Is it a Crime to Allow a Child Access to a Firearm?Published: May 02, 2016 by Erika Valcarcel
Minors and firearms can be a dangerous combination, especially in cases where a loaded firearm is made accessible to a very young child. In Florida, while it’s not a crime to possess a firearm in the company of a minor, it is a crime to leave or store a firearm within easy access of a minor.
In order to ensure that a minor isn’t able to access a firearm, Florida statues outline three methods of storing or securing firearms. These include securing the firearm in a locked box or container, securing it in a location that a reasonable person would believe to be secure, and securing it with a firearm-mounted push-button combination lock or a trigger lock. Failure to store a firearm securely and safely in the present of minors can result in second-degree misdemeanor charges.
If your child had access to a firearm and you’re now facing weapons charges for allowing a child to access a firearm, contact one of the experienced Sarasota weapons lawyers at Erika Valcarcel, Criminal Defense Lawyer, P.A. today. We have helped numerous families face all types of firearms charges.
Florida Woman Faces Charges After Being Shot in Back by 4-Year-Old Son
When running a routine errand, the last thing one expects to happen is to be shot in the back by one’s 4-year-old son. But that’s precisely what happened to one Florida woman last month. As the woman was driving with a loaded handgun underneath her seat, her child in the back seat likely unbuckled himself from his booster seat and grabbed the weapon before accidentally shooting his mother in the back.
While the mother is recovering from the accident, detectives are considering filing a charge against her for allowing a child to access a firearm. If convicted of the charge, the woman who was shot could face a misdemeanor, punishable by up to 180 days incarceration.
Florida Child Firearm Laws
Under Florida law, a person who stores or leaves a loaded firearm within easy access of a minor can be charged with a second-degree misdemeanor. In the case of the Florida woman who was shot in the back, these charges can be brought against a person even when the person who allegedly committed the crime was also the victim of its consequences. While such cases are rare, last month’s shooting shows that they do occur.
In Florida, an adult can also face charges for permitting a child (under the age of 16) to use or have in possession BB guns, air guns, gas-operated guns, or electric weapons.
If a minor obtains a firearms through unlawful entry, however, or if possession occurs in the course of official duties by a member of the Armed Forces, National Guard, State Militia, police, or other law enforcement officer, a charge for allowing a child to access a firearm may not be brought against an individual.
3 Ways to Secure a Firearm
There are three methods of securing a firearm, so as to keep it inaccessible to minors, outlined in Florida laws. If a person takes any of the following steps, he or she may not face criminal charges for allowing a minor to access a firearm:
The firearm is stored in a locked box or in another locked container
The firearm is secured in a location believed to be secure by reasonable people
The firearm is locked with a firearm-mounted push-button combination lock or a trigger lock
How the Experienced Sarasota Weapons Lawyers Can Help You
The charge of allowing a child to possess a firearm can be devastating, especially in cases where the person who the charges are filed against was the victim of a child’s accidental possession. However, many such charges can be fought, especially when a firearm was safely and securely stored, and the penalties associated with such charges can be reduced or even dismissed. If you’ve been charged with allowing a child to possess a firearm, contact one of our experienced Sarasota weapons lawyers at Erika Valcarcel, Criminal Defense Lawyer, P.A. at (941) 363-7900 today.