Recently, a 15-year-old child in Crestview stole a handgun from the unlocked car of an adult and proceeded to shoot a 13-year-old with it. Understandably, many people expressed outrage that a handgun was so accessible to the teenager. A number of individuals very emphatically suggested that the owner of the gun should face criminal charges.
While many individuals may believe that this sentiment is reasonable on its face, the actual law is a different matter entirely. Under current Florida laws that govern how a gun owner must secure a weapon, the gun owner is unlikely to face charges. The law indicates that the owner may only face liability to keep a gun secured away from minors in his or her own home and is not under an obligation to secure a gun from adults.
Under the current laws, therefore, the owner of the gun used by the 15-year-old is possibly not legally liable for the injury of the other child, because the minor did not access the weapon while on the gun owner’s property. In fact, the law implies that if an adult takes an unsecured weapon and uses it to commit a crime, the gun owner is not liable in this case either.
While it is certainly understandable that some parties may have strong emotional objections to these laws, they will guide prosecutions until they are changed.
If you face criminal charges or allegations of any sort, you should consult with an experienced attorney as soon as you can. You may have legal grounds to defend yourself that you do not expect. Be sure to use every tool you have available to protect your rights and your future, regardless of the charges.
Source: NWFDailyNews.com, “Florida law largely permits unsecured weapons,” Genevieve DiNatale, Nov. 04, 2017