This is the first post of a weekly series comparing gun laws in different states.
Neither states require permits to purchase, nor do they have gun registration requirements. Both states require a concealed carry permit for handguns. Additionally both states are shall-issue states in regards to the issuance of concealed carry licenses. Though as we will see, Colorado does grant its sheriffs some discretion in issuing licenses. Both states have laws prohibiting counties or any local government from keeping a registered list of firearms or their purchasers. As per Federal law any licensed dealer, manufacturer or importer must provide secure weapon storage or a safety device with any purchase of a handgun.
Neither Florida nor Colorado have laws beyond this but, both states require gun owners who intentionally or reckless provide a minor access to a firearm to take preventative measures. Thus in either state secure gun storage would be a good idea.
Purchasing in Colorado
No permit is required to purchase a gun in Colorado but this state does enforce background checks for most transfers including sales between unlicensed persons. Deals between unlicensed persons must then go to a licensed dealer to process the transfer, thus initiating a background check. There are a number of situations where this law does not apply and no background check is required. The full list of these exceptions can be found in Colo. Rev. Stat. 18-12-112.
Purchasing in Florida
No permit is required to purchase a firearm in Florida. This covers rifles, shotguns and handguns. However at the time of purchase the dealer must obtain a completed for and approval from the Department of Law Enforcement through a toll-free number. The Department of Law Enforcement will destroy all records of approval or non-approval within 48 hours after responding. There are a couple exemptions from this requirement:
- Those who hold a valid concealed carry permit.
- Is an active law enforcement officer.
- Residents who purchase from a licensed importer, manufacturer or dealer from another state.
Additionally Florida has a 3-day waiting period between purchase and actual acquisition that Colorado does not have. This 3-day waiting period is only enacted for people who do not possess a concealed carry permit.
Concealed Carry Permits in Florida and Colorado
To obtain a concealed weapon permit in Florida there are a number of requirements, the list of full eligibility can be found in Fla. Stat. 790.06. Colorado similarly has an extensive list of requirements that are in Colo. Rev. Stat. 18-12-203. The following is a brief summary of a few of the standout differences.
In Florida first you must be a U.S. resident, unlike in Colorado where you must be a resident Colorado specifically. Colorado requires applicants to demonstrate competence with a handgun. This can be through certified training, military service, police service or at the time of application. Florida applicants have the same requirement but it can be fulfilled through hunter education or safety course as well.
In Colorado and Florida in order to get a concealed carry license you must not chronically and habitually drink to impairment. This is gauged by any driving convictions or substance abuse services an applicant has been committed to. A Florida concealed carry permit is valid for 7 years. Colorado permits are valid for 5 years.
Other difference of note is that while both Florida and Colorado don’t ban certain types of “assault” weapons, like other states do, Colorado does prohibit the sale or possession of large-capacity magazines. Large-capacity magazines are defined by Colorado law as a detachable magazine or box that has the ability to accept more than 15 rounds or a fixed magazine that can hold more that 28 inches of shotgun shells. Also, any detachable magazine that can accept more than 8 shotgun shells when combined with a regular fixed magazine.
Like all laws these are subject to change. There may also be county and city laws not covered in this article that change your ability to carry, transport and otherwise possess your firearm.
Katey Hart is a Canadian writer who recently moved to the US. She is new to the gun debate, which is basically a non-starter in her home country, and is fascinated by all the vastly different gun laws in each state. While she does not have a lot of experience in the area, due to her recent move she hopes to clear up some misinformation and myths other newcomers may also have by comparing gun laws in from different states.