Here’s What’s Wrong With a 9-Year-Old Bringing a Gun to School

It’s a crime in Florida to give a weapon to a someone under 18-years-old unless the child’s parents consent. (Fla. Stat. 790.17). It’s also a crime to leave a loaded firearm within the reach or easy access of minor unless the gun is stored in a securely locked box or container or in a location which is reasonably secure or locked with a trigger lock. Taking a gun within 1,000 feet of a school or school sponsored activity is also a crime.

In Florida, a 9-year-old is generally considered too young to be responsible for his or actions and will likely avoid prosecution for bringing the gun to school or hiding it in his backpack. However, if the parents let the boy have “easy access” to the gun, they could be looking at up to sixty days in jail. Had someone died, the parents would certainly be faced with a lawsuit and possibly even criminal negligence.

Florida law prohibits the carrying of a firearm if it’s concealed without a special permit. Carrying a firearm or weapon in plain view- therefore not concealed and in “the ordinary sight of another person” is not a crime until it is improperly exhibited in front of at least one person, and if the person carrying it is of-age or has the minor’s parents permission. However, no matter how hold you are, it’s illegal to improperly exhibit the weapon or even bring it to school. The law defines “improper exhibition” as displaying the gun in a rude, careless, angry, or threatening way. Pointing the gun at someone, unless you’re acting in reasonable self-defense, will probably earn you a night in the slammer at the very least. Unfortunately, the nine-year-old learned that too. The law allows the State to hold him in “secure detention” for up to 21 days and requires a psych evaluation.

The offense, if committed by an adult or a minor charged as an adult would be looking at a five year maximum felony prison sentence.

The take away- don’t let your kids take your guns to school because it could wind you both behind bars.

Source – Miami Herald

About Matthew Ladd

Federal Criminal Attorney practicing in Miami-Dade County with our office in Coral Gables. Matthew Ladd is a former prosecutor with the Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office. He is a graduate of Syracuse University College of Law and received his bachelor's degree from Marshall University.

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