Articles Posted in Possession of Firearm by Convicted Felon

Keeping a gun in your car in Pensacola, Milton, Navarre and Gulf Breeze, Florida.As most of us are aware, the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees every American’s right to own a gun. That right doesn’t stop when you get into your vehicle.

In fact, in communities like Pensacola, Navarre, Milton and Fort Walton Beach – really, anywhere in this part of Florida — it is quite common for drivers to keep firearms in vehicles. Who hasn’t seen trucks with gun racks in their windows, sporting one or more hunting guns?

In fact, it’s just as legal to keep your handgun in your car depending on how and where you keep it.  Making sure your gun is in plain sight – that is, not concealed – is the key to its legality. The legal definition of “concealed firearm” is contained in Fla. Stat. §790.001. This statute defines a “concealed firearm as any firearm carried on or about a person (or car) in such a manner as to conceal the firearm from the ordinary sight of another person.” (Emphasis added).

Florida judges have a special authority vested upon them to “withhold adjudication” in a criminal matter pursuant to Fla. Stat. §948.01. This means that the person who enters a plea of “no contest” or guilty plea to a felony charge may, depending on the nature of the felony, not be considered a “convicted felon” under current Florida law. To be offered or receive a withholding of adjudication a citizen generally will not have a much of a preexisting criminal history or has not been convicted of a felony in his or her past. The individual who receives a withholding of adjudication will not lose his or her voting rights and, again, under current Florida law, will not lose their right to possess a firearm in Florida once they have successfully completed probation.

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However, a more complex and precarious situation exists in our federal court system for Florida citizens who have received a withholding of adjudication for a felony. Under currently existing federal law, a person currently may be prosecuted under 18 USC §922(g), possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, in federal court even if they have received a withholding of adjudication for a Florida felony. The United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit (11th Circuit) is the federal court with appellate jurisdiction over all of the federal district courts in Florida, Alabama and Georgia. Pensacola is within the Northern Federal District Court of Florida.
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