By David S. Katz
Florida Statute §790.31 defines armor-piercing ammunition as well as other types of ammunition which are illegal under Florida law. The following types of ammunition are illegal in Florida: armor-piercing, exploding ammunition, dragon’s breath shotgun shells, bolo shells, or flechette shells.
These types of ammunition are defined in Florida Statute §790.31(1) as:
- “Armor-piercing bullet” means any bullet which has a steel inner core or core of equivalent hardness and a truncated cone and which is designed for use in a handgun as an armor-piercing or metal-piercing bullet.
- “Exploding bullet” means any bullet that can be fired from any firearm, if such bullet is designed or altered so as to detonate or forcibly break up through the use of an explosive or deflagrant contained wholly or partially within or attached to such bullet. The term does not include any bullet designed to expand or break up through the mechanical forces of impact alone or any signaling device or pest control device not designed to impact on any target.
- “Dragon’s breath shotgun shell” means any shotgun shell that contains exothermic pyrophoric misch metal as the projectile and that is designed for the sole purpose of throwing or spewing a flame or fireball to simulate a flamethrower.
- “Bolo shell” means any shell that can be fired in a firearm and that expels as projectiles two or more metal balls connected by solid metal wire.
- “Flechette shell” means 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 dart-type projectiles.
Florida Statute §790.31(2)(a) makes it a third degree felony to manufacture, sell, offer for sale, or deliver any armor-piercing bullet, exploding bullet, dragon’s breath shotgun shell, bolo shell, or flechette shell. Although it is not illegal to simply possess this type of ammunition, it is a third degree felony to have any of these types of ammunition loaded in a handgun or firearm if the person has knowledge of its capabilities. See Florida Statute §790.31(2)(b). Finally, under Florida Statute §790.31(2)(c), it is a crime to possess the types of ammunition described above with the intent to use it in the commission of a crime. A person who violates this subsection commits a felony of the second degree.
Florida law does NOT make illegal the mere possession of any of these types of ammunition. Further, there is a notable exception located in the last part of Florida Statute §790.31. The exception is for law enforcement and law enforcement agencies. Florida Statute §790.31(3) allows for the possession, manufacture, and sale and delivery of the items described as prohibited if the possession, sale and manufacturing is done by or for law enforcement agencies.
About David Katz