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What do gun owners need to know about Florida’s red flag law?

On Behalf of | Jan 3, 2023 | Criminal Defense

Despite the rights granted by the Second Amendment allowing Florida citizens to lawfully own firearms, there are many circumstances in which people may lose their firearm ownership rights. For example, those dishonorably discharged from the military or those convicted of felony spousal abuse may no longer be able to lawfully possess or use a firearm.

Most of the situations that would restrict someone’s firearm ownership rights relate to either diagnosed medical conditions, domestic violence or criminal activity. However, under Florida’s red flag law, someone could potentially strip you of your firearm rights and put you at risk of criminal charges even if you haven’t broken the law yet.

How the red flag law works

As a result of a tragic shooting at a Florida high school, state lawmakers passed the red flag law intended to curtail such large-scale violent incidents in the future. The law allows those concerned about future violence or criminal activity on the part of one person to go to court and ask a judge to strip that person of their firearms and future ownership rights.

There have been more than 8,000 such cases successfully pursued in Florida in less than half a decade. Someone can request a risk protection order when they think someone is a threat to themselves or others. A judge could grant a one-year order based on anything from witness statements about a fight to social media posts. The petitioner can renew the order after the first year, but most people who avoid criminal convictions can eventually get their rights back.

Anyone who has had their right to own a firearm taken away could face criminal charges if they purchase new firearms or get caught while in possession of firearms and would be subject to restrictions on their ownership rights.

You can fight to protect your basic freedoms. Those facing the loss of their firearm rights because of accusations that do not result in a criminal prosecution may need to go to court to protect themselves. Fighting back against claims that you have displayed behaviors that mean you are a threat to others could help you avoid the loss of your firearms well also reducing the risk of a future criminal charge.

Understanding what typical behavior might lead to criminal charges can help those who make use of their second amendment rights in Florida.