Floridians Get Screened as Background Checks Rise for Gun Purchases

Image by Brett Hondow from Pixabay 

In the week after George Floyd’s death, Florida processed more than twice the number of background checks than it did in the same week in 2019. The number of Floridians who sought voluntary background checks so they could buy guns surged in the days and weeks after protests started following the death of George Floyd on May 25. Since June 1, Florida has processed 30,657 background checks. The peak was reached the following day on June 2, when the state processed 10,318 background checks in one day.

Buying a gun in Florida requires undergoing a background check, which screens for criminal convictions and other red flags. So the number of background checks is a good measure to track firearm sales, although people can buy more than one gun at a time. Background check data from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement shows how gun-buying has skyrocketed in Florida, first in March, then in late May and early June.

From May 26 to June 14, the state processed 117,669 background checks. After the June 2 peak, background checks processed daily dropped to 2,620 by June 14, but were still almost twice the number processed the Sunday before Floyd’s death.

A sign on the property of a gun shop in Palm Harbor, FL, USA announces guns and ammo are available for purchase inside on March 16, 2016. Photo and Caption: Joanne Dale/Shutterstock.com

Thinking about purchasing a gun? Here’s what Florida law says about that.

To purchase a gun in Florida, buyers must usually undergo a background check. The state has made some changes since the school shootings in Parkland. Here’s a rundown of requirements for buying a gun and carrying a concealed weapon in Florida. Florida does not require a permit or license to buy a gun. Nor does the state require registration of guns. However, you do need a license to carry a concealed weapon. There is no limit to the number of firearms in a single transaction.

There’s a waiting period

There’s a three-day waiting period between purchase and delivery. Individual counties and cities may have laws that extend waiting periods up to five days. 

Age and Residency requirements

You must be 21. Rifles and shotguns can be purchased by a law enforcement or correctional officer or service members at 18. You must be a Florida resident to purchase a handgun. You can’t be an illegal immigrant. 

You must be 21 and demonstrate competency with a gun. You also must live in the United States unless you’re serving overseas in the military and be a lawful permanent resident or a citizen. Eligibility requirements can be found at the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. Personally identifying details about concealed weapons holders are exempt from public records. 

People who MAY NOT buy/own a firearm are:

Someone who is: 

  • Convicted of a felony
  • a fugitive
  • an unlawful user
  • addict of a controlled substance
  • adjudicated mentally defective or involuntarily committed to treatment 
  • an illegal immigrant
  • dishonorably discharged from armed forces 
  • has renounced U.S. citizenship 
  • under an active protection order 
  • convicted of a domestic violence misdemeanor
  • under indictment or information for a felony 

Florida law also prohibits people who are: 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, receive “Adjudication Withheld” on any felony or on a misdemeanor domestic violence and three years have not passed since completing sentencing provisions, and were recently arrested for a potentially disqualifying crime which has not been dismissed or disposed of in court.

Regions Guns & Ammo Shop in Miami, FL, USA on April 6, 2020. Photo: Regions Guns & Ammo Facebook