Naples, FL Woman Arrested On Concealed Firearm Charges
A Florida woman was arrested at Southwest Florida International Airport after airport security discovered a firearm in her luggage during the bag screening process. The Naples Daily News reported on October 5, 2017 that an x-ray machine showed what appeared to be a gun, and officials pulled the woman aside into a private screening area. When asked whether she knew what was in her luggage, the accused stated that the bag belonged to her deceased husband and she didn’t pack it herself. Upon inspection, officers found a loaded 9mm pistol, though no ammunition was chambered in the gun. The 55-year-old woman was charged with carrying a concealed firearm, though there are defenses available to this type of weapons crime in Florida.
Carrying a Concealed Firearm as a Criminal Offense
In Florida, it’s a crime to carry, on or about your person, a gun that is hidden from the ordinary sight of another person. It is necessary for a prosecutor to prove that you had knowledge that you were carrying the firearm at the time, and that someone else would be prevented from seeing it due to your act of concealment.
With respect to the “on or about your person” element, there may be grounds to fight the allegations based upon the physical location of the gun. For example, having a firearm in your pocket or up your sleeve would be sufficient proof. However, where you’re carrying the gun in a bag that’s sitting a few feet away or in the backseat of your car, the evidence may not be enough to convict.
If you’re convicted of carrying a concealed firearm, the crime is a third degree felony with a Level 5 severity ranking under Florida’s criminal code. Your sentence may include up to five years in prison, on probation, or both; you may also have to pay up to $5,000 in fines.
Defenses Available Under Florida Law
Presuming you don’t have a concealed carry permit, which makes you immune from prosecution, there are other defenses available:
- Exempt Activity: Individuals traveling to or from a gun show, fishing or hunting event, or firearms club do not have to have a permit carry a concealed firearm.
- Home or Business Exemption: A person may legally carry a concealed gun around his or her own home, or place of business.
- Private Conveyance Exception: You may carry a concealed gun in the interior of a private vehicle, even without a concealed carry permit, if the firearm is not on your person. It must be securely encased or otherwise stowed so that it’s not accessible for immediate use.
A Florida Weapons Crimes Lawyer Will Fight for Your Rights
While weapons crimes are punished harshly under Florida law, there are options to defend against the charges. You may be able to avoid punishment or reduce the charges, but you’ll need an experienced criminal defense lawyer to represent you in court. Fort Lauderdale attorney Kevin J. Kulik advocates on behalf of those charged with weapons crimes and other offenses, so please contact our office today for more information. We can answer your questions or set up a consultation to review your case.