Can I Sell a Gun Privately in Florida?

July 15, 2021 Criminal Defense

The buying, selling, gifting, or transferring of firearms from one private individual in Florida to another is legal given you abide by federal and state laws. Despite Florida being recognized as a more lenient state when it comes to the private sale of firearms, it’s imperative to know and understand the legal restrictions in order to maximize safety and ensure no illegal acts have taken place.

Eligibility to Purchase A Firearm

Under federal law, there are ten categories of persons who are not eligible to purchase or possess a firearm. These individuals are a(n)[1]:

  • Convicted felon (or equivalent);
  • Fugitive from justice;
  • Unlawful user or addicted to a controlled substance;
  • Person adjudicated mentally defective or involuntarily committed to treatment;
  • Illegal alien;
  • Individual dishonorably discharge from the United States Armed Forces;
  • Person with renounced United States citizenship;
  • Individual with an active protection order (restraining order, injunction for protection, etc.);
  • Person convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence; or
  • Someone under indictment or information from a felony.

Under Florida law, the following categories of persons are also not eligible to purchase or possess a firearm[2]:

  • An individual adjudicated delinquent of a crime that would have been a felony if committed by an adult until the age of 24 or until the record is expunged;
  • An individual who has received an “Adjudication Withheld” on any felony or on a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence and three years has not yet lapsed since the completion of sentencing provisions; or
  • An individual who has been recently arrested for a potentially disqualifying crime which has not been dismissed or disposed of in court.

*If you would like to read about the restoration of felon gun rights in Florida, you can do so here.*

The General Requirements to Purchase a Firearm in Florida

If you do not fall into any of the federal or state categories that would exclude you from purchasing a firearm, you must fulfill the following requirements under Florida law[3]:

  • The buyer and seller must possess a valid identification document issued by the State of Florida.
  • The buyer and seller must be 21 years of age. Rifles and shotguns may be purchased at 18 years of age when that person is a law enforcement officer or correctional officer as defined in Florida Statute 943.10 or service member as defined in Florida Statute 250.01.
  • The buyer and seller must be residents of the state of Florida for the buyer to purchase a handgun, however, long guns may be purchased by non-residents so long as sales compile with applicable laws in the purchaser’s resident state.
  • Legal permanent resident aliens that are Florida residents may purchase a firearm but must provide a valid alien registration number. Non-resident aliens visiting Florida must present a border crossing number and a valid exception document.
  • A waiting period of three days, excluding weekends and state holidays, between purchase and delivery of all firearms. Individual counties and cities may enact their own local ordinances extending the waiting period up to as much as 5 days.
  • There is no limit to the number of firearms that may be transferred in a single transaction and the transaction is considered complete once the dealer has completed and signed the ATF Form 4473. A background check must take place for every separate transaction.
  • The firearm must have a valid serial number.

It is important to note that Florida does not require a permit to purchase a firearm. Neither federal nor Florida law requires private sellers to initiate a background check when transferring a firearm, however, both require that federally licensed firearm dealers initiate a background check on the purchaser prior to the sale of a firearm.[4] Furthermore, Florida exempts concealed weapons license holders from the state’s background check requirement, however, concealed weapon license holders must still complete the federal background check.[5]

Transferring Firearms

Under federal law, an unlicensed or non-dealer can transfer a firearm to another unlicensed or non-dealer in the same state. Under 18 U.S.C. 922(a)(3), it is illegal for a private individual to transport or receive a firearm from a private seller who resides in another state. It is also illegal for a private seller to deliver or sell a firearm to a private buyer who they have reason to believe does not reside in the same state. In addition, under 18 U.S.C. 922(d), it is illegal for a private individual to sell a firearm to a private buyer in their state if they have reasonable cause to believe that the person purchasing the firearm is prohibited from possessing or receiving a firearm under federal or state law. It’s essential that private buyers and sellers of firearms do not breach any of the federal or state requirements. Doing so renders the transaction illegal and both the buyer and seller can face legal repercussions.

Considerations when Selling a Gun Privately

Although neither state or federal law require it, a bill of sale document is often used when selling firearms privately in order to ensure that, if the firearm was ever stolen or used in a crime, you can prove who you sold it to. In addition, the State of Florida has the Florida Department of Law Enforcement Stolen Gun Search website that allows you to type in the firearm’s serial number and see if it has been reported stolen.

Tallahassee Criminal Defense Lawyer

Navigating federal and state gun regulations is extremely complicated and a small mistake when selling a firearm privately can lead to legal consequences including jail time, fines, confiscation of your weapons and limits on your ability to purchase firearms in the future. For such reasons, its crucial you seek help from an experienced attorney. Contact a  Tallahassee criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible to explore your options and ensure you are provided the best defense possible. Don Pumphrey and the members of the legal team at Pumphrey Law Firm are extensively educated and will be adamant in pursuing justice on your behalf. Call a defense attorney today at (850) 681-7777 or send an online message to discuss your options during an open and free consultation with an attorney in our legal team.

This article was written by Sarah Kamide

Sarah Pumphrey Law Firm

 

 

 

 

 

 

[1] Requirements to Purchase a Firearm, Florida Department of Law Enforcement, https://www.fdle.state.fl.us/FPP/ FAQs2.aspx (last visited July 15, 2021).

[2] Id.

[3] Id.

[4] Background Check Procedures in Florida, Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, https://giffords.org/lawcenter/state-laws/background-check-procedures-in-florida/ (last updated Feb. 12, 2021).

[5] Id.


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