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How to Purchase a Firearm from a Gun Store in Florida

February 18, 20217 min read

How To Purchase a Firearm From a Gun Store in Florida

What's Up Sheepdogs? Ryan here with Tampa Carry.

When you attempt to purchase a firearm, you’ll need to complete an ATF Form 4473.

atf form 4473

This document will ask for some basic information about yourself, such as name, date of birth, Social Security number, address, and so on. 

Section 21 asks you a series of questions to determine if you are legally allowed to purchase, possess, or even touch a firearm under federal law. 

What Is A Straw Purchase?

Questions 21.a . Are you the actual transferee/buyer of the firearm(s) listed on this form?

Sometimes people who are prohibited from purchasing a firearm under federal law will hire someone to buy guns for them. This act is called a straw purchase and is punishable by 15 years in prison. 

Question 21.a. is asking if you are purchasing the firearm for yourself or for someone who is not legally allowed to possess a firearm. 

Is This A Crime?
Yolanda is purchasing a firearm for her boyfriend, who has been convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence. When Yolanda was completing the ATF Form 4473, she marked yes to question 21.a. Has Yolanda committed a crime? 

Yes, Yolanda has committed the crime of a straw purchase because she is attempting to purchase a firearm for a person who is prohibited from possessing, owning, or touching a gun under federal and state law. 

However, in the State of Florida, you are allowed to purchase a firearm as a gift for someone else as long as the person you are buy the firearm for does not give you any money in return and is not prohibited from purchasing the firearm themselves. We’re going to talk more about how you can legally purchase a firearm as a gift in a later section. 

Question 21.b. Are you under indictment or information in any court for a felony, or any other crime for which the judge could imprison you for more than one year, or are you a current member of the military who has been charged with violation(s) of the Uniform Code of Military Justice and whose charge(s) have been referred to a general court-martial?

Question 21.c. Have you ever been convicted in any court, including a military court, of a felony, or any other crime for which the judge could have imprisoned you for more than one year, even if you received a shorter sentence including probation?

Question 21.d. Are you a fugitive from justice?
These should be common sense.

Question 21.e.  Are you an unlawful user of, or addicted to, marijuana or any depressant, stimulant, narcotic drug, or any other controlled substance? Warning: The use of possession of marijuana remains unlawful under federal law regardless of whether it has been legalized or decriminalized for medicinal or recreational purposes in the state where you reside. 

As we discussed in a previous section, if you are a medical marijuana user or card holder in Florida, you must answer yes to question 21.e., and the firearms dealer is not legally allowed to sell you a firearm. 

Question 21.f. Have you ever been adjudicated as a mental defective OR have you ever been committed to a mental institution? 

What Does Adjudicated as a Mental Defective Mean?

A determination by a court, board, commission, or other lawful authority that a person, as a result of marked subnormal intelligence, or mental illness, incompetency, condition, or disease: (1) is a danger to himself or to others; or (2) lacks the mental capacity to contract or manage his own affairs. This term shall include: (1) a finding of insanity by a court in a  criminal case; and (2) those persons found incompetent to stand trial or found not guilty by reason of lack of mental responsibility. 

What Does Committed to a Mental Institution Mean?

A formal commitment of a person to a mental institution by a court, board, commission, or other lawful authority. The term includes a commitment to a mental institution involuntarily. The term includes commitments for mental defectiveness or mental illness. It also includes commitments for other reasons, such as for drug use. The term does not include a person in a mental institution for observation or a voluntary admission to a mental institution. 

Question 21.g. Have you ever been discharged from the Armed Forces under dishonorable conditions?

Question 21.h. Are you subject to a court order, including a military protection order issued by a military judge or magistrate, restraining you from harassing, stalking or threatening your child or intimate partner or child of such partner?

Question 21.i. Have you ever been convicted in any court of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence, or are you or have you ever been a member of the military and been convicted of a crime that included, as an element, the use of force against a person as identified in the instructions? 

Question 21.j. Have you ever renounced your United States citizenship? 

Question 21.k. Are you an alien illegally or unlawfully in the United States?

If you answer yes to questions 21.a. through 21.k., you are not permitted to purchase a firearm under federal law. Once you complete the form, you will sign the document to certify that the information is correct and accurate. 

Will I Need a Government-Issued ID? 

You will also be required to present a valid government-issued photo identification containing the purchaser's name, current residence address, and date of birth. A combination of government-issued documents can be used to meet this requirement. For instance, if your driver's license doesn't have your current residence address, you can provide a government-issued document containing your full legal name and current residence address as a second form of identification. An example of this could be a vehicle registration or water bill. 

What Is The Mandatory Waiting Period In Florida To Purchase a Firearm?

The State of Florida has a mandatory three-business-day wait for the purchase of a rifle, shotgun, or handgun. However, some counties have extended the waiting period to five business days. Many people think the waiting period is the time it takes to complete the background check, but this is false. The background check only takes a few minutes and is typically completed after the waiting period ends. When calculating the waiting period, it is important to remember that it does not include the day you purchase the firearm, the day you pick the gun up, weekends, or holidays. 
If John purchased a handgun in Hillsborough County on Wednesday, he would not be allowed to pick up his new firearm until Thursday of the following week. 

How Does the FBI Background Check Work?

Once you have completed the mandatory waiting period, you will have to return to the gun store to complete the final steps. When you arrive, the dealer will submit your background check to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement for review. The FDLE will respond with either an approval, denial, or conditional non-approval. 

Approved - If your background check is approved, you will be asked to certify (sign) the ATF Form 4473 that none of the information on the form has changed since you first filled the form out. Then the firearm is yours. 

Denied - If your background check is denied, it could mean one of two things. First, that you were not honest when answering the questions on Form 4473 or second, that the State of Florida made a mistake.

Either way, you will be provided with an appeal form and your control number that requires you to get fingerprinted and have a passport photo taken. You will need to submit all of this information to FDLE within 60 days of being denied. 

Conditional Non-Approval - If you receive a CN, this means that there is something in your past that the FDLE or FBI is unsure of, or that someone has the same name as you. It doesn’t mean you are denied; it simply means they need an additional five days to look deeper into your background. Sometimes the gun dealer will receive approval five minutes later, and other times, it will take a whole five days.

Stay in touch with the gun dealer, and they will keep you informed. 

That's all I have for today. So until next time keep training and stay safe...Talk to you soon,

Ryan G. Thomas

P.S. You’re one step away from getting your Florida concealed carry permit Click here to get started...

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Ryan G. Thomas

Ryan believes a trained and aware citizen is the best way to minimize crime, victims and senseless acts of violence. Ryan is a veteran of the United States Air Force and a father of three beautiful children. Ryan and his wife Tiffany met while doing inner city ministry for Operation Explosion in Tampa 12 years ago. He is passionate about God, his family, and his community. Ryan has a passion for the 2nd amendment and believes all Americans should have the right and ability to protect themselves and their families.

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