How to Buy a Handgun in Florida

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If you’re in Florida and want to buy a handgun then you need to go through a series of specific processes in order to buy a handgun. Before it was easier to get a handgun but due to a number of shooting incidents, the state of Florida made some changes in their gun laws to prevent future shooting incidents.

All you need is to know how to buy a handgun in Florida. Nevertheless, Florida is still among the states where gun control is more flexible than other states. For instance, Florida does not require a permit or license in order to buy a gun.

How to Buy a Handgun in Florida

In Florida, you need a roughly $8 payment to complete the paperwork for a background check in order to buy a handgun in any gun store in Florida. Once you pass the background check, you can then buy a gun.

However, if you’re buying a handgun, you still need to wait for the mandatory three-day waiting period between purchase and delivery. This is to prevent impulsive acts of violence by giving potential perpetrators the time to cool down before they get their hands on a firearm.

It’s one of only 10 states that require a waiting period for purchasing a gun. 

A handgun placed on a concrete surface

Depending on your country or city, the waiting period can be more than 3 days. This was recently implemented in 2018 and it’s imposed by the Florida constitution. The mandatory waiting period does not apply to:

  • Holders of concealed weapons permits
  • The “trade-in of another firearm”
  • The purchase of a rifle or shotgun by somebody who has completed a 16-hour hunter safety course and possesses a hunter safety certification card
  • Purchases by law enforcement, correctional officers, or service members

What Is the Minimum Age to Purchase a Handgun in Florida?

In order to purchase a gun in Florida, you must be at least 21 years old. If you’re in law enforcement, a correctional officer or a service member, you can purchase rifles and shotguns as long as you’re at least 18 years of age. You also need to be a Florida resident and not an illegal immigrant in order to purchase a handgun.

There are exceptions to this law. Minors are allowed to possess a gun only if they meet one or more of these conditions:

  • Engaged in a lawful hunting activity and are at least age 16 or, if under age 16, are supervised by an adult
  • Engaged in a lawful marksmanship competition, practice or other lawful recreational shooting activity, and are at least age 16
  • Transporting an unloaded firearm directly to or from one of the aforementioned events

Who Is Prohibited From Purchasing a Gun in Florida?

Florida law prohibits dealers from selling or transferring firearms to anyone younger than 18.  Beyond that, federal law prohibits specific people from purchasing or possessing any type of firearms. These people are:

  • People convicted of a felony
  • Fugitives
  • Unlawful users of a controlled substance
  • People who are adjudicated mentally defective or involuntary committed to treatment
  • Illegal immigrants
  • People dishonorably discharged from armed forces
  • People who renounced U.S. citizenship
  • People under an active protection order
  • People convicted of a domestic violence misdemeanor
  • People under indictment 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
  • Received an “Adjudication Withheld” on any felony or on a misdemeanor domestic violence and three years have not passed since completing sentencing provisions
  • Were recently arrested for a potentially disqualifying crime which has not been dismissed or disposed of in court
  • Are identified as a “violent career criminal”, as Florida law defines the term

What Things Related to Firearms Florida Doesn’t Regulate?

As mentioned above, Florida is among the states where citizens enjoy many freedoms when it comes to gun ownership. Here are some things that Florida doesn’t regulate in terms of firearms that you might not be aware of or that you can use for an easier process for owning a gun:

  • Require a background check prior to the transfer of a firearm between private parties (counties may impose such a requirement)
  • Require firearms dealers to obtain a state license
  • Require firearm owners to license their weapons
  • Require the registration of firearms
  • Regulate assault weapons, 50 caliber rifles, or large-capacity ammunition magazines
  • Limit the number of firearms that you may purchase at one time

How Can You Get a Concealed Carry Weapon Permit in Florida?

If you’re looking to buy a handgun for concealed carry, then it will be easy for you to buy a handgun in Florida. First, you’ll need to acquire your concealed carry weapon permit and you can bypass the three-day waiting period for buying a handgun.

In Florida, you need to have a concealed weapon license if you want to carry a gun for personal protection. Open carry is illegal in Florida so getting your license is absolutely necessary. If you’re caught carrying one without a license, you’ll be potentially charged with a felony and may never be allowed to buy a handgun ever again.

A man carrying handgun beside another person

Eligibility Requirements for Concealed Carry Weapon Permit

Florida’s Concealed Weapon License has the following requirements:

  • You must be 21 years old.
  • You must be able to demonstrate competency with your firearm.
  • Except in certain cases (such as if you are a member of the armed forces), you must be able to prove that you reside in the United States.
  • You must not have certain crimes or demerits on your official record, including but not limited to:
    • Felony convictions
    • 2 DUIs in the last 3 years
    • A violent misdemeanor conviction in the last 3 years
    • Evidence of substance abuse
    • Dishonorably discharged from the armed forces
    • Evidence of domestic violence

What Happens to Someone Who Has a Gun but Has Become a Person Prohibited From Purchasing Guns?

The state of Florida has no law requiring a person who becomes someone prohibited from owning or buying a weapon in Florida to surrender their weapon. Law enforcement also isn’t allowed to take their firearms.

Only when there is a court-imposed protective order it’s when your firearms can be confiscated. The person must refuse to surrender his or her firearms in order to be considered a violation of the order.


Buying a handgun in Florida is easier than in other states. You don’t have to get a permit or license in order to buy one. Just make sure that you meet all the requirements and wait for a three-day period for the background check and you can then get your handgun.

James Forrester is a lifelong gun and firearms owner, and an even bigger advocate for gun safety. He created with the purpose of sharing helpful tips and educating others on how to keep guns and weapons safe and secure.