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Domestic Violence Charges & Firearm Rights In Florida
Statistics reported by CBS News in 2020 estimate that approximately 35 percent of Florida’s adults live in homes where guns are present – ranking only 40th among U.S. states. However, those Floridians who own guns take the right to do so very seriously. The fact that it can be taken away can sometimes come as a rude awakening, but the right to own firearms can indeed be taken away if you become involved in a domestic violence case. An experienced attorney can help answer any questions you may have if you find yourself in this situation.
When Can My Firearm Rights Be Revoked?
While the right to own firearms is enshrined in the U.S. Constitution, both state and federal jurisprudence has consistently supported the position that there are times when that right can be taken away, primarily when its retention might affect public safety. Studies consistently underline a link between having firearms in the house and increased risk of homicide, particularly in a domestic violence context – the Florida Bar reports studies that show up to 12 times the risk of fatality when domestic violence incidents involve firearms, versus when they do not.
One might think that the right to own firearms could be feasibly taken away if one is convicted of a domestic violence offense or another type of violent crime. However, Florida law actually allows a district court judge to temporarily revoke an alleged abuser’s right to own firearms if a final domestic violence injunction has been issued in their case. The relevant statute forbids a person who has had an injunction issued against them from having a firearm in their “custody, control, or care.”
A Crime Against Society
Domestic violence is not a specific crime in Florida; rather, any criminal offense that results in physical injury or death to a “family or household member,” committed by another family or household member, qualifies as domestic violence in Florida. Certain examples are listed in the statute, such as assault, battery, kidnapping, false imprisonment, and sexual assault, but these are not the only crimes that qualify. Still, even if your crime did not involve firearms, the court is likely to order you to (at least temporarily) surrender them.
Because domestic violence is seen as a crime not only against the alleged victim, but against society as a whole, accusations are taken very seriously, even if you know them to be false. Thus, if you have been arrested and charged, and a domestic violence injunction has been taken out against you, the state sees it as only appropriate to take steps to minimize future potential violence (such as removing your access to firearms).
Contact A West Palm Beach Domestic Violence Attorney
Firearms are, for good or ill, a part of life in the U.S., but state and federal governments have the right to restrict their possession or use if public safety might suffer. If you have been charged with a domestic violence offense, calling a West Palm Beach criminal lawyer from the firm of Perlet, Shiner, Melchiorre & Walsh, P.A. can help you understand your options, and ensure that your rights are protected in court. Contact our offices today to speak to an attorney.