Gun control groups have rated Florida one of the easiest states to acquire a legal weapon in, and among states those with low ratings, Florida is one of the largest and most densely populated. Semiautomatic, assault-style rifles, like the Sig Sauer AR-15 used in the shooting at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, can be legally purchased in Florida by anyone who passes a federal background check. A background check is required by all licensed dealers, including gun shops and retailers; but, background checks are not required by unlicensed private dealers, who can often be found at gun shows.
The FBI conducts federal background checks. The bureau has been known to reject applicants for things like a criminal history, drug use, or mental illness, though this happened in only one percent of background checks.
Some states—California, Connecticut, and New York—require an additional level of screening to legally purchase a gun. Florida, like most states, has no law implementing its own state-level background checks. Florida does, however, require the passage of its own background check for a concealed carry permit.
The shooter responsible for the Pulse Nightclub massacre, did have a concealed carry permit for his Glock semiautomatic pistol, which he had at the seen. He also passed the FBI’s federal background check, despite being investigated by the FBI on two separate occasions.
Additionally, Florida, like many states, does not have any law determining legal magazine capacity. A small group of states has set a limit on magazine capacity, varying between 10 and 15 rounds. Orlando police have not yet states whether or not high-capacity magazines were used in the Pulse Nightclub shooting, though they are usually preferred by mass shooters, because they allow for lots of shots to be fired before reloading.
In the last 20 years, high-capacity magazines have been used in 34 mass shootings, according to the FBI. At Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut, Adam Lanza used an AR-15 with 30-round magazines to kill 26 children and faculty members. In Aurora, Colorado, James Holmes used an AR-15 with a 100-round drum to kill 12 people at a movie theatre.
Florida is distinguished from so-called “gun friendly” states, like Texas, Kentucky, and Louisiana, because according to the NRA, Florida does not allow for open carry with or without a permit. According to the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, Florida also requires a three-day waiting period for gun purchases. For more information regarding Florida’s gun laws, [Click Here].