The shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, which killed 17 people, has put the focus on Florida’s gun laws. For instance, the state doesn’t require a permit or a license for someone to own a gun.
- The right to bear arms is found in the first article of Florida’s constitution: “The right of the people to keep and bear arms in defense of themselves and of the lawful authority of the state shall not be infringed…”
- You don’t need a permit or license to buy a gun, nor do you have to register a firearm.
- You don’t need a permit to conceal carry a rifle or shotgun, although you do need it to conceal carry a handgun.
- The state Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services must issue a concealed weapons license to an applicant as long as the person meets a certain set of requirements, including being a US citizen, being the age of 21 or older, not having a felony conviction and demonstrates competence with a firearm.
- You can buy as many guns as you want at one time, because Florida doesn’t regulate that either.
- Gun sellers don’t have to get a state license to sell firearms.
- The state does require a three-day waiting period before you can buy a gun.
- And Florida does not regulate assault weapons, .50-caliber rifles and large capacity ammunition magazines.
The Giffords Law Center, a gun-control advocacy group that tracks firearms legislation, gave Florida an “F” grade for its gun laws in 2016. The law center says Florida has 12 gun deaths per 100,000, the 25th-highest rate in the nation.
Florida also has the “stand your ground” law, which the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action describes as a person having no “duty to retreat” if they’re attacked in a place where they have a legal right to be.
“Instead, you may stand your ground and meet force with force, including deadly force, if you reasonably believe it is necessary to prevent death or great bodily harm to yourself or others,” the institute says.