Over 450 Surrender Guns Due to Red Flag Laws
The shooting that took place at a Parkland, Florida high school paved the way for tighter gun restrictions throughout the state. Among the new laws is the state’s “red flag law,” which police are using to identify people they believe pose a threat to the community. In just one central Florida county, a dedicated team of police officers has already collected a sizable arsenal of weapons that once belonged to residents.
Pinellas County Risk Protection Unit Stocks Up on Guns
Since July, the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office has amassed 200 guns and 30,000 rounds of ammunition. Sgt. Jason Schmittendorf has established a team of five police officers to work solely on risk protection cases. Florida police officers can now file petitions for risk protection orders under the Risk Protection Act. The law, which passed soon after Valentine’s Day, allows a judge to determine whether a person with a petition against him or her poses a threat to himself or herself or others.
If the judge determines that a person could be a threat, law enforcement must take any weapons found in the person’s home. The law enables police to temporarily take guns and gun rights from those who have access to them based on the judgment of the judge tasked with reviewing the petition. While some people believe the law keeps them safe, others see it as a violation of a person’s constitutional rights; and therefore, a violation of the Constitution itself.
Personal Safety Faces Off Against Gun Rights
Pinellas County police have filed 64 risk protection petitions since the red flag law became effective. They have the second-largest number of cases in a Florida county, second to Broward County with 88 petitions. In all, about 450 people have been ordered to surrender their guns.
Many feel that the law keeps them safe and keeps guns away from dangerous people; however, gun rights lawyers recognize that the law may overstep, affecting people who have no history of violence or mental illness. In one example, a UCF student was forced to surrender his father’s gun after being reported for commending mass shooters on social media. Though the judge who presided over his case eventually cleared him, there have been similar instances in which people have faced consequences for exercising free speech.
Some lawyers think the law should be narrowed to apply only to those who have guns and those who have tried to purchase them. Additionally, the threat should be imminent to meet the criteria for a risk protection order.
Representation Against Unfair Risk Protection Orders
At the Umansky Law Firm, we believe strongly in protecting Second Amendment rights. Our attorneys strive to protect your freedoms in the face of uncertainty. If you have been called on to surrender your firearms in Orlando, contact our gun rights lawyers to represent you in court. We are at all hours to discuss your case. Call our office or email us a description of your legal gun issue.