Florida Judge Dismisses Gun Crime Charges Based on Unconstitutional Law

Pursuant to the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution, people have a right to bear arms, which means that they are generally permitted to possess firearms. There are restrictions to the right, though; for example, people are prohibited from possessing guns in certain settings, typically deemed sensitive places. As held by a Florida court in a recent opinion, though, all government buildings do not necessarily constitute such places. If you are accused of possessing a gun in violation of the law, it is wise to meet with a Tampa gun crime defense lawyer regarding your rights.

Factual and Procedural Setting

It is alleged that the defendant, a U.S. Postal Service semi-truck driver in Tampa, was charged with carrying a concealed firearm onto federal property. The charges arose after the defendant, holding a Florida concealed carry permit, brought a Smith & Wesson 9mm firearm in a fanny pack for self-defense during work.

It is reported that in September 2022, agents from the U.S. Postal Service attempted to detain the defendant, leading to an arrest after an attempted escape. The defendant was charged with possessing a firearm in a federal facility and for forcibly resisting arrest. He moved to dismiss the charges against him, arguing that the law that criminalized possession of firearms in federal facilities was unconstitutional as applied to him and that he resisted an unlawful arrest.

Second Amendment Rights in the Context of Criminal Cases

In analyzing the defendant’s arguments, the court made several key determinations. First, it held that possessing a firearm in a federal facility was an activity protected by the plain text of the Second Amendment. The court further found that the blanket restriction on firearms possession in post offices was incongruent with the American tradition of firearms regulation. Notably, the court disagreed with the notion that all government buildings were automatically classified as “sensitive places” based on dicta from precedent cases.

The court rejected the government’s argument that proprietorship justified excluding all federal property from Second Amendment scrutiny and highlighted the absence of any argument regarding the government’s authority to restrict firearms as an employer.

However, the court decided not to dismiss the charge of forcibly resisting arrest, asserting that the defendant’s argument did not constitute a proper basis for a motion to dismiss, as it would necessitate examining facts beyond the indictment’s allegations to evaluate the circumstances of the arrest.

Meet with a Seasoned Tampa Criminal Defense Attorney

Gun crimes carry weighty penalties, but in some instances, there may be grounds for dismissing gun offense charges prior to trial. If you are charged with unlawful possession of a weapon, it is advisable to meet with an attorney to discuss what defenses you may be able to set forth. The seasoned Tampa gun crime defense lawyers of Hanlon Law can inform you of your options and gather the evidence needed to provide you with a strong chance of obtaining the best legal outcome available under the facts of your case. You can contact Hanlon Law by using the form online or by calling us at 813-228-7095 to set up a conference.

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