An individual is allowed to purchase a firearm in Florida if they are 21 years of age or older and a U.S. citizen, legal permanent resident or nonresident alien. A legal permanent resident of Florida must provide a valid alien registration number. A nonresident alien visiting Florida must present a border crossing number (I-94) and a valid exception document.
Rules About Specific Gun Types
An individual may purchase a rifle or a shotgun when they are between 18 and 21 years of age if they are a law enforcement officer, correctional officer or service member. They must be a Florida resident to purchase a handgun. A person who is a resident of another state may buy a long gun if the sale complies with applicable laws in the state in which the person lives.
Waiting Period, Permit and Limits
Florida does not require a permit to buy a gun. There is not a permit that exempts a person from the background check requirement. The state of Florida has a mandatory waiting period of three days, excluding weekends and state holidays between the time of purchase and delivery of all firearms. Cities and counties may enact local ordinances to extend the waiting period to as many as five days.
Florida gun laws do not put a limit on the number of firearms that a dealer may transfer in a single transaction. A transaction is considered complete after the dealer has completed and signed the ATF Form 4473, a federal form for firearm transactions. An additional transaction requires an additional background check.
People Who Can’t Buy Firearms
Ten categories of people may not buy a firearm in Florida. One group is convicted felons, unless they have had their right to own, possess and use a firearm restored. An illegal alien, a person who has renounced U.S. citizenship, and a fugitive from justice also cannot purchase firearms.
A person who is an unlawful user, or addicted to, a controlled substance, and a person who has been dishonorably discharged from the U.S. Armed Forces also cannot purchase a firearm. In addition, a person who has been adjudicated mentally defective or involuntarily committed to treatment cannot buy a gun. Further, a person who has been convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence or is the subject of an active protection order, such as a restraining order or an injunction for protection, cannot buy a firearm.
A person is not allowed to buy a firearm if they committed a delinquent act when they were a juvenile that would have been a felony if committed as an adult. This changes when they turn 24 or if their record has been expunged. There are a number of different types of expungement, including a court-ordered expungement.
Adjudication Withheld Disqualification from Buying Firearms
A person is not allowed to buy a firearm if they receive an “adjudication withheld” on any felony or on a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence and three years has not yet lapsed since they completed the provisions of their sentence, such as supervised probation. A person cannot buy a firearm if they were recently arrested for a potentially disqualifying crime which has not yet been dismissed or disposed of in court.
Cost of Buying a Gun
It is cheaper to buy a gun in Florida than in other states because it does not require or charge for a permit to purchase a gun. Florida state law also does not require firearm registration. The state only requires a concealed firearm license for carrying a handgun in public. Therefore, the cost of a gun in Florida is typically solely the purchase price of the gun, unless the gun is a handgun.
Cost of Concealed Weapons Permit
For a concealed weapons license, a Florida resident will have to pay $42 for a fingerprint processing fee and $55 for an initial license fee. A license renewal fee is $45, and a revised or duplicate license fee is $15. An out-of-state resident must pay the same amount for a fingerprint processing fee and initial license fee.
An out-of-state resident license renewal fee is $87, which includes a $42 fingerprint processing fee, and a $15 revised or duplicate license fee. There are different rates for active or retired Florida law enforcement officers; there are no fees for a judge.
Process of Purchasing a Gun
A person who wants to buy a gun in Florida can go to a store and purchase one unless they are an out-of-state resident who wants to buy a handgun. All purchasers must wait three days for the delivery of a gun. The process of getting a concealed carry license involves completing a concealed weapon application with the county tax collector.
The applicant typically must pay additional fees to the county for a concealed carry license. For example, in Hillsborough County, the tax collector’s office charges a $22 service fee on top of the state fees. Marion County also charges a $22 service fee. If the applicant is renewing their license, Marion County charges a $12 renewal fee.
When Waiting Period Doesn’t Apply
Florida’s three-day waiting period does not apply when an individual is a holder of a concealed weapons permit. The waiting period also does not apply to a trade-in of another firearm. Further, the waiting period does not apply to the purchase of a rifle or shotgun after the individual successfully completes a 16-hour hunter safety course and possesses a hunter safety certification card.
Penalties for Not Waiting
It is a third-degree felony for a retailer or any agent of a retailer to deliver a firearm to a customer before the expiration of the waiting period. It is also an offense of this degree for a customer to obtain delivery of a firearm by fraud, false pretense or false representation before the expiration of the waiting period. In Florida, a third-degree felony is usually punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine up to $5,000.
Replacement Licenses and CWIS
Typically, a county tax collector’s office will not process a replacement concealed carry license – only the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) provides this service. An individual can reduce the time it takes for FDACS to issue a license by submitting their application through the Concealed Weapon Intake System (CWIS).
