Florida law does not require firearms sellers to retain records of sales or report those sales to law enforcement, although a provision of Florida law requires records of handgun sales to be available for inspection by any law enforcement agency during normal business hours.1
Florida law requires the destruction of the records created by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) in the process of conducting a criminal history record check which contain information pertaining to any buyer or transferee who is not found to be prohibited from receipt or transfer of a firearm by reason of Florida or federal law. FDLE must destroy any such records “forthwith” after it communicates the approval number to the dealer and, in any event, no later than 48 hours afterwards.2 Such records are confidential and exempt from disclosure.3 Notwithstanding these rules, Florida law explicitly allows FDLE to maintain records required by the federal government and authorizes FDLE to maintain a log of dates of requests for criminal history records checks, unique approval and nonapproval numbers, license numbers, and transaction numbers corresponding to such dates for up to two years or as otherwise required by law.4
Florida law requires “secondhand dealers”5 and pawnbrokers to create a record of the acquisition of any firearm that includes the brand name, model name, serial number, type of action, caliber or gauge, number of barrels, barrel length, and finish of the firearm, and a description of the person from whom the firearm was acquired, including his or her name and right thumbprint.6 These records must be transmitted to law enforcement. However, Florida law requires secondhand dealers and pawnbrokers to destroy these records within 30 days of the acquisition of the firearm or expiration of the loan, and requires law enforcement to destroy their copies of these records within 60 days of receipt.7
Florida law prohibits the knowing or willful keeping of any list, record or registry of privately owned firearms or their owners.8 Exceptions include:
- Records of firearms that have been used in committing any crime;
- Records relating to any person who has been convicted of a crime;
- Records of stolen firearms that are retained for no more than 10 days after such firearms are recovered. Official documentation recording the theft of a recovered weapon may be maintained for no more than three years;
- Firearm records that must be retained under federal law;
- Firearm records kept by “secondhand dealers” and pawnbrokers, as described above;
- Records of the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services regarding persons who have had licenses to carry concealed firearms within the prior 2 years;
- Records of firearms (and documents relating to firearms) involved in criminal or civil proceedings, or that are voluntary surrendered; and
- Non-criminal records relating to the receipt, storage or return of firearms.9
See our Maintaining Records of Gun Sales policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.
- Fla. Stat. § 790.0655(1)(b).
- Fla. Stat. § 790.065(4)(a).
- Fla. Stat. § 790.065(4)(b). Florida law states that nothing in its law regarding weapons and firearms may be construed to allow the State to maintain records containing the names of purchasers or transferees who receive unique approval numbers or to maintain records of firearm transactions. Fla. Stat. § 790.065(4)(c). Any officer or employee of FDLE or a law enforcement agency who “intentionally and maliciously” violates these provisions is criminally liable for a felony. Fla. Stat. § 790.065(4)(d).
- “Secondhand dealers” are persons, corporations, or other business organizations or entities which are not secondary metals recyclers and which are engaged in the business of purchasing, consigning, or trading secondhand goods. Fla. Stat. § 538.03(1)(a).
- Fla. Stat. §§ 538.04, 539.001(8), (9).
- Fla. Stat. § 790.335(3)(f).
- Fla. Stat. § 790.335(2).
- Fla. Stat. § 790.335(3). That law also exempts “records kept pursuant to the recordkeeping provisions of” Fla. Stat. § 790.065. However, Fla. Stat. § 790.065 does not require firearms dealers to maintain records.