(1)(a) A licensed importer, licensed manufacturer, or licensed dealer may not sell or deliver from her or his inventory at her or his licensed premises any firearm to another person, other than a licensed importer, licensed manufacturer, licensed dealer, or licensed collector, until she or he has:
1. Obtained a completed form from the potential buyer or transferee, which form shall have been promulgated by the Department of Law Enforcement and provided by the licensed importer, licensed manufacturer, or licensed dealer, which shall include the name, date of birth, gender, race, and social security number or other identification number of such potential buyer or transferee and has inspected proper identification including an identification containing a photograph of the potential buyer or transferee.
22. Collected a fee from the potential buyer for processing the criminal history check of the potential buyer. The fee shall be established by the Department of Law Enforcement and may not exceed $8 per transaction. The Department of Law Enforcement may reduce, or suspend collection of, the fee to reflect payment received from the Federal Government applied to the cost of maintaining the criminal history check system established by this section as a means of facilitating or supplementing the National Instant Criminal Background Check System. The Department of Law Enforcement shall, by rule, establish procedures for the fees to be transmitted by the licensee to the Department of Law Enforcement. All such fees shall be deposited into the Department of Law Enforcement Operating Trust Fund, but shall be segregated from all other funds deposited into such trust fund and must be accounted for separately. Such segregated funds must not be used for any purpose other than the operation of the criminal history checks required by this section. The Department of Law Enforcement, each year prior to February 1, shall make a full accounting of all receipts and expenditures of such funds to the President of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the majority and minority leaders of each house of the Legislature, and the chairs of the appropriations committees of each house of the Legislature. In the event that the cumulative amount of funds collected exceeds the cumulative amount of expenditures by more than $2.5 million, excess funds may be used for the purpose of purchasing soft body armor for law enforcement officers.
3. Requested, by means of a toll-free telephone call, the Department of Law Enforcement to conduct a check of the information as reported and reflected in the Florida Crime Information Center and National Crime Information Center systems as of the date of the request.
4. Received a unique approval number for that inquiry from the Department of Law Enforcement, and recorded the date and such number on the consent form.
(b) However, if the person purchasing, or receiving delivery of, the firearm is a holder of a valid concealed weapons or firearms license pursuant to the provisions of s. 790.06 or holds an active certification from the Criminal Justice Standards and Training Commission as a “law enforcement officer,” a “correctional officer,” or a “correctional probation officer” as defined in s. 943.10(1), (2), (3), (6), (7), (8), or (9), this subsection does not apply.
(c) This subsection does not apply to the purchase, trade, or transfer of a rifle or shotgun by a resident of this state when the resident makes such purchase, trade, or transfer from a licensed importer, licensed manufacturer, or licensed dealer in another state.
(2) Upon receipt of a request for a criminal history record check, the Department of Law Enforcement shall, during the licensee’s call or by return call, forthwith:
(a) Review any records available to determine if the potential buyer or transferee:
1. Has been convicted of a felony and is prohibited from receipt or possession of a firearm pursuant to s. 790.23;
2. Has been convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence, and therefore is prohibited from purchasing a firearm;
3. Has had adjudication of guilt withheld or imposition of sentence suspended on any felony or misdemeanor crime of domestic violence unless 3 years have elapsed since probation or any other conditions set by the court have been fulfilled or expunction has occurred; or
4. Has been adjudicated mentally defective or has been committed to a mental institution by a court or as provided in sub-sub-subparagraph b.(II), and as a result is prohibited by state or federal law from purchasing a firearm.
a. As used in this subparagraph, “adjudicated mentally defective” means a determination by a court that a person, as a result of marked subnormal intelligence, or mental illness, incompetency, condition, or disease, is a danger to himself or herself or to others or lacks the mental capacity to contract or manage his or her own affairs. The phrase includes a judicial finding of incapacity under s. 744.331(6)(a), an acquittal by reason of insanity of a person charged with a criminal offense, and a judicial finding that a criminal defendant is not competent to stand trial.
b. As used in this subparagraph, “committed to a mental institution” means:
(I) Involuntary commitment, commitment for mental defectiveness or mental illness, and commitment for substance abuse. The phrase includes involuntary inpatient placement as defined in s. 394.467, involuntary outpatient placement as defined in s. 394.4655, involuntary assessment and stabilization under s. 397.6818, and involuntary substance abuse treatment under s. 397.6957, but does not include a person in a mental institution for observation or discharged from a mental institution based upon the initial review by the physician or a voluntary admission to a mental institution; or
(II) Notwithstanding sub-sub-subparagraph (I), voluntary admission to a mental institution for outpatient or inpatient treatment of a person who had an involuntary examination under s. 394.463, where each of the following conditions have been met:
(A) An examining physician found that the person is an imminent danger to himself or herself or others.
