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:
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, provided you are over 21; if you are over 21 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, and at this point, a three day cooling off period for shotguns and rifles as well; if you are buying a gun 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.