Gun Control Laws in Florida
Weapon and firearms charges in Florida have extremely serious consequences, especially when other crimes are involved. Under Florida’s 10-20-Life law, a person faces enhanced penalties if a weapon is used during the commission of a crime. A conviction in this regard involves a minimum mandatory jail sentence, monetary fines, and other serious penalties. Whether you are facing charges of firing a weapon and injuring someone, illegal possession of a machine gun, gun trafficking, or the illegal possession of a firearm or ammunition by a convicted felon, you need a seasoned Florida criminal defense attorney by your side during each stage of your criminal case. Contact Musca Law now at 1 (888) 484-5057 to learn more about your legal rights and options. Our skilled Florida criminal defense lawyers are ready to help you now.
Weapons Restrictions under Florida Law
Under the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act, there are new restrictions on possessing a gun in Florida, which are as follows:
- Minimum age. The minimum age for purchasing a gun in Florida has been increased from eighteen to 21;
- Waiting period. Those who purchase guns without a Florida Concealed Weapons License must wait for three days or until the completion of a background check in order to finalize the same; and
- Bans bump sticks. It is prohibited in Florida to use devices that allow for semi-automatic rifles to fire more quickly like a machine gun.
Types of Florida Weapons Charges
A weapons charge in Florida can be prosecuted as a felony or misdemeanor. There are other weapons that can lead to charges, including brass knuckles, tear gas guns, and tasers. The types of weapons charges in Florida are:
- Unlawful discharge of a firearm
- Unlawful possession of a firearm
- Unlawful sale of a firearm/gun trafficking
- Manufacturing of firearms
- Possession of a firearm
- Carrying a concealed firearm without a license
Despite the fact that the right to bear arms is protected by the Florida State Constitution as well as the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution, it is illegal for certain people to possess or own firearms. This includes:
- Individuals who are under the age of 16
- Individuals who have been deemed mentally incompetent
- Convicted felons whose civil rights have not been restored
- Individuals who are addicted to drugs, as determined by the court.
It is also unlawful to carry a concealed weapon without a license.
Enhanced Penalties Under Florida’s 10-20-Life Law
Pursuant to Florida’s 10-20-Life law, a person faces enhanced penalties in the event that they use a weapon while committing a crime. These penalties are as follows:
- A mandatory minimum sentence of ten years if the accused was in possession of a weapon;
- A mandatory minimum sentence of twenty years if a weapon was discharged; and
- A mandatory minimum sentence of 25 years to life in prison if a person sustains injuries or dies due to a weapon that was used during the commission of a crime.
Additionally, a person may face federal weapons charges in addition to harsh sentencing guidelines in cases that involve the manufacture of weapons, gun trafficking, or if the individual accused qualifies as an “Armed Career Criminal.”
Possessing an Illegal Firearm
Florida law restricts a person’s ability to possess a firearm in a variety of circumstances. A person must have a certificate, permit, or license to possess a firearm. When minors are involved, the first offense is charged as a first-degree misdemeanor, which carries with it a three-day detention sentence and 100 hours of community service. A second offense is charged as a third-degree felony, which carries with it a fifteen-day detention sentence and 100 to 250 hours of community service. Florida law provides that if a convicted felon possesses an illegal weapon, he or she can face a second-degree felony charge, which carries with it a prison sentence of up to 15 years, a monetary fine of up to $10,000, or both.
Possessing a Stolen Firearm
It is a serious offense in Florida to possess a stolen firearm, as the law encompasses the aspect of the illegal possession of a weapon and the unlawful possession of stolen property, both of which are felony crimes. The possession of a stolen firearm is charged as a third-degree felony, which can be elevated to a second or first-degree felony under certain circumstances.
Aggravated Battery/Assault with a Deadly Weapon
In Florida, battery is referred to the illegal act of intentionally striking or touching an individual against their will or causing bodily harm to another individual. Aggravated battery is charged as a second-degree felony and happens when a person knowingly or intentionally causes significant bodily injury, permanent deformation, or permanent impairment of another individual. Aggravated battery is also charged if a person causes harm to a pregnant woman and knows that the victim was pregnant at the time when the crime was committed.
A deadly weapon is an instrument, element, or gun that is used in a way that is likely to cause injury or death. In an assault with a deadly weapon case, the prosecutor must establish that the accused assaulted an individual and did so with a device such as a gun or knife that could have caused his or her death.
Aggravated Battery with a Weapon
Aggravated battery with a weapon is the same charge as aggravated battery with a deadly weapon or assault with a deadly weapon. This crime is punishable by up to fifteen years in jail. If a person shoots another and causes injuries, then he or she will face a sentence of 25 years to life in prison.
Illegally Carrying a Concealed Weapon
A person must have a license to carry a concealed weapon in Florida. If a person is arrested for having an unlicensed concealed weapon, he or she can face a third-degree felony charge, which carries with it a prison sentence of up to five years. He or she can also face serious monetary fines and probation.
Contact Musca Law Today. Your Life and Your Liberty Depend Upon It!
Facing weapons charges can be a frightening experience. When you hire a seasoned Florida criminal defense attorney at Musca Law, he or she will help you to fight against the allegations to the fullest extent of the law and develop the strongest case possible on your behalf. Our firm’s attorneys are among The National Trial Lawyers – Top 100 Trial Lawyers, included in the 2012 Florida Super Lawyers® for criminal defense, and boast 10.0 Superb Avvo ratings. Our attorneys are skilled, experienced, tenacious, and relentless when it comes to defending our clients. To learn more about how Musca Law can make a difference for you, call (888) 484-5057 today.