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Prohibiting the Access of Firearms to Minors in Florida

Florida, in comparison to the majority of the states around the country, is known as one of the more pro-gun states, with legislation and laws to protect the right of their citizens to possess firearms, use firearms, carry openly or concealed firearms, and protect themselves in moments of self-defense, known as Stand Your Ground. There are many protections guaranteed to gun owners, but that does not mean that there are no limitations to this right.

265 Accidental Shootings in 2015 Attributed to Children

According to the International Business Times and the Washington Post, in the year 2015, there were at least 265 who were accidentally shot by kids. Eighty-three of these accidental shootings ended up being fatal. These numbers show an increasing issue of gun safety in the home, and largely how it affects the estimated 1.7 million children who live in households where guns are either stored fully loaded or left unlocked and easily accessible. It has been estimated that children living in America are 16 times more likely to be killed by accidental gunshot, than children in other similarly-situated countries. The shooters or those involved in the accidental shooting are usually toddlers or young kids between the ages of 3 and 4.

Mother Accidentally Shot by Toddler Charged with Second Degree Misdemeanor

Though Florida is one the more pro-gun states, it is attempting to curb the number of accidental shootings through parental responsibility legislation. Recently in Florida, a mother was accidentally shot and wounded by her four-year-old son. The gun, which the woman had left under the front seat of the car, had slid past the front seat right in front of the boy’s car seat. The gun discharged while the boy was playing with the gun. The woman will be charged with second-degree misdemeanor for the role in her shooting, namely allowing access to the firearm by a minor. This penalty has a sentence of a maximum 180-day incarceration.

Allowing a Minor to Access a Firearm

The charge for allowing a minor access to a firearm can be applied to the minor’s parent, guardian, or a person who is in charge of the child at the time of the incident. It is the law that a person who owns a firearm must keep the firearm locked securely in a container or in a location where a minor would not be able to access the gun. Minor, in this statute, relates to persons who are 16-years old or younger. The law will also make the parent or guardian of the minor legally responsible if the minor not only accesses the firearm, but possesses or brandishes the firearm either in a public place or in a way that is threatening, angry, reckless, or careless.

Parental Liability in Florida

Parents may also be civilly liable, under Florida’s parental liability law, which provides that a parent may owe civil damages in the event that the minor child’s actions cause damages, injures, or losses. Then the parents may be responsible to pay restitution. Parental liability, however, usually only occurs in civil matters. Generally, it is against public policy to hold parents criminally liable for the actions of their children.

Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney in Fort Lauderdale

Parental liability generally is not a criminal charge but parents may be liable where they permit minors to access and use a dangerous weapon. To better understand the ramifications of providing access to weapons to minors, you should speak with an experienced defense attorney like Kevin J. Kulik. Contact Kevin J. Kulik today for a free and confidential consultation in the Fort Lauderdale area.

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