Legitimacy Of Weapons For Defense and Protection
Carrying a Concealed Firearm
The crime of Carrying a Concealed Firearm is committed if a person:
- Knowingly carried on or about his or her person a firearm; and
- The firearm was concealed from the ordinary sight of another person.
The crime of Carrying a Concealed Firearm is classified as a Third Degree Felony and is assigned a Level 5 offense severity ranking under Florida’s Criminal Punishment Code.
If convicted of Carrying a Concealed Firearm, a judge can impose any combination of the following penalties:
- Up to five (5) years in prison.
- Up to five (5) years of probation.
- Up to $5,000 in fines.
Defenses to Carrying a Concealed Firearm
In addition to the pretrial defenses and trial defenses that can be raised in any criminal case, specific defenses to the crime of Carrying a Concealed Firearm are:
Concealed Weapons Permit
A person who possesses a license to carry a concealed weapon or a concealed firearm (commonly referred to as a Concealed Weapons Permit) issued by the State of Florida is immune from prosecution for Carrying a Concealed Firearm.
Additionally, Florida allows out-of-sate visitors who are licensed to carry concealed weapons or firearms in their home state, the right to carry concealed weapons or firearms in Florida provided the other state offers concealed carry reciprocity.
Statutory Excepted Activity
Florida law also provides for several limited exceptions where a person can lawfully carry a concealed firearm without a Concealed Weapons Permit.
These exceptions are primarily related to carrying a firearm as a law enforcement or security officer, but also include civilian activities such as traveling to or from a fishing, camping, or lawful hunting event; transporting a firearm within a private residence; and traveling to or from a gun show or firearms club.
Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon
The crime of Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon is committed if a person:
- Has previously been convicted of a felony, either in Florida or another jurisdiction; and
- Knowingly owned, cared for, possessed, or controlled a firearm.
Possession: Actual versus Constructive
An important issue in determining the ultimate sentence for the crime of Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon is whether the person actually possessed the firearm or constructively possessed the firearm; as Actual Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon carries a three-year minimum-mandatory prison sentence.
The Second Amendment
The Second Amendment, one of the ten amendments to the Constitution comprising the Bill of Rights, states:
“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
The meaning of this sentence is not self-evident, and has given rise to much commentary but relatively few Supreme Court decisions.
In Florida, Our Supreme Court has ruled that there limitations to the Second Amendment. In Rinzler v. Carson, 262 So. 2d 661 (1972) the court held that although the legislature may not entirely prohibit the right of the people to keep and bear arms, it can determine that certain arms or weapons may not be kept or borne by the citizen. F.S.A. § 790.221; F.S.A.Const. art. 1, § 8. The Court went on to reason that the Legislature may prohibit possession of weapons which are ordinarily used for criminal and improper purposes and which are not among those which are legitimate weapons of defense and protection. F.S.A. § 790.221; F.S.A.Const. art. 1, § 8.
Which begs the question of what weapons are among those that are legitimate weapons for defense and protection?
The answer from a Pro-Second Amendment Lawyer is any weapon the Government has in its arsenal. Most people immediately roll their eyes or shake their heads when this answer is given by West Palm Beach Attorney Andrew D. Stine because they have contempt for firearms, guns or weapons of any kind. But then one has to ask if they believe that are government would have weapons that are used for crimes or improper uses? This is the logic of the Second Amendment. It isn’t the weapon or the firearm that needs to be outlawed it is the outlaw illegally using the legitimate instrument. A weapon is no more an instrument, as is a spoon or a guitar. If a spoon is used unwisely do we blame it for diabetes and heart disease? The Second Amendment gives teeth to all the other Amendments and without it we become subservient to Government. The founders knew this and so did Our Florida Supreme Court when they reasoned that the Legislature may prohibit possession of weapons which are ordinarily used for criminal and improper purposes so I say if you have a weapon and are possessing it for reasons other than criminal and improper use then the Government shall not infringe on that right.
Andrew D. Stine, Esq.
West Palm Beach Weapons Charges Defense Attorney
At the law firm of Andrew D. Stine, P.A. in West Palm Beach, we represent people arrested on weapons charges, including:
- Carrying a concealed weapon
- Improper exhibition of a weapon
- Aggravated assault with a deadly weapon
- Aggravated battery with a deadly weapon
- Possession of a weapon by a convicted felon
- Firing or shooting an object into an occupied building
Being proactive in a weapons case can often make the difference between facing felony or misdemeanor charges, or whether any charges are filed at all.
Free consultation 24/7: Call West Palm Beach criminal defense lawyer Andrew D. Stine, P.A. at 561.880.4300. Se habla español.