What You Need To Know About Florida Gun Laws in the Wake of Another Theatre Shooting

As yet another tragic movie theatre shooting unfolds, this time in Lafayette, Louisiana, all eyes are turning to the state’s gun laws and just how the shooter was allowed to purchase a weapon. More and more information is surfacing about John Russell Houser, who shot and killed two innocent people and injured nine others at a showing of the movie “Trainwreck” last Thursday. Houser took his own life as well. The 59-year-old apparently had a bit of an unstable past, including an involuntary stay at a mental institute. He also had multiple arrests and a record of “erratic and threatening behavior,” according to court documents. At one point, Houser’s wife was so concerned with his mental state she removed all guns and weapons from their home. But somehow he legally purchased the semi-automatic handgun he used in Thursday’s shooting at a pawn shop in Alabama.

The state of Louisiana does in fact have more relaxed AR-15 Rifles and other gun control laws than other states, but this recent event could lead to modifications of these laws. Louisiana state Rep. Terry Landry Sr. said in a press conference on Friday that said it is a problem when a person who is mentally unstable “can get access to a gun and wreak havoc on our community.”

So what are the Florida laws? Can anyone walk into a local gun shop and purchase a weapon?

In order to legally carry a firearm with you, you must have a license issued pursuant to Florida Statute 790.06. The requirements to purchase a handgun in Florida are:

  • You must be a Florida resident and at least 21 years of age
  • A background check using demographic data will be conducted
  • You must demonstrate competence with a firearm
  • You must take part in a mandatory three day waiting period for all handgun purchases
  • You cannot have been committed to a mental institution
  • You cannot be a convicted felon
  • You cannot have been contacted by lawyers for domestic violence claims sentenced for a domestic violence crime within the past 3 years

If you qualify for the license, you must provide your proof of competence with a firearm, have your fingerprints taken, complete an application, provide a statement that you desire a firearm license as a means of lawful self-defense, and pay any related application fees. Once the license has been issued, it remains valid for seven years in the state of Florida.

Counties, cities and municipalities can pass laws to lengthen the waiting period for any type of firearm, so you should consult your local county commission to determine the exact number of days. They will also suggest local shops to buy the accessories and also best shops to purchase AR-15 magazines. The requirements to purchase a long gun, or rifle, are very similar except the minimum age is just 18 years old in Florida.

For questions related to your criminal or personal injury case, contact TJ Grimaldi at McIntyre Thanasides Bringgold Elliott Grimaldi & Guito, P.A.