With so many choices of ammunition to choose from nowadays, it’s important for you to know what you can and cannot legally have. The only ammunition restricted under federal law is armor-piercing handgun ammunition. Federal law defines armor-piercing ammunition as a projectile or projectile core which may be used in a handgun and which is constructed entirely from one or a combination of tungsten alloys, steel, iron, brass, bronze, beryllium copper, or depleted uranium or is a full jacketed projectile larger than a .22 caliber designed and intended for use in a handgun and whose jacket has a weight of more than 25% of the total weight of the projectile. Florida state law provides more restrictions than federal law.
In Florida, there are five types of ammunition that are illegal to possess. The list of prohibited ammunition is found in Florida statute 790.31 and it is as follows:
- Armor-piercing bullet. The Florida definition of armor-piercing is defined as a bullet which has a steel inner core or a core of an equivalent hardness and a truncated cone and which is designed for use in a handgun as armor-piercing or metal piercing bullet.
- Exploding bullet. This is a bullet that can be fired from any firearm if such bullet is designed or altered so as to detonate or forcefully break up through the use of an explosive or deflagrant contained wholly or partially within or attached to such bullet. Exploding bullet does not include any bullet designed to expand or break up through the mechanical forces of impact alone or any signaling device or a pest control device not designed to impact on any target.
- Dragon breath shotgun, which means any shotgun shell that contains exothermic pyrophoric misch metal as a projectile and that is designed for the sole purpose of throwing or spewing a flame or a fireball to simulate a flamethrower.
- Bolo shell. The bolo shell is any shell that can be fired in a firearm and that expels as projectiles two or more metal balls connected by a solid metal wire.
- Flechette shell, which is any shell that can be fired in a firearm and that expels two or more pieces of fin-stabilized solid metal wire or two or more solid type dart projectiles.
As long as the ammunition you buy does not fall into any of the five prohibited categories of ammunition, then you’re good to go. Although, do keep in mind that a prosecutor or a plaintiff in a civil suit could attempt to use the type or caliber of ammo you use against you in a criminal or civil trial if you are forced to use your firearm in self-defense. In a situation where you are forced to defend yourself, the stopping power of your ammunition is vitally important. However, self-defense ammo such as hollow point bullets are designed to combine the deep penetration of a fully jacketed bullet with the high levels of energy transfer and shock created by an expanding lead bullet.
A prosecutor in a criminal trial or the plaintiff in a civil trial may try to paint you as a person who is looking to kill or cause maximum damage to someone because you chose hollow point self-defense ammunition. This is why it’s important to have a defense attorney who’s not only an experienced trial lawyer, but is also experienced in handling firearm related cases who knows how to counter these arguments. Of course, if you use muzzleloading or black powder firearms, this video does not apply to you. If you have any questions at all about the type of ammunition you can legally use in Florida or any other Florida firearm or self-defense law questions, please give U.S. LawShield a call and ask to be connected to your Independent Program Attorney.