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Weapons and Firearms

You have heard the phrase a million times: Guns don’t kill people, people kill people. Why, then, does it seem that any time gun control ideas are tossed about is it the legally-carrying, responsible owners who are targeted? Instead of taking rights away from these owners, perhaps it is time to concentrate on the people who kill people.

Here are some ideas that 22-year-old Aurora movie theater survivor, Stephen Barton, has come up with. Though not copied in its entirety, the list does include several examples that are not frequently discussed and do not involve removing weapons from the hands of the responsible.

Mental Health Availability
While gun ownership in America is rising, mental health services are declining. In fact, services across the country have been slashed due to budget cuts. Barton offers the opinion that people should not only have easier access to mental health services, but that we should be supporting friends and loved ones who need help.

Trauma Reduction
The idea is to reduce children’s exposure to violence. Even though technology has made it increasingly difficult to control what our children are exposed to, we should be making efforts to reduce their exposure to violence on the news, on television shows, in movies, and on the Internet. Studies have shown that being exposed to violence on a consistent basis can desensitize children to violent behavior.

Ask for Recommendations
Young people have ideas that adults do not ask to hear. Often victims of violence, including that which includes guns, young people may be the first step in controlling gun crime. The time has come to ask this group of people for their ideas. Input from teenagers and young adults may be vital in creating a culture of safety and security.

Public Health
According to statistics, gun violence is the leading cause of death that is considered preventable. In spite of this, gun violence is not considered a public health issue. If it were, the CDC would be able to develop methods for tracking, studying, and assessing such violence. Furthermore, the entity could develop strategies for reducing gun violence in the country.

Gun violence is all too common in the United States. No person should be affected by another who is in illegal possession of a weapon, or any person who is using a weapon in an irresponsible way. In that vein, no responsible person who owns a gun legally should have their rights infringed upon. These ideas, provided by a young person who has been victimized are not the typical. Perhaps they bear further contemplation.

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revolver gun and bullets on the wooden tableCarrying a firearm is a legal right for those who have undergone the proper training and secured lawful permits. It is not legal, however, to fire guns in public when no threat exists. Such is the case on New Year’s Eve when thousands of people will fire guns into the air as a way to welcome in the New Year. But what is the problem? Firing a gun into the air doesn’t hurt anyone or pose a threat of any kind. If this is what you believe, you are wrong.

Law enforcement agencies around the country are warning people against celebratory gunfire well ahead of the New Year’s Eve holiday. When a person fires a gun into the air, that bullet will stay in flight for over a minute. We all know that what goes up must come down. On its return to the ground, the bullet that was fired will reach a velocity of between 300 and 700 feet per second. At this speed, a person hit by the bullet could be killed. It only takes a bullet at a velocity of 200 feet per second to penetrate a skull.

According to Margo Bennett of Women Against Gun Violence, “People shooting in the air is an international problem. We see these shootings in other American cities and in videos from the Middle East where soldiers and terrorists shoot guns in the air.”

So what happens if you fire a gun into the air? If you are lucky, the bullet will fall harmlessly to the ground, you will return home and never be questioned by police. In the worst of cases, the bullet will fall, strike someone, and that person will be fatally wounded. When this is the case, you may or may not be caught. If you are, you could very well be charged with homicide and be forced to live with the fact that you unintentionally took someone’s life.

If you want to welcome in the New Year, do so in a safe way. Party with friends. Have dinner with family. Watch the ball drop in New York City from the comfort of your own couch. Have a toast at midnight. There are hundreds of ways that you can ring in the New Year without any risk of harming yourself or another person. Do understand that if you cause harm or serious injury to another, you may be ringing in the New Year from a jail cell. Imagine starting 2017 in the custody of police.

If you do find yourself on the wrong side of the law and arrested for a crime in Orlando this holiday season, our attorneys are here for you. We defend all manner of crimes and we do so successfully. Call our office and schedule an appointment for a free case evaluation. A member of our team will speak with you and review the details of your arrest. Let us advise you of your legal options and help you put together a strong defense. Do not fight your charges on your own. We are here for you as you work to protect your reputation and your freedom.

 

Gun control is a heavy topic. Most people stand very strongly on one side or the other and are happy to argue their point vehemently. While discussions of gun control typically center around the ability to buy, sell and own guns themselves, few discussions revolve around ammunition.

Bullet control is an idea that may not be talked about, but is definitely something that legislatures have strongly considered. There are several types of bullets that are not legal to possess or use in different states because they are not seen as having any sporting value.

Which Bullets Are Illegal?

