Gun laws in the United States vary from state to state and while some areas such as Washington, D.C., and New York severely restrict Second Amendment rights, Florida gun laws are characterized by more lenient right-to-carry laws.
Gun owners have nicknamed Florida the "Gunshine State," not only because of its geographical shape, but also because of the state’s limited gun control laws and the high volume of concealed weapon permits issued to gun owners.
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According to the Crime Prevention Research Center, Florida
has issued more concealed carry permits than any other state with more than 2.64 million gun owners receiving permits between Oct. 1, 1987, and May 31, 2014.
In December 2013, the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence
, in conjunction with the Brady Campaign, compiled a national analysis of gun laws that ranked Florida No. 26 out of 50 states, with 1 having the strongest gun control laws and 50 the weakest. These rankings were based upon the number of laws passed that strengthened gun control and included 30 different gun-related factors including gun sales, ammunition restrictions, and mental health regulations.
Several factors that contributed to Florida ranking as lenient on gun laws included the ability to transfer firearms between private parties without a background check; no permit requirements to purchase handguns, shotguns, or rifles; and no regulations on large capacity ammunition magazines. In addition, the number of firearms that can be purchased at one time in Florida is not limited and gun dealers do not have to obtain a state license.
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According to the NRA Institute for Legislative Action, gun owners in Florida
are prohibited from open carry. However, there are numerous exceptions to this rule.
Exceptions are provided for those engaged in safe target practice, whether it is in an indoor range or on their own property, during travel to and from target practice, and while camping and hunting. Exceptions to the open carry prohibition also provide for firearms at home or a personally owned business, for those in law enforcement, the military or in the capacity of a private guard.
Although considered a state that has lenient gun laws, Florida did pass legislation, Bill H 1355
, in 2013 that strengthened restrictions on individuals who have been identified as having mental health issues. The legislation serves to either restrict or remove firearms from individuals considered dangerous and provides that “a person who has been voluntarily admitted to a mental institution for treatment and has undergone an involuntary examination under the Baker Act may be prohibited from purchasing a firearm.”
Florida gun laws also restrict individuals with gun-related misdemeanors and drug abuse issues, as well as vagrants, juveniles, and those who have been issued a restraining order related to domestic violence.
This article does not constitute legal advice. Check the current gun laws of your state and destination before travel.
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