Firearms Laws in County Don't Match State's; St. Johns' Ordinances Are Being Reviewed Because They Conflict

Article excerpt

Byline: Shakaya Andres

Firearms regulations in St. Johns County are outdated and may be illegal.

For decades, the county has issued licenses based on standards set before 1977, Commissioner Mark Miner told board members and county staff last week. The rules say someone 18 or older can apply for a concealed weapons license.

They also say applicants must have good moral character, that if a license is issued it's good for two years and that the issuance of the license is conditional until a $100 bond is paid to the state. Also, under the law, applicants can be approved if they committed a felony at least two years prior, because their civil rights have been restored. The applicant also must not have been committed to a mental institution.

By operating under the old criteria, the county is creating confusion and complicating the process for people to enjoy their Second Amendment right to bear arms, said Miner, a Florida National guardsman.

"We want to simplify [our residents'] life," he said. "Our ordinance is in conflict with state law. On a personal level, I'm a huge advocate for our Second Amendment rights. I certainly don't want [the county] to impose illegal restrictions."

The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services licensing division is authorized to issue licenses to carry concealed firearms or other weapons. The Legislature regulates firearms and ammunition, including the purchase, sale, transfer, taxation, manufacture, ownership, possession and its transportation.

State law states that any existing and future county, city, town or municipal ordinances regulating firearms are null and void. …