Fact-check: How easy is it to get a gun in Florida?
Emma Gonzalez, a high school senior who survived the Parkland, Fla., school shooting, criticized Florida’s gun laws and President Donald Trump’s response during a protest outside of a federal courthouse in Fort Lauderdale.
"Every single person up here today, all these people should be home grieving," Gonzalez said Feb. 17, three days after the shooting that killed 17 people. "But instead we are up here standing together because if all our government and president can do is send thoughts and prayers, then it's time for victims to be the change that we need to see."
Transcripts and video of her plea for lawmakers to do more rushed the Internet. So PolitiFact Florida fact-checked some of the claims from her speech.
"In Florida, to buy a gun you do not need a permit, you do not need a gun license, and once you buy it you do not need to register it."
This information tracks with the National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action, which lobbies for the NRA and tracks laws relating to gun use. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement also says the state does not require a specialized permit to buy a firearm, including rifles and shotguns.
To buy a gun in Florida, buyers must be 18 for a rifle or 21 for a handgun. They do not need a permit and are not fingerprinted. A background check is conducted using demographic data.
A person may be prohibited from purchasing a gun if they have a felony conviction or a misdemeanor for domestic violence, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
"You do not need a permit to carry a concealed rifle or shotgun."
This is probably the weakest line of the speech. There is no permit available to carry a concealed rifle or shotgun, because concealed carry of those weapons is not allowed.
"In Florida, it is against the law to carry a concealed firearm or concealed weapon without the department’s license, which does not allow for the concealed carrying of a rifle or shotgun," said Aaron Keller, Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services spokesman.
Handguns, as well as tear gas guns or knives, are eligible for concealed carry permits.
The department issues licenses for the carry of concealed weapons or firearms to people who meet the criteria. Anyone carrying a concealed firearm without a license commits a third-degree felony.
Someone would not be allowed to obtain a concealed carry license if he or she has been found guilty of a crime or drug or alcohol abuse, or been to a mental facility.
The state restricts where concealed carry permit holders can legally carry a gun. That list includes schools, polling places and courthouses.
"You can buy as many guns as you want at one time."
Florida has no law against bulk gun purchases or sales, according to the Giffords Law Center, a group that pushes for gun safety. (We also could not find such a law on the books.)
The U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives previously required sellers to report multiple specific semi-automatic rifle sales to one buyer in Arizona, New Mexico, California and Texas. People in other states can choose to report suspicious sales, but do not have to.
In Florida, someone must wait three days before a purchased handgun can be delivered, due to a constitutional amendment passed in 1990. However, this only relates to handguns, like pistols or revolvers. The AR-15 rifle the shooter used would not have been covered by this law.
"If the president wants to come up to me and tell me to my face that it was a terrible tragedy … I’m going to happily ask him how much money he received from the National Rifle Association … It doesn’t matter because I already know. $30 million."
According to the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan research organization that tracks political donations, the NRA spent $11,432,118 in favor of Trump and $265 in favor of his opponent, Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton during the 2016 presidential election. The NRA also spent $19,756,081 against Clinton — and $0 against Trump — on political advertisements asking voters to refrain from voting for Clinton.
All of the money poured into Trump’s benefit totals $31,188,199.
"In February of 2017, one year ago, President Trump repealed an Obama-era regulation that would have made it easier to block the sale of firearms to people with certain mental illnesses."
President Donald Trump signed a bill to undo an Obama-era gun control regulation almost one year to the date of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
The executive order, which Obama issued in the final year of his presidency, required the Social Security Administration to release information about mentally ill recipients. That information would be included in background checks for gun purchases and would essentially stop the sale of guns to people with mental illnesses, according to a PolitiFact article tracking Trump’s promise to slash the regulation.
The executive order was undone when Trump signed House Joint Resolution 40 on Feb.28, 2017. The NRA and the American Civil Liberties Union both denounced the Obama executive order. The ACLU said in a statement it reinforced the idea that people with mental disabilities are violent. It is unclear if the Obama-era order would have affected Cruz’s attempt to purchase a weapon.