Armor piercing bullets are illegal in over 20 states. Some find it surprising that these bullets are even illegal in Texas. The states that have deemed these bullets illegal have done so because hunters have no need to pierce armor. According to many, outside of the military, the only use for these bullets is to kill police officers.

Some states, like Connecticut and California, have also banned large caliber ammunition and exploding ammunition. States ban bullets, and they also attempt to control things like the size of magazines people can use.

Named Bullets That Are Illegal

Aside from the armor piercing bullets mentioned above, the following are illegal:

  • Dragon’s breath. This bullet is illegal in Iowa, Illinois and Florida. It is designed for shot guns and shoots flames and sparks 100 feet or more.
  • Flechette bullets. These are illegal in Illinois, Florida and California. They shoot dart-style bullets or metal wires.
  • Hollow nose. These expand upon impact and are illegal in New Jersey.
  • Bolo ammunition. This type of ammunition consists of projectiles with a connecting wire. After firing, the wire wraps around its target. The ammunition is illegal in Florida and Illinois.

Being able to own and use a weapon doesn’t always mean that you can use it in any way you like. Even if you are carrying a legal weapon, using any of the above ammunition can get you in trouble.

If you have been arrested for a gun crime in Orlando, call our team of attorneys. We will review your charges and the details surrounding your arrest at no cost to you. Do not attempt to fight for yourself in court. You need an experienced attorney to do it for you.

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Assault. It is a basic crime, and a crime that people are charged with on a daily basis. An assault occurs when a person violates another’s personal space. In most states, the threat of attack is enough to have a person charged with assault. In many cases, the crime is a misdemeanor. In more serious cases, a felony. But what is the difference?

Misdemeanor Versus Felony Assault
When you are charged with misdemeanor assault, you will spend no more than a year in jail if you are convicted. If you are charged with the felony version of the crime, you may likely spend far more than a year behind bars. Additionally, you will be housed in a prison with other violent offenders.

Classes
Generally, there are three classes of assault. A simple assault is one where the victim of the crime genuinely fears for their safety. The second class, assault and battery, is more serious. For this crime to have occurred, the victim suffers an actual physical injury. Finally, aggravated assault, a felony, involves serious harm to the victim. That harm may be a debilitating injury, permanent disfigurement or the like.

Felony Assault
To be convicted of felony assault, the prosecutor must prove that you had intent to harm someone. Additionally, you must have used a potentially deadly weapon in the attack. The victim of the crime must have suffered a physical injury. Very few states will allow a felony assault charge if the victim merely suffered emotional or financial distress as a result of the crime. While it is certainly your right to carry a weapon, using that firearm in the commission of an assault, or even threatening to use that weapon, can land you in hotter water than you can handle. Just brandishing your weapon during a simple assault can bump it to a felony.

Sentencing
Sentencing for felony assault varies among states. Criminal history and the injuries sustained by the victim will also come into play during sentencing. You can reasonably expect to spend at least 12 months in prison if you are convicted of felonious assault. This is why retaining an attorney experienced in criminal defense is essential.

Assault is a serious crime, whether it is a misdemeanor or felony. Invading another’s personal space or outright attacking someone is never in anyone’s best interest. Issues can always be worked out in ways that will not land you in jail. If you have been charged with assault, you need an attorney by your side defending your rights. Contact our knowledgeable and trustworthy criminal defense team today for assistance. We will review the facts of your case and advise you how to best proceed. Your initial consultation will be held at no cost to you.

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If popular media is to be believed, America is a nation of gun-toting liberals who use their weapons at will. On the contrary, while it is a Second Amendment right to carry a weapon, not every household in America has one, and not every citizen is hiding a gun on their hip. Surprisingly to some, obtaining a weapon legally is not as easy as it may seem.

In Florida, purchasing a firearm comes with several restrictions. There is no denying that criminals and others can purchase weapons by illegal means but, for those who want to follow the letter of the law, obtaining a firearm comes with several caveats.

Who is Eligible to Purchase a Firearm?

Any adult is eligible to purchase a firearm in the state of Florida, provided they do not have a felony conviction on their record or an active warrant for their arrest. Additionally, a person may not be addicted to a controlled substance, or have been adjudicated as mentally defective.

An illegal alien, a person with a dishonorable discharge from the armed forces, or a person who has denounced their citizenship is not able to purchase a firearm. Anyone with an active protection order, a misdemeanor conviction for domestic violence, or who is under indictment for a crime that carries a jail sentence of more than one year is ineligible.

Who Can Purchase a Shotgun or Rifle?

