Is it Too Easy to Buy an AR-15 in Florida?
Over the past six years, mass shootings in Newtown, San Bernardino, Las Vegas, Sutherland Springs, and Parkland were some of the deadliest in the United States. In each massacre, the shooter used an AR-15-style semi-automatic rifle. With this rifle being one of the most popular firearms in the country, many Floridians are learning the level of carnage it can cause. It has also put increased pressure on the state legislature to take more action against mass gun violence.
Buying an AR-15 in Florida
After a 19-year-old gunman carried out a rampage at a high school in Parkland, Florida in February of 2018, the state took action and passed a law that prohibited gun sales to minors under the age of 21. Additional stipulations of the new legislation are:
- It is illegal for licensed dealers to transfer or sell a firearm to those under 21 years of age
- A purchaser over the age of 18 who is a corrections officer, member of law enforcement, or service member can still purchase a rifle or shotgun
- There is a three-day wait period between buying and taking possession of firearms
- Bump stocks are banned
Criteria that can disqualify an individual from purchasing an AR-15 in the state of Florida include:
- Fugitive from justice
- Felony convictions or equivalent crimes
- Addicted to or illegal use of controlled substances
- Dishonorable discharge from the US military
- Under an active protection order
- Convictions of misdemeanor domestic violence
- Under indictment of a felony
- Renounced US citizenship
- Illegal alien status
- A recent arrest of a potentially disqualifying crime
- Adjudication withheld on any domestic violence offense and three years have not passed since sentence completion
- Adjudication as a delinquent of a crime that would be a felony if committed by an adult until one’s record is expunged or reaches the age of 24
Florida’s Gun Laws for Minors
The new legislation did not address the fact that the state’s gun possession laws still allow those under the age of 18 to use a weapon under specific circumstances. While Florida does have penalties for parents, guardians, or other adults who allow kids to use firearms in violation of these standards, many were shocked these laws were not reviewed or changed after the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting.
Florida states that minors under the age of 18 have the below regarding possessing a firearm:
- Can possess an unloaded firearm in their home
- Can participate in legal hunting activities if at least 16 years of age, but must have a supervising adult if under this age requirement.
- Can engage in lawful marksmanship matches or participate in recreational shooting activities if at least 16 years of age, but must have guardian consent if under this age limit
- Can transport unloaded firearms to and from these previously mentioned events
The Future of AR-15 Purchases
Up until 2004, AR-15s and other similar semiautomatic rifles were explicitly banned by the Public Safety and Recreational Firearms Use Protection Act, but this act banned these types of weapons for only ten years. Once it expired, many states had to either pass legislation against assault weapons or do nothing and allow sales to resume.
States like Florida took no action once the ban expired, and people were able to purchase AR-15-style rifles in person or privately without a background check. Only a handful of states have laws to either ban or heavily regulate these style of semi-automatic rifles, and some cities have created similar policies.
Florida Gun Rights Attorneys
If you face a firearm possession charge in Orlando, or if you feel you experienced a violation of your gun rights, contact a defense attorney right away. Florida recognizes the rights of its citizens to bear arms for lawful reasons, but has many rules and restrictions that govern the time, place, and use for possession. Breaking these provisions can incur penalties that are harsh and mandatory, and you need an attorney that can argue your case successfully.
The attorneys of The Umansky Law Firm fight aggressively to protect your legal rights in these types of firearms cases. Our firm offers over 100 years of combined experience representing clients that need the strongest defense possible when facing criminal charges. Contact us today online or call us so we can evaluate your case and advise you of how we can help.