The “Gunshine State”—Gun Laws in Florida
Florida is known as “The Sunshine State,” but many have begun calling it the “Gunshine State” for its proliferation of gun laws.
By: James Davis
Gun Laws in Florida
Florida has approximately 900,000 licensed concealed weapons carriers. This is twice the amount of concealed weapons carriers in Texas and by far the largest amount in the nation.
The popularity of gun ownership is our state means that many Florida criminal defense lawyers have seen an increase in cases involving guns. For example, the number of “justifiable homicide” cases has tripled in the last seven years and murders by firearms have increased 45% since 1999.
It is important for local residents to have a good grasp of basic gun laws in the state. However, whenever one faces a gun-related criminal charge it is vital to have a strong legal advocate in your corner to ensure your rights are protected.
Here are some examples of Florida gun laws:
The “Shall Issue” Law
Florida was the first state to pass the “shall issue” law. Thirty-six states have since followed suit. This law requires police to license all eligible applicants for concealed carry permits.
The “Stand Your Ground” Law
Florida’s “stand your ground” law has recently gained significant national attention. Or state’s version of the law allows a person to use force, including deadly force, in self-defense if there is a reasonable belief of imminent death or great bodily injury. Unlike in other states, there is no obligation to retreat.
The “Bring Your Gun to Work” Law
In 2008, backed by the NRA, the “bring your gun to work” law passed in Florida. This law allows employees to bring guns to work as long as they are locked in the car. Despite the efforts of many major companies, including Disney (which had no-gun policies) the law passed. The measure was also challenged in a lawsuit citing a possible increase in workplace massacres. The suit was rejected and the law was upheld.
The “Gag Order” Law
In 2009 and 2010 “gag order” laws were passed in Florida. These gun laws forbid doctors and adoption agencies from asking patients or prospective parents about their gun ownership.
Increased Penalties for Those That Offend the Rights of Gun Owners:
Many of these pro-gun laws come with stiff penalties for those who offend the rights of gun owners. For example, a county commissioner could be fined $5,000 or removed from office for attempting to regulate gun use. A municipality could be fined $5 million for keeping records of gun owners. A police department could be sued for arresting someone who was innocent under the stand your ground law. A doctor who asks a patient about their gun ownership in violation of the gag order law could lose their medical license. If you are facing a charge like this it is important to seek legal help from a Jacksonville criminal defense attorney immediately.
Increased Penalties for Criminals Who Are in Possession of a Gun:
With the passing of pro-gun laws, there have also been new laws which crease harsher penalties for criminals in possession of a gun. One such law is the 10-20-Life law, which creates mandatory minimum sentencing for certain crimes utilizing guns. For producing a firearm during the commission of certain felonies there is a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years. For firing a gun during the commission of certain felonies there is a mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years. For shooting someone there is a mandatory minimum sentence of 25 years with a maximum penalty of life sentence or the death penalty. A knowledgeable Florida criminal defense lawyer can help you assess whether the 10-20-Life law applies to your individual case.
Where to Get Legal Help:
All criminal charges are daunting, including those related to the many Florida gun laws. Experienced Jacksonville criminal defense attorney James Davis can help you during this difficult and stressful time. Do not delay in contacting the Law Office of James Davis at (904) 358-0420.