Almost anyone can purchase a long gun in the state of Florida. Anyone 18 years of age and older who is a legal resident of the United States can purchase such a firearm. There is no waiting requirement in Florida for a shotgun or rifle, meaning you can purchase the gun and take it home the same day.

Who Can Purchase a Handgun?

In Florida, you must be 21 years of age or older to buy a handgun legally. There is no specialized permit, nor are fingerprints required, but buyers do have to wait for three days before they bring their weapon home. A demographic-based background check is completed for every handgun purchase.

If you have any questions as to your rights to purchase or carry a weapon in the state of Florida, or you need an attorney to represent you in court, please contact our offices. Our attorneys are here and ready to answer any questions that you have. Call now.

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Floridians know that they have the right to carry a concealed weapon throughout the state. This knowledge does not mean that the state’s citizens don’t have questions about what that right entails. Here are the answers to the questions people ask most frequently about concealed carry laws in Florida.

What are the qualifications for concealed carry?

Anyone in the state of Florida who is a legal citizen of the United States can carry a firearm if they meet these qualifications: They are at least 21 years of age, not a convicted felon, they do not suffer from a disability, as defined by law, which renders them unable to carry a firearm, and they are not chronically addicted to alcohol.

How long is a permit valid for?

Once obtained, a concealed carry permit is valid for seven years.

Where should the permit be kept?

If you have a concealed carry permit, it should be kept on your person at all times. This may mean in your wallet or purse. This is especially true if you are carrying your weapon.

Can a weapon be carried openly?

According to statute 790.053, it is prohibited for “…any person to openly carry on or about his or her person any firearm.” You are permitted to show someone your firearm briefly, but you are not permitted to walk down the street holding it in plain sight.

Are there places that concealed weapons are not permitted?

In the state of Florida, there is a fairly long list as to where you are not permitted to carry your weapon. These include, a place of nuisance, any law enforcement station, any detention facility, a courthouse, a polling place, and at a public, governmental meeting. Guns are also prohibited at schools, career centers, establishments that serve alcohol, airports, and anywhere else that federal law prohibits concealed firearms.

Do people need to have a permit to carry a weapon?

Not in all cases, no. If you are using a weapon for target shooting, hunting, fishing, camping, or in your home, you do not need a concealed carry permit.

Where should a gun be kept in the car?

If you are keeping a gun in your car, carry it properly. Your gun must be kept in the glove box, in a holster, in a gun case, or in a closed box with a lid or cover. If not locked in such a way, the weapon may not be in easy reach. This means storing it in your trunk is acceptable.

If you have more questions regarding your right to carry a concealed weapon, or any weapon, contact our offices today. Our lawyers are well-versed in gun rights and are happy to answer your questions. Call now.

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If you think you know everything here is to know about the Second Amendment, think again. There are some nuances to the amendment that many do not catch until they are pointed out. Here are five things that you may not have known.

1. Rights for the Individual

Because the amendment uses the word “militia,” many people believe that it protects collective rights rather than those of the individual. Not so. The Supreme Court has ruled, on several occasions, that the amendment protect the right of the individual person. You do not have to belong to what is considered a militia today or any collective entity to have your rights protected.

2. Self Defense

It is not unusual to hear people speak of the amendment in terms of hunting rights. In fact, the primary purpose of the amendment is self-defense or self-preservation. The Supreme Court has said, “the inherent right of self-defense has been central to the Second Amendment right.”

3. Tyranny

One of the primary purposes of the amendment is to protect the people against tyranny. Many people hear this, but few believe it. If it is hoped to have a free nation, then its people must be armed, according to the Supreme Court. In history, it was feared that the government would disarm people in order to impose rule. The amendment protects citizens against such actions.

4. Preventing Foreign Invasion

When people think about the amendment, they typically only consider personal and collective rights to bear arms. They rarely remember or consider that one provision is the repelling of invasions. The worry of foreign invasion has been rare in our country, but it has been there.

5. Common Weapons

It would be easy to assume that the right to bear arms was speaking only to the arms that were popular at the time of the amendment’s drafting. The Supreme Court has said that the amendment covers weapons that are chosen by the collective American society at any given point in time.

How many of the above were you aware of? The Second Amendment is much more than a piece of paper giving law-abiding citizens the right to gun ownership. The subtle wording and legal interpretations of the amendment make it quite interesting.

If you have been charged with a gun crime, you need an experienced attorney on your side. Contact our offices now and a member of our team will be happy to speak with you. First consultations are always free. Call now.

