Compared to other states, Florida’s firearm laws are fairly generous. Florida residents are not required to have a permit to purchase handguns, rifles or shotguns, nor are they required to register their firearms. Florida does not require owners to obtain a license, or have a permit to carry a rifle or shotgun. However, residents are required to have a permit to carry a handgun.
Let’s take a closer look at some of Florida’s gun laws:
- No permit required to purchase a handgun, rifle or shotgun.
- It is illegal to openly carry a firearm on one’s person, unless an exception applies.
- It is unlawful to carry a concealed weapon without a valid license.
- It’s illegal to possess a machine gun, unless lawfully possessed under federal law.
- Under Florida’s Stand Your Ground law, residents do not have a “duty to retreat” if they are being attacked in any place where they are lawfully present. Under this law, assault victims have the right to fight back with force, including deadly force if necessary to prevent great bodily injury to themselves or others.
(Source: National Rifle Association)
Just because Florida has favorable gun laws, that does not mean they apply to everybody. Under Section 790.23, certain classes of individuals are “prohibited possessors,” which means these individuals are not allowed to possess or purchase a firearm.
Who can’t possess a firearm in Florida? It’s against the law for anyone convicted of a felony to have a firearm in their care, custody, or control; it’s also illegal for a felon to purchase or possess any firearm or carry a concealed weapon until their civil rights are restored.
The following individuals cannot possess firearms in Florida:
- Drug addicts
- Mentally disabled
- Individuals under the age of 18
In addition to the above, domestic violence affects a person’s gun rights in Florida. For example, if a husband was found guilty of abusing his wife and children (domestic violence) and there was a final injunction and a restraining order in force prohibiting him from committing further acts of domestic violence, he would not be allowed to possess a firearm. If he was caught with a firearm, it would be a probation violation and he could be arrested and prosecuted.
Civil Rights Restoration in Florida
Suppose you were convicted of a felony in Florida, this means that you lost many rights, such as your right to vote in a presidential election, your right to hold public office, and your right to use or possess a firearm. In order to get these rights back, your civil rights would have to be restored; this is achieved through clemency.
Through clemency, convicted felons are able to get their civil rights restored. The purpose of clemency is to relieve an individual of some of the punishments attached to their felony conviction, such as the denial of voting and firearm privileges.
Some of the types of clemency in Florida, include: 1) a full pardon, 2) a pardon that excludes firearm authority, 3) a pardon for a misdemeanor, 4) commutation of sentence, 5) the remission of fines and forfeitures, and 6) authority to possess or use firearms.
Read more about the Rules of Executive Clemency here.
While the clemency route a felon takes depends on the nature of their charges and the specific facts of their case, often felons who are interested in restoring their firearm privileges will either seek a full pardon, or they will be interested in regaining the ability to own, possess or use firearms, which restores the felon’s ability to own, possess, or use firearms – a right that was lost after he or she was convicted of a felony.
Are you a gun enthusiast who is facing felony charges? Or, are you a convicted felon who is looking to get your civil rights restored? Or, are you facing weapons charges in Tampa? In any case, contact Thomas & Paulk, P.A. for the legal advice you need. We are well-versed in Florida’s gun laws and can provide insight into your case.