Florida Makes First Gun Seizure Under New Law

Florida has long been known as a gun friendly state, but that appears to have changed following the Parkland School shooting. The legislature passed several new gun laws in record time, including one which allows police to seize firearms from someone determined to be a risk to themselves or others. Now, less than one week after the bill was signed into law, the police have made their first seizure.

The new “risk protection” law allows for law enforcement to temporarily seize firearms & ammunition from a person deemed to be a potential risk to him or her self and or others. Before doing so, police are required to obtain a civil order from a judge by providing evidence of the potential danger present. The order not only allows police to seize firearms & ammunition but also prevents the individual from purchasing additional firearms while the order is in effect.

On March 16th, one week after the Governor of Flordia signed the law allowing seizures; Lighthouse Point City Police received such an order from Broward County Court. Subsequently, four firearms and 267 rounds of ammunition were seized from a 56-year-old resident. Before the new law, police would have faced a $5,000 fine for doing so. The temporary order requires another hearing, which is scheduled for March 28th, at which time the court could extend the order for up to one year.

There is no doubt this case will become a test for the new law. Unfortunately, this is the wrong case to be given such a distinction.

The suspect has a history of aggressive interactions with police and has shown evidence of possible emotional disturbance – including claims that the FBI and neighbors were targeting him. Before the seizure order was granted, he was also the subject of an involuntary commitment to a local psychiatric treatment center. It sounds like if there is anyone who should have their firearms taken away, at least temporarily, this guy fits the bill right? Maybe, but he should not be the litmus test for all to follow.

First off the involuntary commitment should have barred this man from owning firearms anyways. This new law may have been used as means of speeding up the inevitable, however, as he remains hospitalized this may not have been necessary. Second, according to various reports, the evidence to support his condition was lengthy, including statements and writing about being targeted by the government and a belief that former President Obama had died but then came back to life so he could murder children for their souls. Again, sounds convincing but how will this set the bar for future review?

If Florida is going to utilize a “risk protection” law to deprive citizens of a Constitutional Right they not only need to use it sparingly, they also need clear guidance from the courts as to when they can or can not do so. While the first case may be an example of someone who should not have firearms, it is not the ideal case to provide the future guidance needed to avoid abuse.

Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.

Tom Burrell

Tom Burrell

Tom enlisted in the US Marine Corps Reserves in 1987. Following service in Desert Storm, he transitioned to active duty with the US Coast Guard. In 1997 he left the USCG to pursue a position in conservation & maritime law enforcement. Tom is currently a Captain and he oversees several programs, including his agency investigation unit. He is also a training instructor in several areas including firearms, defensive tactics and first aid/CPR. In 2006 Tom received his Associate’s Degree in Criminal Justice from Harrisburg Area Community College and in 2010 a Bachelor’s Degree from Penn State University.
Tom Burrell
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12 thoughts on “Florida Makes First Gun Seizure Under New Law

  1. This law is overridden by Federal law and should not be allowed to stand. Yes, this particular person should not have a gun, but there are other avenues to pursue. This is sneaking in the back door to take our guns away.

  2. it’s really sad that the rick scott has sided with liberal gun haters !! we voted for him twice & he’s a veteran but his time is up & he will lose many followers by taking people’s rights,we are really stunned giving police the power to take people’s rights !!!!

  3. This is what the NRA and other gun organizations have been advocating for the past thirty years. Does anyone believe that the person in this news story should have a gun? I’m for this kind of legislation as it’s written. If certain politicians try to use it for nefarious purposes, then we need to address that, but taking guns from people with mental illness who pose a threat to our communities is good law.

  4. What choice did we have Rick Scott vs Charlie Crist? 21 million people in Florida. He’ll bring back Graham or Lawton Chiles.At least they were Southerners.

  5. HERE WE GO! All you need is a neighbor who is a gun hating liberal that doesn’t like you, and one bullshit call from them to the authorities, and you have lost your guns. Once they have your guns, you can’t tell me you will ever get them back. We have a cop up here in Minneapolis, who usually your gun ends up in his private collection, or on his table at the next gun show.

  6. While I understand the concern of legal gun owners, this is an example of a person who should not have firearms. I own firearms , and enjoy the shooting sports, but there comes a time when reasonable gun control needs to be enacted.

    1. said like a true liberal troll. theres already enough laws on the books even laws already on the books that blocked that guy from having a firearm. more laws arent needed, just enforcement of the laws we already have.

  7. To those that believe this law is good:
    THERE ARE LAWS ALREADY IN FORCE WHICH PREVENT PEOPLE LIKE THIS FROM LEGALLY OWNING/BUYING/SELLING/POSSESSING/TRANSPORTING/ETC. FIREARMS. READ THE LAWS!

    I used caps to hopefully get that through thick-skulls. Anyone deemed a threat or potential threat can be denied their 2nd Amendment rights via a court order…this process was in place BEFORE this new law. This process is to ensure rights aren’t violated/restricted by the whim of an individual – whether it’s from an angry anti-gun neighbor or a corrupt politician/police officer.
    …Well, looks like Florida threw that safety measure out the window.

    People agreeing with this new law is the equivalent of people screaming, “We need to make murder illegal!” It already IS – you can’t make something MORE illegal.

    On top of that, people need to read history. The Second Amendment is there so private individuals (We the People) can protect our OTHER rights, if (or when) government becomes too intrusive or oppressive. How do you protect something without a means to actually protect it? Beg, plead and hope for the best?
    The language is clear – “Shall not be infringed.” It appears that people need to learn English.

    1. Erick, You are so right. If the “professionals” did not enforce the law, with the laws that where already on the books, what make anyone think the new laws will be enforced. The new laws are made either to 1. placate the whiners, or 2. start the chipping away of our rights.

  8. The trouble is, how much investigating are they going to do before knocking our doors down and taking our guns? I am a combat wounded veteran, and there are a lot of people who feel that guys like us are too dangerous to have access to firearms in the civilian world. I of course take offence to that as every veteran should. But there needs to be checks and balances.

  9. All I can say, is I wouldn’t want to be a cop that has to raid peoples places, because it is going to turn “LAW ABIDING” people into “CRIMINALS” because a lot of us plan on handing our guns over “AMMO FIRST” if you get my drift. After my Dad passed away, my mom and I were having a discussion about death, I told her “I KNOW EXACTLY HOW I’M GOING TO DIE, IT’S GOING TO BE A SHOOTOUT WITH THE AUTHORITIES WHEN THEY DECIDE TO COME FOR MY FIREARMS!” Mom told me it’s not worth it, I told her “I served for the freedoms the constitution provides us, and its the principal of the thing. And trust me, there are a lot of other “LAW ABIDING” citizens that feel the same way I do. I once took an oath to fight for our constitution, the trouble is I’m sure a lot of the police that will be raiding peoples houses, also served, and don’t agree either, so what the system is doing is escalading deadly confrontations between two people who normally believe in peoples rights. In other words, we are going to have some officer with family and kids that I would never want to harm, trying to take my guns, dressed up in full protective gear, and me shooting at him with armor piercing 30-06 to circumvent his armor to protect my constitutional rights. This whole thing is a real blow to the rights of peaceful Americans.

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