(B) The examining physician certified that if the person did not agree to voluntary treatment, a petition for involuntary outpatient or inpatient treatment would have been filed under s. 394.463(2)(i)4., or the examining physician certified that a petition was filed and the person subsequently agreed to voluntary treatment prior to a court hearing on the petition.
(C) Before agreeing to voluntary treatment, the person received written notice of that finding and certification, and written notice that as a result of such finding, he or she may be prohibited from purchasing a firearm, and may not be eligible to apply for or retain a concealed weapon or firearms license under s. 790.06 and the person acknowledged such notice in writing, in substantially the following form:
“I understand that the doctor who examined me believes I am a danger to myself or to others. I understand that if I do not agree to voluntary treatment, a petition will be filed in court to require me to receive involuntary treatment. I understand that if that petition is filed, I have the right to contest it. In the event a petition has been filed, I understand that I can subsequently agree to voluntary treatment prior to a court hearing. I understand that by agreeing to voluntary treatment in either of these situations, I may be prohibited from buying firearms and from applying for or retaining a concealed weapons or firearms license until I apply for and receive relief from that restriction under Florida law.”
(D) A judge or a magistrate has, pursuant to sub-sub-subparagraph c.(II), reviewed the record of the finding, certification, notice, and written acknowledgment classifying the person as an imminent danger to himself or herself or others, and ordered that such record be submitted to the department.
c. In order to check for these conditions, the department shall compile and maintain an automated database of persons who are prohibited from purchasing a firearm based on court records of adjudications of mental defectiveness or commitments to mental institutions.
(I) Except as provided in sub-sub-subparagraph (II), clerks of court shall submit these records to the department within 1 month after the rendition of the adjudication or commitment. Reports shall be submitted in an automated format. The reports must, at a minimum, include the name, along with any known alias or former name, the sex, and the date of birth of the subject.
(II) For persons committed to a mental institution pursuant to sub-sub-subparagraph b.(II), within 24 hours after the person’s agreement to voluntary admission, a record of the finding, certification, notice, and written acknowledgment must be filed by the administrator of the receiving or treatment facility, as defined in s. 394.455, with the clerk of the court for the county in which the involuntary examination under s. 394.463 occurred. No fee shall be charged for the filing under this sub-sub-subparagraph. The clerk must present the records to a judge or magistrate within 24 hours after receipt of the records. A judge or magistrate is required and has the lawful authority to review the records ex parte and, if the judge or magistrate determines that the record supports the classifying of the person as an imminent danger to himself or herself or others, to order that the record be submitted to the department. If a judge or magistrate orders the submittal of the record to the department, the record must be submitted to the department within 24 hours.
d. A person who has been adjudicated mentally defective or committed to a mental institution, as those terms are defined in this paragraph, may petition the court that made the adjudication or commitment, or the court that ordered that the record be submitted to the department pursuant to sub-sub-subparagraph c.(II), for relief from the firearm disabilities imposed by such adjudication or commitment. A copy of the petition shall be served on the state attorney for the county in which the person was adjudicated or committed. The state attorney may object to and present evidence relevant to the relief sought by the petition. The hearing on the petition may be open or closed as the petitioner may choose. The petitioner may present evidence and subpoena witnesses to appear at the hearing on the petition. The petitioner may confront and cross-examine witnesses called by the state attorney. A record of the hearing shall be made by a certified court reporter or by court-approved electronic means. The court shall make written findings of fact and conclusions of law on the issues before it and issue a final order. The court shall grant the relief requested in the petition if the court finds, based on the evidence presented with respect to the petitioner’s reputation, the petitioner’s mental health record and, if applicable, criminal history record, the circumstances surrounding the firearm disability, and any other evidence in the record, that the petitioner will not be likely to act in a manner that is dangerous to public safety and that granting the relief would not be contrary to the public interest. If the final order denies relief, the petitioner may not petition again for relief from firearm disabilities until 1 year after the date of the final order. The petitioner may seek judicial review of a final order denying relief in the district court of appeal having jurisdiction over the court that issued the order. The review shall be conducted de novo. Relief from a firearm disability granted under this sub-subparagraph has no effect on the loss of civil rights, including firearm rights, for any reason other than the particular adjudication of mental defectiveness or commitment to a mental institution from which relief is granted.
e. Upon receipt of proper notice of relief from firearm disabilities granted under sub-subparagraph d., the department shall delete any mental health record of the person granted relief from the automated database of persons who are prohibited from purchasing a firearm based on court records of adjudications of mental defectiveness or commitments to mental institutions.
f. The department is authorized to disclose data collected pursuant to this subparagraph to agencies of the Federal Government and other states for use exclusively in determining the lawfulness of a firearm sale or transfer. The department is also authorized to disclose this data to the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services for purposes of determining eligibility for issuance of a concealed weapons or concealed firearms license and for determining whether a basis exists for revoking or suspending a previously issued license pursuant to s. 790.06(10). When a potential buyer or transferee appeals a nonapproval based on these records, the clerks of court and mental institutions shall, upon request by the department, provide information to help determine whether the potential buyer or transferee is the same person as the subject of the record. Photographs and any other data that could confirm or negate identity must be made available to the department for such purposes, notwithstanding any other provision of state law to the contrary. Any such information that is made confidential or exempt from disclosure by law shall retain such confidential or exempt status when transferred to the department.
