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 or may be under 21 if the applicant is a member or veteran of the United States Armed Forces.
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. On December 7th, 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 2nd, 2011 Penalties may include fines, removal from public office, termination of employment and other punishments.
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;
- 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;
- 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;
- 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.
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.
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.
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, or while shooting, and while going to and from such activities.
Vehicle carry without a license is permitted.
- Handguns – must be either “securely encased” or not immediately available for use. “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. 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.
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.
Florida law makes no distinction between loaded and unloaded firearms.
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 to prevent the commission of a forcible felony”.
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.
Florida law permits private firearms transfers between residents without any processing through an FFL. Florida law also permits municipalities to elect to require a concealed carry license for a buyer to purchase a gun at a gun show from another private individual without any delay, but in practice, this applies only to a few of the largest municipalities (Miami, Orlando, etc.) where it has been invoked.
|Subject/Law||Long guns||Handguns||Relevant Statutes||Notes|
|State license to Purchase?||No||No||None|
|“Assault weapon” law?||No||No||None|
|Owner license required?||No||No||None|
|Carry licenses issued?||No||Yes||Chapter 790.06||Also allows concealed possession of handguns, electric weapons, tear gas, knife and/or billie. Concealed carry only; no open carry of firearms allowed, even with license, except when hunting ,fishing, camping, or while practice shooting and while travelling to and from those activities.|
|Open Carry?||No||No||Chapter 790.053||Open Carry ban statute is currently being challenged in Court |
|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|