A list of the state laws in Florida regulating gun silencers won't require much paper. In fact, they can all be written out easily on a band aid because there aren't many. Many states make gun silencers illegal, but the Sunshine State is not one of them. Are they illegal for hunting? Well, they used to be.
Under Florida suppressor laws, gun silencers are perfectly legal. Earlier law prevented using silencers for hunting, but this is now permitted.
Buying a Suppressor in Florida
It's perfectly legal in Florida to own, possess and use a firearm, and this includes a gun silencer. The definitions section of the law includes firearm silencers within the definition of firearm, providing:
“Firearm” means any weapon (including a starter gun) which will, is designed to, or may readily be converted to expel a projectile by the action of an explosive; the frame or receiver of any such weapon; any firearm muffler or firearm silencer; any destructive device; or any machine gun.
Section 790.25 sets out a very short list of exceptions to the general law that anyone can own and use a firearm. The exceptions include alcoholics, addicts, vagrants, the mentally ill and those hanging about a place of nuisance. Anyone else can use a gun silencer with a gun for almost any purpose including:
- target practice
- in defense of your home
- camping and fishing trips, and
Silencers for Hunting in Florida
Hunting has finally made the list of authorized uses for gun silencers in Florida. For 57 years, state regulations prohibited the use of firearm suppressors by hunters killing deer, gray squirrels, rabbits, wild turkeys, quail and crows. In November, 2014, this was reversed, effective immediately, and Florida became the 33rd state to allow hunting with gun silencers.
Federal Regulation of Silencers
The fact that silencers are not regulated under Florida law does not mean that they are entirely unregulated. The federal government regulates their purchase and sale under the National Firearms Act (NFA) of 1934, and the process to buy one legally is controlled by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
According to federal law, a person wishing to buy a gun silencer has to first fill out and submit an application to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Count on waiting more than a month or two for approval. The buyer is also required to pass an FBI-conducted background check.
The only place you can legally acquire a gun suppressor in Florida is from a dealer who is both licensed to sell firearms and also approved to sell suppressors. There is a hefty federal tax to pay for each device purchased, and all suppressors are registered with the Bureau.