(b) Inform the licensee making the inquiry either that records demonstrate that the buyer or transferee is so prohibited and provide the licensee a nonapproval number, or provide the licensee with a unique approval number.
(c)1. Review any records available to it to determine whether the potential buyer or transferee has been indicted or has had an information filed against her or him for an offense that is a felony under either state or federal law, or, as mandated by federal law, has had an injunction for protection against domestic violence entered against the potential buyer or transferee under s. 741.30, has had an injunction for protection against repeat violence entered against the potential buyer or transferee under s. 784.046, or has been arrested for a dangerous crime as specified in s. 907.041(4)(a) or for any of the following enumerated offenses:
j. Stalking or aggravated stalking under s. 784.048.
If the review indicates any such indictment, information, or arrest, the department shall provide to the licensee a conditional nonapproval number.
2. Within 24 working hours, the department shall determine the disposition of the indictment, information, or arrest and inform the licensee as to whether the potential buyer is prohibited from receiving or possessing a firearm. For purposes of this paragraph, “working hours” means the hours from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, excluding legal holidays.
3. The office of the clerk of court, at no charge to the department, shall respond to any department request for data on the disposition of the indictment, information, or arrest as soon as possible, but in no event later than 8 working hours.
4. The department shall determine as quickly as possible within the allotted time period whether the potential buyer is prohibited from receiving or possessing a firearm.
5. If the potential buyer is not so prohibited, or if the department cannot determine the disposition information within the allotted time period, the department shall provide the licensee with a conditional approval number.
6. If the buyer is so prohibited, the conditional nonapproval number shall become a nonapproval number.
7. The department shall continue its attempts to obtain the disposition information and may retain a record of all approval numbers granted without sufficient disposition information. If the department later obtains disposition information which indicates:
a. That the potential buyer is not prohibited from owning a firearm, it shall treat the record of the transaction in accordance with this section; or
b. That the potential buyer is prohibited from owning a firearm, it shall immediately revoke the conditional approval number and notify local law enforcement.
8. During the time that disposition of the indictment, information, or arrest is pending and until the department is notified by the potential buyer that there has been a final disposition of the indictment, information, or arrest, the conditional nonapproval number shall remain in effect.
(3) In the event of scheduled computer downtime, electronic failure, or similar emergency beyond the control of the Department of Law Enforcement, the department shall immediately notify the licensee of the reason for, and estimated length of, such delay. After such notification, the department shall forthwith, and in no event later than the end of the next business day of the licensee, either inform the requesting licensee if its records demonstrate that the buyer or transferee is prohibited from receipt or possession of a firearm pursuant to Florida and Federal law or provide the licensee with a unique approval number. Unless notified by the end of said next business day that the buyer or transferee is so prohibited, and without regard to whether she or he has received a unique approval number, the licensee may complete the sale or transfer and shall not be deemed in violation of this section with respect to such sale or transfer.
(4)(a) Any records containing any of the information set forth in subsection (1) pertaining to a buyer or transferee who is not found to be prohibited from receipt or transfer of a firearm by reason of Florida and federal law which records are created by the Department of Law Enforcement to conduct the criminal history record check shall be confidential and exempt from the provisions of s. 119.07(1) and may not be disclosed by the Department of Law Enforcement or any officer or employee thereof to any person or to another agency. The Department of Law Enforcement shall destroy any such records forthwith after it communicates the approval and nonapproval numbers to the licensee and, in any event, such records shall be destroyed within 48 hours after the day of the response to the licensee’s request.
(b) Notwithstanding the provisions of this subsection, the Department of Law Enforcement may maintain records of NCIC transactions to the extent required by the Federal Government, and may maintain a log of dates of requests for criminal history records checks, unique approval and nonapproval numbers, license identification numbers, and transaction numbers corresponding to such dates for a period of not longer than 2 years or as otherwise required by law.
(c) Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to allow the State of Florida to maintain records containing the names of purchasers or transferees who receive unique approval numbers or to maintain records of firearm transactions.
(d) Any officer or employee, or former officer or employee of the Department of Law Enforcement or law enforcement agency who intentionally and maliciously violates the provisions of this subsection commits a felony of the third degree punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.