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No matter which side of the gun control debate you stand on, stricter control or maintenance of rights, chances are that you have facts on your side. Or do you? Many people think that they have facts to back up their opinions, but some of the things that people tout as fact have merely been perpetuated as such.

In a country that is waging war against itself when it comes to the Second Amendment, knowing the truth can either support your current opinion or change it. Here are the facts as they currently stand:

1. Even though gun sales have skyrocketed over the past 20 years, homicides by firearm are down 39%. Crimes labeled as “other,” committed with the aid of a firearm, are down by 69%.

2. Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy released a study on guns and crime. Nations whose people own guns tend to have a lower instance of crime.

3. In Europe, the nine nations that have a combined highest rate of gun ownership have the lowest rate of crime. The nine with the lowest rate of gun ownership? The highest combined rate of crime.

4. The majority of mass shootings that have occurred in the United States have taken place in states with strict gun control laws.

5. Since 1992, both the murder rate and the violent crime rate in the United States have fallen.

6. According to reports, close to 200,000 women in America use a gun to defend themselves against sexual assault each year.

7. Accidental death by firearm fell by 58% from 1991 to 2011 in the United States.

8. The United Kingdom has very strict gun control laws. Despite this, the rate of violent crime in that country is about four times higher than that in America.

9. Once a gun ban was instituted in Australia, murders by gun increased by 19% and armed robberies by 69%.

10. In Kennesaw, Georgia, a law was passed requiring every home to have a gun. There was an 89% decline in burglaries, and a 50% overall drop in crime rate over the next 23 years.

Did any of these facts surprise you? They should. You won’t find them in any gun control manual or article advocating stricter gun laws. You won’t find these facts on the evening news or in your local paper. More often, what you will find are emotionally charged news clips designed to bring people to the side of gun control.

Owning a firearm is your Second Amendment right. Don’t sit idly by and let that right be taken away. The facts are on your side.

If you have been accused of a crime, you need an attorney on your side. Our experienced criminal defense lawyers are here to assist you. Call us today for a free initial consultation.

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You have a concealed carry permit in accordance with your Second Amendment rights. You are a responsible gun owner, and you follow the letter of the law. With all of that said, do you know how to handle yourself should you be pulled over by the police while carrying your weapon?

While the strict, no-nonsense answer depends on the state in which you live, there are tips to follow that appeal to simple common sense no matter where you are pulled over.

When you are pulled over for a traffic violation, whether real or perceived, keep in mind that the officer approaching your vehicle has no idea what he or she is walking into. Every officer wearing a shield has training reminding them that every traffic stop can be their last. As a concealed weapon permit holder, keeping the stop safe for you and the officer is a great responsibility.

The first thing to do is to roll your window down and place both hands on the steering wheel. If you are pulled over at night, turn on your vehicle’s interior light before placing your hands on the wheel. Do not dig in your purse, glove box, or center console for anything until you are asked to do so.

Remain seated in your car. Resist the urge to get out of your vehicle and approach the officer. As soon as the officer approaches your window, you will be given specific instructions. Follow them and, if you don’t understand them, ask for clarification before you move.

When asked for your identification, tell the officer where it is and, at this time, explain that you are a permit holder. If there is a weapon in your vehicle or on your person, tell the officer where it is. The officer may ask you to show your weapon or may ask you to simply keep it where it is. Follow the instructions you are given.

By following these guidelines as well as any specifically set forth by the state you are traveling in, you and the officer will both pull away from the traffic stop safely. Remember that any issues you have with the officer can be taken up with a supervisor at a later time. The traffic stop is not the best opportunity to argue any points that you have.

If you have been arrested and need an attorney, call our criminal defense team as soon as possible. Our experienced lawyers are here for you and will work tirelessly on your behalf. Call now for a free initial consultation.

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If you know that a hurricane will be barreling down on your home and you need to evacuate, what are the first things you will pack? If you are like most people, you will pack at least a few days worth of clothing for the family and, if you have time to think straight, any valuables that you do not want looted or damaged.

Will you grab your firearms? Florida has recently passed a new law that allows for gun owners without permits to carry their firearms with them as they flee their homes for safer ground. Lawmakers in the state did not want to see the same issues arise in Florida as did in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.

As people were being evacuated during and after Katrina, police confiscated hundreds of guns. The guns were taken from the evacuees directly and from abandoned homes. While people weren’t necessarily charged criminally for possessing those weapons, they were held in possession of law enforcement for several years.

Firearms were only returned to their owners after a lawsuit was filed against the city by the Second Amendment Foundation and the National Rifle Association.

