You loan your firearm to your best friend. What happens if they find themselves in a situation where they have to use it in self-defense? Is it legal? Are you responsible for your friend’s actions with your firearm?

What the law says

Florida law does not require a firearm to be registered when you sell or lend it to another person. Therefore, a person is free to lend their firearms to other individuals, with a few restrictions. State and federal law prohibit certain people from possessing firearms. You may not knowingly lend to these people. For example, prohibited persons include convicted felons or someone who was convicted of a crime of domestic violence.

A general rule

You should never lend your firearm to anyone under the age of 18, as there are some specific requirements regarding when a minor may possess a gun. Furthermore, you can be liable for loaning a firearm to a person who will not use or handle it in a responsible manner. For instance, never lend your firearm to someone who is under the influence of alcohol or controlled substances, or to someone you know suffers from mental illness or who is behaving erratically. Following these parameters will help keep you on the right side of the law.

As long as your friend is legally able to possess a firearm, and not displaying any behaviors that should tip you off to a problem, you would not be criminally or civilly liable if he is forced to use your firearm to defend himself. 

If you have any questions about lending your firearm to a third party, please call U.S. LawShield and ask to speak to your Independent Program Attorney.