(5) The Department of Law Enforcement shall establish a toll-free telephone number which shall be operational 7 days a week with the exception of Christmas Day and New Year’s Day, for a period of 12 hours a day beginning at 9 a.m. and ending at 9 p.m., for purposes of responding to inquiries as described in this section from licensed manufacturers, licensed importers, and licensed dealers. The Department of Law Enforcement shall employ and train such personnel as are necessary expeditiously to administer the provisions of this section.
(6) Any person who is denied the right to receive or purchase a firearm as a result of the procedures established by this section may request a criminal history records review and correction in accordance with the rules promulgated by the Department of Law Enforcement.
(7) It shall be unlawful for any licensed dealer, licensed manufacturer, or licensed importer willfully and intentionally to request criminal history record information under false pretenses, or willfully and intentionally to disseminate criminal history record information to any person other than the subject of such information. Any person convicted of a violation of this subsection commits a felony of the third degree punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.
(8) The Department of Law Enforcement shall promulgate regulations to ensure the identity, confidentiality, and security of all records and data provided pursuant to this section.
(9) This section shall become effective at such time as the Department of Law Enforcement has notified all licensed importers, licensed manufacturers, and licensed dealers in writing that the procedures and toll-free number described in this section are operational. This section shall remain in effect only during such times as the procedures described in subsection (2) remain operational.
(10) A licensed importer, licensed manufacturer, or licensed dealer is not required to comply with the requirements of this section in the event of:
(a) Unavailability of telephone service at the licensed premises due to the failure of the entity which provides telephone service in the state, region, or other geographical area in which the licensee is located to provide telephone service to the premises of the licensee due to the location of said premises; or the interruption of telephone service by reason of hurricane, tornado, flood, natural disaster, or other act of God, war, invasion, insurrection, riot, or other bona fide emergency, or other reason beyond the control of the licensee; or
(b) Failure of the Department of Law Enforcement to comply with the requirements of subsections (2) and (3).
(11) Compliance with the provisions of this chapter shall be a complete defense to any claim or cause of action under the laws of any state for liability for damages arising from the importation or manufacture, or the subsequent sale or transfer to any person who has been convicted in any court of a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding 1 year, of any firearm which has been shipped or transported in interstate or foreign commerce. The Department of Law Enforcement, its agents and employees shall not be liable for any claim or cause of action under the laws of any state for liability for damages arising from its actions in lawful compliance with this section.
(12)(a) Any potential buyer or transferee who willfully and knowingly provides false information or false or fraudulent identification commits a felony of the third degree punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.
(b) Any licensed importer, licensed manufacturer, or licensed dealer who violates the provisions of subsection (1) commits a felony of the third degree punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.
(c) Any employee or agency of a licensed importer, licensed manufacturer, or licensed dealer who violates the provisions of subsection (1) commits a felony of the third degree punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.
(d) Any person who knowingly acquires a firearm through purchase or transfer intended for the use of a person who is prohibited by state or federal law from possessing or receiving a firearm commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.
(13) This section does not apply to employees of sheriff’s offices, municipal police departments, correctional facilities or agencies, or other criminal justice or governmental agencies when the purchases or transfers are made on behalf of an employing agency for official law enforcement purposes.
History.—s. 1, ch. 89-191; s. 1, ch. 90-316; s. 4, ch. 92-183; s. 1, ch. 93-197; s. 1, ch. 94-256; s. 14, ch. 95-195; s. 8, ch. 95-430; s. 7, ch. 96-392; s. 429, ch. 96-406; s. 29, ch. 97-94; s. 1816, ch. 97-102; s. 6, ch. 98-284; ss. 8, 9, ch. 99-300; s. 1, ch. 2000-218; s. 12, ch. 2002-205; s. 3, ch. 2003-23; s. 1, ch. 2004-79; s. 1, ch. 2006-176; s. 1, ch. 2008-50; s. 1, ch. 2009-233; s. 1, ch. 2010-62; s. 4, ch. 2011-145; s. 1, ch. 2013-249; s. 11, ch. 2016-127.
A. Section 1, ch. 89-191, provides that “[t]his section expires on the effective date of federal law which provides access to national criminal history information and requires national criminal history checks on potential buyers or transferees on firearms.”
B. Section 3, ch. 90-316, provides that “[t]his act shall not be construed to nullify the expiration of s. 790.065, Florida Statutes, provided for in chapter 89-191, Laws of Florida.”
2Note.—Section 2, ch. 2009-233, provides that “[s]ection 790.065, Florida Statutes, must be reviewed by the Legislature and approved for continuation before the limit of $8 on the fee established by the Department of Law Enforcement under s. 790.065(1)(b), Florida Statutes, may be increased.” Paragraph (1)(b) was redesignated as subparagraph (1)(a)2. by s. 4, ch. 2011-145.