Florida if they are:

  • A convicted felon
  • Addicted to or unlawfully using a controlled substance
  • Running from the law
  • Mentally ill or under involuntary mental health treatment
  • Present in the United States illegally
  • Dishonorably discharged from the US Armed Forces
  • No longer a citizen (renounced citizen status)
  • Under a restraining or protective order
  • Convicted of domestic violence (misdemeanor or felony); received a deferred conviction for domestic violence in the past three years
  • A minor under age 24 who is delinquent for a crime that would be a felony if they were an adult
  • Currently charged with a felony or domestic violence

Can a non-resident buy a gun in Florida?

As long as an individual is at least 21 years old and a United States citizen, legal permanent resident, or nonresident alien, they are able to purchase a gun in Florida. However, you must present the required documentation.

For legal permanent residents of Florida, it is mandatory to provide a valid alien registration number. Nonresident aliens who are visiting Florida will need a border crossing number, or I-94, and an exception document.

Also, if you fall into a prohibited category, you will not be able to purchase a firearm in the state of Florida. Refer to the list above to see who is disqualified from buying and owning a gun.

Can cities regulate guns in Florida?

No. Besides regulating zoning and the places where gun sellers can establish their business, cities cannot regulate guns in Florida. Whether you live in Tampa, Miami, or any other city in Florida, the State legislature has full authority to regulate gun ownership and possession. They allow local government units to control zoning for gun shops in limited circumstances, but gun ownership laws are statewide through the Florida legislature.

Do you have to tell a cop that you have a gun in your car in Florida?

No, you do not have to tell a cop that you have a gun in your car¹º in Florida. State law in Florida does not require you to inform the police about a gun at a traffic stop unless the police officer asks you directly if you have one. If the officer asks you if you have a weapon on you, you must disclose it. Be sure to tell the officer about the gun before you reach for it.

How many guns can you buy at one time in Florida?

There is currently no limit to the number of firearms you can purchase in a single transaction in Florida, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) website. However, all background checks and required qualification must be met in order to complete the transaction.

How do you buy a gun in Florida?

When buying a firearm from a licensed dealer in Florida, they must follow the legal process to complete the transaction. How to buy a gun in Florida includes these steps:

  1. Buyer fills out the ATF Form 4473, which is provided by the firearms dealer.
  2. Buyer must have a valid government-issued photo ID and provide it to the dealer.
  3. Your identifying information is submitted to the FDLE’s Firearm Purchase Program for verification.
  4. A trained analyst will review your identification details and ensure you are eligible to purchase a firearm under Florida and federal law requirements.
  5. The analyst provides the dealer with a transaction number and outcome of the review, which could be an approval, non-approval, or pending decision.
  6. If you are approved, you may purchase a firearm from the dealer.

For any firearms purchase in Florida, there is a mandatory three-day waiting period between the purchase of the gun and the delivery of the firearm.

Can you buy guns online in Florida?

You are able to purchase a firearm online in Florida. However, you must be able to pick it up from the store or another Federal Firearms License (FFL) dealer. You can browse through options and complete the transaction online, but the firearm cannot be legally shipped to you. Also, you are also still subject to the complete background check process.

What types of guns are illegal to own in Florida?

While it is legal to purchase and own guns in Florida, there are certain firearms that are still illegal to have. According to Florida law 790.221¹¹, people in Florida are prohibited from owning or possessing:

  • Short-barreled rifles (barrel is less than 16 inches in length)
  • Weapons made using a modified rifle
  • Short-barreled shotguns (barrel is less than 18 inches)
  • Weapons made using a modified shotgun (barrel is less than 26 inches)
  • Operable machine guns (fully automatic firearms)

People found in violation of this law may be charged with a second-degree felony. In order to avoid this, make sure you’re purchasing your gun from a licensed firearms dealer.

Are hollow-point bullets illegal in Florida?

Hollow-point ammunition is not regulated in Florida. However, they may be illegal in other states. If you’re planning to travel to another state with your firearm, check that state’s laws on guns and ammunition to ensure you do not break the law.

What kind of ammunition is illegal in Florida?

