There is some confusion on background checks in Florida. The papers are all abuzz, because Pinellas County and Fort Lauderdale are requiring gun shows to conduct background checks on all sales that occur at gun shows. This is allowed because in November of 1998, the voters of the state of Florida passed the following amendment to the state constitution:

(b) Each county shall have the authority to require a criminal history
records check and a 3 to 5-day waiting period, excluding weekends and
legal holidays, in connection with the sale of any firearm occurring
within such county. For purposes of this subsection, the term “sale”
means the transfer of money or other valuable consideration for any
firearm when any part of the transaction is conducted on property to
which the public has the right of access. Holders of a concealed weapons
permit as prescribed by general law shall not be subject to the
provisions of this subsection when purchasing a firearm. 

 Note that there are two important exceptions to this provision: the holders of a CCW are not subject to it, and only gun sales that occur on land where the public has the right of public access. What does this mean? This means that a county may pass an ordinance prohibiting the sale of firearms on public property (which is the only land where the public has a right of access).

Fort Lauderdale is in Broward County, which along with Pinellas County, have both enacted laws requiring background checks and waiting periods for firearm purchases on public property. The local officials are threatening to shut the shows down or not renew their lease.

“If they continue to challenge our enforcement, it’s much easier to not have a gun show,” Seiler (the local official) said.

If I were the gun show promoter, I would look for a new venue NOT owned by the public immediately, and then I would open the show as before, but I am in your face like that.

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SiGraybeard · May 26, 2013 at 4:44 pm

A couple of years ago, I went to a gun show in Orlando, and was greeted by a sign that said all sales, even private, had to go through a background check – which meant dealer. I've never gone back to an Orlando gun show since then, although I have gone to gun shows in other counties.

Recently, a dealer told me that Orange County dropped that rule because of the state preemption of local firearms laws that passed last year. (This is where they affirmed counties can't declare gun free zones, under penalty of damages against the county officers personally). I can understand no show promoter wanting to spend the money to be a test case, but someone should see if the preemption covers this.

Divemedic · May 27, 2013 at 2:03 pm

Preemption does NOT cover waiting periods and background checks for weapons that are sold on public property in the two counties that have passed the ordnance. (Pinellas and Broward)
The Constitutional Amendment mentioned above overrules preemption.

Anonymous · July 18, 2013 at 2:38 pm

Which Florida counties require background checks on private sales at gun shows? I can't find this info anywhere. Thanks!

Divemedic · July 18, 2013 at 7:40 pm

I know that Pinellas and Broward do. I don't know about the other counties, you would have to research the ordinances of each county.

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