The CWIS involves submitting the application in person at a county tax collector’s office. The CWIS streamlines the application screening and review process, and county staff request the individual visit a computer station to complete an electronic version of the application form. The staff previews the individual’s application, scans their fingerprints, takes their photograph and processes the payment. There is a convenience fee for using CWIS.
What Should an Applicant Bring?
An applicant for a concealed weapons license should bring a picture ID and a copy of a training document or other certificate that confirms they are proficient with a firearm to their county tax collector’s office. They should also bring a personal check, cashier’s check, cash or money order in the proper amount for their fees. An individual may pay by credit or debit card, but this incurs a small convenience fee.
An individual who has been arrested should bring certified copies of the court documentation reflecting the final disposition of the charges filed against them. A person born outside the U.S. or a permanent legal resident should bring official documentation with them that confirms their citizenship status.
Time to Process an Application
FDACS is required to issue a license or deny an application within 90 days of receiving a complete application. The actual turnaround time depends on the workload that FDACS employees face in Tallahassee. It may be much less than 90 days. Two issues that usually affect application times include a concern with the electronic fingerprint scan or a need for additional information.
If the electronic fingerprint scan is not sufficiently legible to complete a background check, FDACS will notify the applicant by letter to submit another set of fingerprints. The applicant can return to the tax collector’s office for a second fingerprint scan. If FDACS needs clarification about the individual’s background check results, the applicant will need to respond by mail directly to FDACS.
Renewing a Concealed Weapon License
A Florida concealed weapon or firearm license issued on or after June 11, 2008 is valid for seven years. About 95 days before a license expires, FDACS sends the license holder a renewal form with complete instructions on renewal. The license holder should immediately complete the renewal form to give FDACS time to process it.
The license holder may also submit the renewal form at one of the FDACS’s Division of Licensing eight regional offices. The individual must call for an appointment at the office closest to them. The license holder should not sign the form before coming to the office. The regional office will take the applicant’s picture at no additional charge.
A regional office cannot accept payment by credit card or cash; an applicant can pay by check or money order. Before arriving, an applicant can submit payment via the online system at the department’s main website, but they will still need to visit a regional office to have their photograph taken.
Required Documents for Renewal
A regional tax collector’s office will process CWL renewals. An applicant should bring their renewal notice, photo ID and payment. If their name has changed, they should bring legal documentation of the name change. CWL applications are walk-in only.
Renewal After Expiration Date
If an applicant fails to renew their license by the expiration date, they can do so up to six months beyond the expiration date. There is a late fee of $15 for renewing after the expiration date. A CWL that has been expired for over six months cannot be renewed. An individual who fails to renew within the six-month period after expiration must apply for a new license and cannot carry a concealed firearm after their license has expired.
Notarization No Longer Required
County tax collector websites sometimes refer to requirements for notarization. Yet these websites are usually outdated. As of July 1, 2016, a notary is no longer required for CWL applications, but they must still be submitted under oath. Applicants can face criminal penalties for providing false information or misrepresenting information on a CWL application.
Penalties for Providing False Statements
Providing a false official statement is a second-degree misdemeanor under Florida Statutes Section 837.06. The penalty for a second-degree misdemeanor is up to 60 days in jail and a fine up to $500. When an individual provides a false official statement to a public servant, they may face concerns later as to whether they are telling the truth.
Providing a false official statement is different from perjury, which is defined as lying under oath. Perjury is a third-degree felony. The penalty is up to five years in prison and a fine up to $5,000.
- Florida Department of Law Enforcement: Requirements to Purchase a Firearm
- 2021 Florida Statutes: Section 790.0655 Purchase and Delivery of Firearms; Mandatory Waiting Period; Exceptions; Penalties
- Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services: Eligibility Requirements for a Florida Concealed Weapon License
- Florida Department of Law Enforcement: Seal and Expunge Process
- Marion County Tax Collector: Concealed Weapons License Applications & Renewals
- Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services: Fee Schedule for Concealed Weapon or Firearm
- Hillsborough County Tax Collector: Concealed Weapon License Application Payments and Fees
- Hillsborough County Tax Collector's Office: Concealed Weapon License Application
- Hillsborough County Tax Collector: First Time Concealed Weapon License Application
- 2021 Florida Statutes: Section 837.06 False Official Statements
- 2021 Florida Statutes: Section 837.02 Perjury in Official Proceedings
Jessica Zimmer is a journalist and attorney based in northern California. She has practiced in a wide variety of fields, including criminal defense, property law, immigration, employment law, and family law.