While hollow-point bullets are legal in Florida, there are other types of ammunition that are considered illegal for use according to Florida Statute §790.31¹².

  • Armor-piercing ammunition
  • Exploding ammunition
  • Dragon’s breath shotgun shells
  • Bolo shells
  • Flechette shells

It is a third-degree felony to manufacture, sell, deliver, or offer any of these prohibited types of ammunition for sale. Even having these loaded in a firearm can mean a felony of the third degree. However, it is not illegal to simply possess these ammunition types in Florida.

What are BB gun laws in Florida?

Florida law 790.22¹³ prohibits individuals under the age of 16 from using a BB gun unless they are under the supervision of an adult with their parent’s consent. A parent who knowingly allows their minor child to use a BB gun in violation of the law commits a second-degree misdemeanor.

For adults lawfully possessing BB guns, legally, you must keep the orange tip on the gun while you purchase it or transfer it. Florida law prohibits the open carry and display of weapons, so you shouldn’t be displaying your BB gun in public whether or not it has an orange tip.

What is the Stand Your Ground Florida gun Law?

The “Stand Your Ground” law authorizes the use of a firearm, and even deadly force, while inside and protecting your dwelling, residence, or vehicle. Florida statutes 776.012¹³ and 776.013¹⁴ outline that a person does not have a duty to retreat if they believe that necessary force is the only way to prevent death or significant bodily harm to oneself or another.

To summarize, if a person is inside their home, residence, or vehicle and believes a person is going to commit a felony that will result in their death or great bodily harm, they are justified in using deadly force to prevent that.

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What are my rights if I’m hurt by a gun in Tampa?

If a firearm in Tampa injures you, you may have a right to claim financial compensation. Gunshot accidents can happen in the blink of an eye. Wounds may cause serious, life-changing injuries in a matter of seconds. When individuals violate Florida gun laws or otherwise act negligently, harm may result to individuals.  Examples of negligence with firearms may include:

  • Reckless discharge
  • Not knowing how to store and handle a gun safely
  • Improper handling and maintenance
  • Poor manufacturing and manufacturing errors
  • Minors left unsupervised
  • Possession in violation of law

As a victim, you may qualify to claim compensation by bringing a civil action. However, you must take action to assert your rights. Compensation may include financial damages and pain and suffering. A claim may be based on assault, battery, or both offenses.

Also, if a loved one dies because of gun-related negligence, you may be able to bring a wrongful death claim. Speak to one of our Tampa wrongful death attorneys for examples of wrongful death cases due to guns and what options you have to seek justice.

Attorneys for gun injuries in Florida

If you’re the victim of an injury with a gun in Tampa, we invite you to contact our attorneys for gun injuries to discuss your rights. We can explain Tampa’s gun laws, including the Stand Your Ground law Florida enforces, and what you can do to get justice.

Let our legal team investigate your case and explore your legal options. There are deadlines to pursuing a claim, so don’t wait to contact us. Call or message us today for your free and confidential consultation.

Legal References:

¹FLA. STAT. § 790 (2021)

²FLA. STAT. § 790.065 (2021)

³Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE). Requirements to Purchase a Firearm. Retrieved 27 June 2022.

⁴Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS). Consumer Resources. Concealed Weapon License. Retrieved 27 June 2022.

⁵Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Consumer Resources. Possession Restrictions. Retrieved 27 June 2022.

⁶USA Carry. (14 April 2022). Florida Concealed CarryRetrieved 27 June 2022.

FLA. STAT. § 790.151 (2021)

FLA. STAT. § 790.015 (2021)

⁹Cillizza, C. (7 June 2022). Rick Scott signed a law raising the age to buy a gun in Florida. Now he opposes doing that at the federal level. CNN. Retrieved 27 June 2022.

¹ºMontiero, S. (3 May 2018). Do you have to tell law enforcement you are armed during a traffic stop? Retrieved 27 June 2022.

¹¹FLA. STAT. § 790.221 (2021)

¹²FLA. STAT. § 790.31 (2021)

¹³FLA. STAT. § 790.012 (2021)

¹⁴FLA. STAT. § 790.013 (2021)