Illegal Purchase of a Firearm in Florida

In the last couple of years, Florida has experienced a horrifying number of mass shootings. In June 2016, 49 people were shot and killed at Orlando’s Pulse nightclub. Then, in February 2018, 17 children and adults were shot and killed at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland. After these tragic events, lawmakers in Florida made changes to laws surrounding the purchase of firearms. Three weeks after the Parkland school shooting, Gov. Rick Scott signed a bill to enforce the following regulations on firearms in Florida:

  • Legal age to purchase a firearm was raised from 18 to 21
  • Bump stocks that turned semi-automatic rifles into fully automatic weapons were banned
  • Law enforcement can deny a person considered dangerous due to mental health illness from owning a gun for up to a year

In addition to Florida laws, federal law also has ten categories of persons who are legally not allowed to purchase a firearm. The following describes individuals not allowed to purchase a firearm in Florida, and the laws surrounding legal firearm purchases.

Who is Not Legally Allowed to Purchase a Firearm in Florida?

Under Florida law, you must be a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident alien, and at least 21 years old to purchase a firearm. This age applies to everyone unless you’re an active service member, a member of law enforcement, or a correctional officer.

In Florida, you don’t need a license, nor do you need to register your gun. The only time that you do need a permit is to carry a concealed weapon. There’s no limit on the number of firearms that you can purchase in a single transaction, but there is a mandatory three-day waiting period before you receive your firearms after purchasing them. That is to ensure that the background check has enough time to process. If the background check takes longer, you must wait to pass it successfully before receiving your gun.

In Florida, you are not allowed to purchase a firearm if any of the following applies:

  • You’ve been convicted of a felony in Florida or any other state
  • You’ve been convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence
  • You’ve been found mentally defective or have been committed to a mental institution, either voluntarily or by a court admission
  • Your sentencing has been suspended on any misdemeanor or felony crime of domestic violence within the last three years

In addition to these restrictions, Florida law also dictates that if your background check pulls up any dangerous criminal arrests or injunctions against you for domestic violence or repeat violence, you will be disqualified from purchasing a firearm.

Who May Not Legally Purchase a Firearm under Federal Law?

Federal law defines ten categories of individuals who are not allowed to purchase or own firearms. These ten categories include any individual who:

  1. Has been convicted of a felony
  2. Has been convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence
  3. Is a fugitive from justice
  4. Is addicted or is an unlawful user of a controlled substance
  5. Is found mentally deficient or involuntarily committed to mental treatment
  6. Is an illegal alien
  7. Receives a dishonorable discharge from the U.S. Armed Forces
  8. Renounces his or her citizenship of the United States
  9. Is the subject of an active protection order (like an injunction for protection)
  10. Is under indictment or information or a felony crime

These categories can be found under Title 18, United States Code 922(g)(1)-(9). The same laws apply to every state before state and local law goes into effect.

Penalties for Illegally Purchasing a Firearm in Florida

Penalties for violating Florida’s firearm laws include hefty fines, jail time, forfeiture of weapons, and limitations to owning or purchasing a firearm in the future. The extent of these punishments depends on the situation. The most serious offense is a convicted felon purchasing a firearm – in which case the penalty can reach a maximum of 15 years in prison, 15 years of probation, and/or up to $10,000 in fines. A lesser offense would be allowing a minor to access a loaded firearm. You may face a penalty of up to 60 days in jail and up to $500 in fees for this offense.

Orlando Lawyers for Illegal Purchase of a Firearm in Florida

If you’re suspected of or have been charged with making an illegal purchase of a firearm in Florida, it’s imperative to contact a professional criminal defense attorney right away. The criminal defense lawyers at The Umansky Law Firm understand Florida’s intricate gun laws and the frustrations one feels after being charged with illegally purchasing a gun or firearm. Our philosophy is that everyone deserves a second chance, and we will prepare the best defense to help you move on with your life.

Contact us today to discuss your charges and learn how we can fight this case in your defense. Call us at (407) 228-3838 or fill out our form online for your free case evaluation.