ORLANDO, Fla. – After a mass shooting at a South Florida school that left 17 people dead, concerns over how easy or difficult it was to obtain a gun and who can and can't purchase one in Florida seemed to grow.
According to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement's website, it isn't difficult to purchase a firearm in the state of Florida, but there is a series of steps you must follow.
Before beginning that process, you should know if you're even eligible to purchase one. According to the FDLE, here is a list of 10 categories of people who can't purchase or possess a firearm under federal law:
In addition to the federal guidelines above, Florida law also prohibits people who fall under the following categories:
- Are adjudicated delinquent of a crime that would have been a felony if committed by an adult until the age of 24 or until record is expunged.
- Receive “Adjudication Withheld” on any felony or on a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence and three years has not yet elapsed since the completion of sentencing provisions.
- Were recently arrested for a potentially disqualifying crime which has not been dismissed or disposed of in court.
If someone fills out a form to purchase a firearm from a licensed dealer and it's not approved, there is an opportunity to appeal the decision, according to the FDLE.
According to the department's website, the person looking to purchase the firearm would need to fill out an appeal form in its entirety, including the section that calls for fingerprints conducted by a law enforcement agency, and mail it to the Firearm Purchase Program at the following address:
Florida Department of Law Enforcement
Firearm Eligibility Bureau
P.O. Box 1489
Tallahassee, FL 32302
The appeal, along with copies of any documents customers want to send to support their appeal, must be received within 60 days of the initial non-approval.
Once the appeal is received and logged, FDLE will send a letter of confirmation notifying the customer that it has been received. From there, the appeal will be considered and the customer's fingerprints will be compared to the fingerprints attached to the criminal history that may be in question.
If the fingerprints are not a match to the record that caused them to be disqualified, they should receive a letter of approval, according to the FDLE website. If they are a match, the Appeals Unit will have to review the criminal record, which is the basis for the non-approval, the site says.
If the Appeals Unit finds a mistake or any inconsistencies while reviewing the record, the FDLE will do the necessary research to eventually either overturn or uphold the non-approval, according to the website.
If the non-approval decision is upheld, the FDLE will send a letter of sustained non-approval, which will refer customers to the proper agency or agencies that may be able to help rectify the issue preventing the purchase of the firearm.
The amount of time it takes for a decision to be made in the appeals process will vary due to the nature of the appeal and the volume of appeals being reviewed at that time.
Click here for more information on the appeals process.