Florida routinely makes the national news for gun crimes. The state’s “Stand Your Ground” law brings up a particularly contentious debate across the country. From afar, Florida seems to have embraced guns, but looks can be deceiving. There are plenty of gun crimes on the Florida books that have otherwise law-abiding citizens caught up with the legal system. It’s important to know these laws and your rights so that you can avoid trouble with your firearms.
No Gun Registry in Florida
The state legislature has gone out of their way in order to protect the identities of gun owners in the state of Florida. In fact, it is against the law for any entity, public or private, to create a list of gun owners’ names for any reason. Any person found to have compiled such a list has committed a felony in the state of Florida.
As a gun owner, you will never be targeted by law enforcement for being on a list of gun owners. Law enforcement in the state of Florida should largely be unaware of your gun ownership, and you are under no obligation to tell an officer that you own a firearm.
No Obligation To Inform
Florida law does not require you to disclose the ownership of firearms when in contact with police. You are under no obligation to tell an officer that you are in a possession of a firearm if you are carrying legally. This must be used with some judgment as the possession of a firearm can escalate into a dangerous situation when in contact with law enforcement.
No Broad Open Carry Permission
Open carry is the practice of wearing one’s firearm visibly in public. This includes rifles strapped over the shoulder and pistols in holsters. States that allow citizens to open carry believe that the gun owner has a right to self-defense, and that open carry firearms will deter would-be criminals in public places.
Open carry is generally not permitted throughout the state of Florida. You may brandish your firearm while performing certain activities like shooting practice, hunting, fishing or camping. You may also transport your firearm to and from these activities, but you should expect a run-in with law enforcement if you open carry in most other circumstances.
You may be arrested and your gun confiscated if you cannot prove to law enforcement that you are actively hunting, fishing, camping or transporting your firearm for the purposes of hunting, fishing or camping when stopped. That’s when it is time to hire an experienced Florida attorney.
Waiting Period And The Red Flag
Florida law requires a three-day waiting period for the purchase of a firearm. Some counties have pushed this waiting period to five days. This is when state officials perform background checks and throw red flags.
The red flag law allows police to seek judicial approval for the removal of an individual’s firearms. The red flag law is only used in the most serious of circumstances when a gun owner is deemed to be a threat to themselves or society as a whole. The right to own a gun can be stripped for up to a year.
Common Gun Crimes In Florida
It is a felony to possess a concealed weapon in Florida without a license, possess or fire a gun at a school, allow a minor under 16 access to a gun or possessing a gun as a convicted felon. Punishment for these third-degree felonies includes up to five years in prison. An experience lawyer like William Hanlon Criminal Lawyer in Tampa can help if you find yourself tangled up with confusing gun laws in Florida.
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