Federal law establishes a baseline national standard regarding individuals’ eligibility to acquire and possess firearms. Under federal law, people are generally prohibited from purchasing or possessing firearms if they have been convicted of a felony or some domestic violence misdemeanors, or if they are subject to certain court orders related to domestic violence or a serious mental condition. However, federal law merely provides a floor, and has notable gaps that allow individuals who have demonstrated significant risk factors for violence or self-harm to legally acquire and possess guns.
Similarly, Florida law prohibits a person from owning or possessing a firearm if the person:
- Has been convicted of a felony, or is under 24 years of age and has been convicted of a delinquent act that would be a felony if committed by an adult;1
- Has been issued a final injunction that is currently in force and effect, restraining that person from committing acts of domestic violence;2
- Is a “violent career criminal,” as Florida law defines that term;3
- Has been “adjudicated mentally defective or who has been committed to a mental institution,” as those terms are defined in Fla. Stat. § 790.065(2);4 or
- Is the subject of a risk protection order that is currently in force and prohibits that person from possessing, acquiring, or attempting to acquire any firearms while the order is in effect.5
Please see the Florida Background Checks section for information about additional categories of individuals, such as people with certain serious mental conditions and certain people convicted of or subject to restraining orders for domestic abuse, who are prevented from purchasing firearms by the background check process used in Florida for firearm purchases at licensed firearms dealers.
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- Fla. Stat. § 790.23. More specifically, Florida law prohibits a person from owning a firearm or having a firearm in his or her care, custody, possession, or control, if the person: 1) has been convicted of a felony in the courts of Florida; 2) has been found, in a Florida court, to have committed a delinquent act that would be a felony if committed by an adult and such person is under 24 years of age; 3) has been convicted of or found to have committed a crime against the United States which is designated as a felony; 4) has been found to have committed a delinquent act in another state, territory, or country that would be a felony if committed by an adult and which was punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year and such person is under 24 years of age; or 5) has been found guilty of an offense that is a felony in another state, territory, or country and which was punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year.[↩]
- Fla. Stat. § 790.233(1).[↩]
- Fla. Stat. § 790.235.[↩]
- Fla. Stat. § 790.064(1).[↩]
- Fla. Stat. § 790.401(11)(b).[↩]