Senator Jeremy Ring opposed the passage of the bill. In his eyes, the chaos that occurred in New Orleans is exactly why people should not be permitted to walk around the streets with weapons. “I don’t feel comfortable to have people running around with guns in a riotous situation.”

In typical circumstances, Floridians who have a weapon on or about their person without a legal concealed carry permit can be charged with a third-degree felony. Those arrested face up to five years in prison. The new law makes an exception for people carrying weapons while evacuating during a state of emergency as declared by the governor or local law enforcement. The exception is only good for 48 hours, but the governor can extend the time period.

Most people, according to Marion Hammer, a former NRA president, most people would not leave their firearms behind to be stolen or destroyed. The law, without the exception, makes criminals out of law-abiding citizens. The new provision is a win for gun rights supporters.

Unlike current bills that are asking for guns to be allowed in schools and on college and university campuses, this bill received very little opposition. The bill stopped in five committees, and no one from the public spoke against it. Lawmakers report receiving only a handful of emails from private citizens opposing the bill.

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The right to own a gun is something that many Americans take for granted. We point to our Second Amendment rights as our proof that we are permitted to possess a weapon in our own homes and, in some states, carry that weapon in public.

But what if you are a convicted felon? No matter if you were convicted of passing a bad check or murdering your neighbor, you are not permitted to own a weapon. That all changed this week when the House passed a measure that gave back Second Amendment rights to those people convicted of non-violent felonies.

Representatives cited a grandfather who had been charged years ago while in college with writing a bad rent check. For years, the man was denied his right to own a weapon, something that some lawmakers feel should never have occurred. Said Colorado Representative Ken Buck, “America is a land of second chances. One mistake should not define your future.”

This bill was an amendment to the Justice appropriations bill and received a voice vote in favor of its passing.

The move is one that could settle an ongoing fight between gun-control supporters and gun-rights advocates. Ex-felons have had the right to appeal to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives for their gun ownership rights. There was, however, a 23-year-old provision that put up a road block to the investigation of such applications.

People who have lost their right to own guns are closer to being able to petition the government to have those rights restored.

What many were perhaps not aware of was that Buck was the grandfather who had seen his rights taken away. Once having written a bad check to a landlord to cover his rent, he was charged and convicted of a felony, losing his right to purchase or own a firearm. That loss prohibited him from taking his grandson hunting.

Advocates of this bill are pleased that a group of people will be able to have their gun ownership rights restored. While it makes sense that those convicted of violent felonies not be permitted to own weapons, it is a clear violation of rights when non-violent persons are barred from practicing those rights in a free country.

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When it comes to the 2nd Amendment and the right to possess and carry a firearm, there may be not topic more divided. People opposed to the right often point, albeit incorrectly, to gun ownership causing a rise in crime. People for the right to carry point to the right to protect themselves, their families, and their property.

What it boils down to is this: People want to feel safe. No one wants to think that they may fall victim to violent crime. Criminals target “other” people in “other” cities. The FBI has recently released a report detailing Florida’s most violent cities. The statistics are based upon the population counts in each city versus the number of gun and other violent crimes. Here’s the breakdown:

Miami Beach
Topping the list of Florida cities with the most violent crimes is Miami Beach. After reading the report, the conclusion is that for every 1,000 residents of the city, there are 109 violent crimes.

Fort Lauderdale
This popular city in Broward County ranks number seven on the list. If you live in or visit Fort Lauderdale, you have a 1 in 15 chance of becoming a victim. There are 68 crimes committed per every 1,000 residents.

Other cities to top the list include Pompano Beach at 11th, Riviera Beach at 13th, Lake Worth at 14th, West Palm Beach at 15th, and Oakland Park at 16th. Broward and Palm Beach are home to seven cities on the top 20 list. If you include Miami-Dade, more than half of South Florida’s largest municipalities are considered dangerous.

Do you find this list surprising? South Florida is home to cities with some of the densest populations in the state. What was surprising, to many, were the cities that were absent from the list: Gainesville, Jacksonville, Tallahassee, and Tampa among a few.

Florida is not unique in its report. Look at any state and you will find that gun and other violent crimes occur at a higher rate in the most populous areas. It stands to reason that these crimes are fewer in rural areas and smaller cities due to lower populations.

Does gun ownership lead to crime? Not if we are discussing legal ownership. You are unlikely to become a victim at the hands of someone with a legally-registered firearm than at the hands of someone who has obtained a weapon be nefarious means. If these statistics tell us anything, it is that people in Florida have a right to defend themselves.

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