Throughout the state of Florida, hundreds of gun owners are being forced to give up their weapons because they have a risk protection order against them. Under Florida’s new Risk Protection Act, authorities can temporarily confiscate the weapons of citizens whom a judge has deemed a threat to themselves or others.
In Pinellas County, the Sheriff’s Office holds the weapons police officers throughout the state have seized since the new law took effect just weeks after the Marjory Stoneman Douglas school shooting in Parkland. So far, they have collected about 200 firearms (including AR-15 and AK-47 models) and approximately 30,000 rounds of ammunition.
The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office has an entire team dedicated to working on enforcing the new risk protection law. The team has filed 64 petitions in court. Every petition in the county has been granted. Additionally, there have been 88 petitions filed in Broward County, the highest of any other county in the state.
Palm Beach County’s First Gun Seizure
The Delray Beach Police Department became the first law enforcement agency in Palm Beach County to file an order of protection under the Risk Protection Act. They filed a petition against a 29-year-old male Army veteran who claimed he wanted to use an assault rifle “to do damage,” according to court records. The man was involuntarily committed to a mental health facility under the Baker Act in early June. The order prevents a person believed to be a threat to himself or others from having or buying firearms for a certain period.
Records indicate that a police officer found the man walking toward train tracks to stand in front of an oncoming train. The officer drove him to a mental health facility. During the ride, the veteran was “aggressive” and kicked at the door panels. He then asked the officer questions about an assault rifle the officer had mounted in the patrol car. The veteran stated that he wanted “to do some damage” with the rifle.
According to the report, the officer stated that the veteran said multiple times that he is not right in the head and has nothing to lose. The officer also wrote that the veteran advised him that he suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder.
The form indicated the veteran met five of the fourteen criteria considered when the court issues risk protection orders. Other records revealed that the veteran had already been held under the Baker Act at least twice before. He did not own weapons at the time he was barred from owning or purchasing weapons under the Risk Protection Act.
At The Law Office of Gabriel & Gabriel, we fight aggressively to protect the rights of citizens exercising the Second Amendment. Talk to Brian Gabriel about your weapons offense before surrendering your firearms without a fight. For a free consultation, click here.