The rights of citizens to obtain, carry and use firearms for protection of themselves and their loved ones is a right that has been protected under the U.S. Constitution since the first of many signatures were attached to it. Unfortunately for many of America’s citizens, particularly Jacksonville citizens, the restrictions on the class of weapon, magazine size, and firing ability of these weapons is becoming even more stringent than ever before. One accused of a gun crime in Jacksonville should be aware of one’s rights before having to face a legal system that is already making one’s charge tougher to fight.
In 2008, the U.S. Supreme Court held in District of Columbia vs. Heller that an individual has the right to own a firearm for lawful purposes within a federal enclave; this decision was extended to the state level two years later in McDonald vs. Chicago. However, with the rise of movie-theater and school shootings, those proponents of gun control in Congress, the Florida Legislature, and the State Attorney’s Office will make sure that gun crimes are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
The government may put reasonable restrictions on constitutional rights, as one may see in First Amendment Restrictions. The same reason in restrictions have been applied to the Second Amendment throughout history, with severe restrictions on private citizens owning automatic weapons (banned since 1934), silencers being banned unless one possesses the particular class license to own one, and grenades, mortars or S-A-M rockets being banned all together by private citizens. Other than the few who are actively fighting the law with these items, gun enthusiasts typically do not disagree with such restrictions.
There is a growing correlation between conceal-carry laws and a reduction in crime rates. The Sun-Sentinel and other newspapers throughout Florida report that Florida has been experiencing a steady drop in both violent and non-violent crime. Other states experienced similar drops in crime rates as Florida-style conceal-carry laws proliferated. A good example of this concealed-carry follow through, Vermont, a normally staunch liberal state that has principals one would normally associate as anti-gun, citizens are not required to have a permit to carry a concealed weapon. Since this law was put into effect in Vermont, the state has one of the lowest crime rates in the nation.
In Florida, during the 1970-80’s, the Florida Legislature expanded the right of most citizens to carry concealed weapons. Gun-control advocates declared then that this expansion would result in much more death for Florida citizens, with people gunning each other down in the streets like some old west novel. Because that’s exactly what it is. A novel; Fiction. Having more law abiding citizen’s armed would at least cause conceal-carry opponents (criminals with guns) to question their premises.
One of the most common ways a concealed carry violation is brought is when one is charged with a gun crime as a result of a traffic stop. Many times, the officer will stop one for speeding, running a stop sign or not putting on a turn signal, and while talking to one, sees a firearm underneath the seat. One needs an experienced attorney who will know the right questions to ask: Did the officer have reasonable suspicion to stop one in the first place? Did the officer ask to search the car based on one’s race or age? If the officer found a firearm, was it registered and legally functional? Was the gun in the car with one’s knowledge or permission? An experienced Jacksonville gun crimes defense attorney can make sure that these questions and others will be answered and will be able to be used to one’s aid and defense.
The Forbess Law Firm has been aiding clients who face criminal charges in Jacksonville for years and are here to provide aggressive criminal defense to anyone accused of a crime. If you or a loved one require a Jacksonville criminal defense lawyer, contact our firm today. We are available through our website or by calling us at 904-634-0900.
Additional Source: Kingsley Guy: Reasonable restrictions on guns?, Kingsley Guy, Sun-Sentinel