Florida does not register guns

Florida has no gun registration. Nor does Florida have any gun licensing requirements.  This issue comes up in one of three ways; either someone has moved to Florida and brought guns with them, or they’ve moved to Florida and want to purchase a gun, or, someone has died in Florida and the family has found a gun in the house.
I talk about the situation where a family member finds a gun and takes it to the police here:

My father died, I went into his house, and he has a gun. Should I turn the gun over to the police?
But I want to talk about firearms purchases in Florida. Essentially, the major restrictions on gun purchases in Florida are Federal; Florida has few additional requirements for gun purchases.  The federal requirements are set out in ATF Form 4473: which is available here:

ATF 4473

Florida does, however, prohibit gun purchases by anyone who was either adjudicated delinquent or had adjudication withheld for a felony as a juvenile until that person reaches 24; and bars the purchase of firearms by anyone who had adjudication withheld for any felony or a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence and three years has not yet lapsed since the completion of sentencing provisions
If you are a Florida Resident, so long as you can truthfully answer the questions on the first page of ATF 4473, do not fall under the delinquency or adjudication withheld provisions discussed above, and are not disqualified by the answers to those questions, and have an acceptable form of ID, you can buy or own a gun in Florida; if you are over 18 you can own a rifle or a shotgun, if you are over 21 you can own a handgun, assuming that the gun itself is not restricted, such as a sawed off shotgun or a machine gun.  Florida does impose a 3 business day ‘cooling off period’ for purchases of handguns;  if you are buying a handgun from a licensed dealer, under most circumstances you will not be able to pick the gun up until the third business day (not counting Saturdays, Sundays and some Holidays) after the  purchase, not including the day of the purchase. There are exceptions to this for those individuals who have a Florida Concealed Weapons license; they are not subject to the waiting period.  Additionally, a few counties have a mandatory 5 day waiting period; Broward and Palm Beach are two of them.
If you are purchasing a firearm from a licensed dealer, you will have to undergo a telephone  background check by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement; they will check their records to verify that you are not prohibited from owning a gun; the cost of this check is $5 and is usually passed along to the buyer in addition to the cost of the gun itself. If, for some reason,  you are prohibited from owning a gun, please understand that this background check will almost certainly pick up on that, and you may be subject to criminal prosecution for attempting to buy a firearm.  Typically the FDLE will contact law enforcement directly and the next person you see will be a police officer coming to arrest you at the store.  If  you are, for instance, a convicted felon or have a domestic violence conviction or are subject to a restraining order, if you attempt to buy a gun you are very likely to go jail for this, and to go to jail very quickly.  Also, please understand that  you must be the actual purchaser of the firearm; you can’t buy a gun for someone else who is not able to buy a gun and turn the gun over to that person.  That is a criminal offense and a very serious one.
Understand; I am not encouraging or discouraging anyone from owning a gun in Florida; this is a very personal decision and I am not advocating that any particular person buy a firearm; this is entirely up to you.  But I do want to make the law clear on who can buy a firearm under what circumstances in Florida.

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7 Responses to Florida does not register guns

  1. admin says:

    I’ve gotten a few questions privately about firearms and Florida law.
    Briefly, the answers are:
    1) Florida does not regulate assault weapons or assault rifles beyond the extent that Federal law regulates those weapons. In other words, if the assault rifle is legal under Federal law, it is legal under Florida law.
    2) The age limit for purchasing an Assault Rifle in Florida is 18: they are considered “long guns” and can be transferred by a Federal Firearms Licensee (a “gun store”) to someone over the age of 18. If the firearm is a considered a “handgun” the age limit is 21.
    3)There are no restrictions in gun sales based on the day of the week; Saturday, Sunday, nearly all holidays; the only restrictions are if the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the agency that conducts Background checks for Firearms purchases in this state is closed; to the best of my knowledge, they are closed only on Thanksgiving and Christmas day.
    Now, if you are buying a handgun from a gun store in Florida and do not have a concealed weapons permit, under most circumstances you will have a waiting period of at least three business days before you can pick the gun up; but as far as the sale itself goes, you can choose the gun and pay your money any day of the week.

  2. Henry Hajduk says:

    I live in Michigan.

    My father, a widower, and a longtime Florida resident, has recently passed away.

    His home will need to be liquidated. He did not leave a quit claim deed, so his estate will have to be probated.

    Question: as a co-Power of Attorney, can I/we place the home on the market BEFORE a probate account has been set up ? Or should we wait until after ?

    Any suggestions ? All this is new to us.

    Both Powers of Attorney live out of state – Michigan, Connecticut.

    • admin says:

      Under Florida law, the power of attorney is no longer any good. Once someone dies,any powers of attorney are automatically revoked upon death.

      You probably need to get moving on the probate; you can contact a realtor before the probate is open, but most of them are going to insist on probate being open before they will accept a listing for the house.

  3. Debra Murphy says:

    I am a Fl. resident and previously held a concealed weapons permit. Even with the permit each time I attempted to purchase a weapon in Duval County I was advised that I had to register my weapon if I wanted to complete the purchase. Is this a county thing?

    • admin says:

      I’m not quite sure that they are actually ‘registering’ the gun. Florida law prohibits any governmental from registering guns, with a few limited exceptions such as lists of stolen guns. See FS 790.335 Prohibition of registration of firearms; electronic records. However, Florida DOES conduct a “Call in” background check of firearms buyers, even if they have a concealed weapons license; the dealer calls the FDLE, gives your name, date of birth, where you were born, and, if you provide it, your social security number, and whether you are buying a long gun or a handgun; the FDLE then checks and makes sure that you can legally own a gun; but the point is, once the FDLE approves you they do not keep any record of who bought what when; the records are destroyed. The other thing that you have to fill out is the ATF form 4473, what dealers call a “yellow sheet” (it’s white now but used to be yellow) asking certain questions, making sure that you can legally buy a firearm. However, that is normally kept by the dealer, in a file, on their premises. IF either BATF or local law enforcement asks, they have to produce it for inspection, such as if a gun is reported stolen or such; but they do not send copies routinely to local law enforcement; only if the dealer closes business, then they are to send the ATF forms to ATF for storage. IF Duval county is running some sort of ‘registration’ keeping a local database of all gun transactions, then I think the Florida chapter of the NRA would be very interested in that; the law is complicated but basically law enforcement is not supposed to keep these records beyond a certain period of time (30 or 60 days or so, depending on the exact record).

  4. kaliena says:

    My significant other sold me his guns (2 hand guns) years ago because he needed the money. He has since passed away and I was cleaning out a closet and found them. I would like to give them to my adult nephews but they live in other states, AZ and TX. I have gotten several opinions on the subject mainly that I cannot give to a non Fl resident and cannot send or transport out of state since I am not a dealer. I am really confused. Can you shed some light on this?

    • admin says:

      Really, the best way to handle this is for you to take the guns to an FFL licensee, meaning a gun dealer; and pay them to ship the guns to an FFL licensee in AZ and TX where your nephews can undergo background checks and pick them up. Odds are the FFLs will charge something for this; it’s usually not a lot of money, something like $20, $25 per gun plus shipping. But that’s the legal way of doing it; transferring them from one FFL license holder in your state to an FFL license holder in the state in which they live. They’ll have to check around to see who will accept them; but many, if not most, gun dealers will be willing to do this for a modest fee. See question 2 and answer here: https://www.atf.gov/file/61721/download

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