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Discharging a Firearm in Public

The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution makes it a right for citizens to keep and bear arms. Carrying an weapon, even concealed, at home or in public is legal. However, Florida law has deemed discharging a firearm in public as a serious safety concern for the general public.

If a person discharges a firearm in a residential or public area, he or she may face serious legal repercussions. Anyone charged with discharging a firearm in public should seek strong legal representation from a criminal defense attorney.

Gainesville Lawyers for Discharging a Firearm in Public, FL

Even without any resulting injuries, discharging a firearm in public can bring someone serious penalties. If you or someone you know has been charged with firing a gun in public, you may be facing misdemeanor charges. It is essential that you contact a criminal defense attorney for legal counsel today.

Galigani Law Firm has over 20 years of experience in handling criminal defense cases. We have handled many firearm-related cases in Florida with positive results. Our attorneys are skilled at studying defense law, and are aggressive in the courtroom. Galigani Law Firm strives to get the best possible outcome for your case, and will do whatever we can to reduce or diminish your charges. The attorneys at Galigani Law Firmrepresent clients throughout the greater Alachua County area and nearby counties including Baker County, Levy County, Union County, Gilchrist County, Bradford County, and Columbia County.

Have a plan for your defense. Take the first step today with Galigani Law Firm. Call (352) 375-0812 or submit an online contact form today.

Overview for Discharging a Firearm in Public, FL


Elements for Convicting a Person with Discharging a Firearm in Public, FL

Florida Statute § 790.15(1) states that any person who knowingly discharges a firearm is violating the law. For the prosecution to prove that a person was discharging a firearm in public, they must establish any one of the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt.

  • The alleged offender knowingly discharged a firearm in a public place; or
  • The alleged offender knowingly discharged a firearm on the right of way of a highway, street, paved road; or
  • The alleged offender knowingly discharged a firearm over the right of way of a public road, the right of way of a street, the right of way of a highway, or ever occupies premises.

Firearm Definitions in Florida Statute § 790.15

The term "public place" is defined under Florida Statute § 876.11 as including “all walks, alleys, streets, boulevards, avenues, lanes, roads, highways, or other ways or thoroughfares dedicated to public use or owned or maintained by public authority; and all grounds and buildings owned, leased by, operated, or maintained by public authority.

The term "knowingly" is defined in the Florida Standard Jury Instructions as meaning with full knowledge and intentionally.” The Jury Instructions also define recklessly as meaning “with a conscious and intentional indifference to consequences,” while negligently means “failing to use reasonable care under the circumstances.”

Firearms are defined under Florida Statute § 790.01(6) as " any weapon (including a starter gun) which will, is designed to, or may readily be converted to expel a projectile by the action of an explosive [including any machine gun or any destructive device]."

The term firearm does not include an antique firearm, unless the firearm is used in the commission of a crime.


Florida Penalties for Discharging a Firearm in Public

Discharging a firearm in public is generally classified as a first-degree misdemeanor. The penalty for a first-degree misdemeanor is normally comprised of up to one year in jail, or 12 months probation. Alongside this, a conviction for discharging a firearm will lead to a fine of up to $1,000.

The penalty for discharging a weapon in public can be enhanced based on the circumstances. If the accused fires a weapon from a vehicle their penalty may be upgraded to a third-degree felony. A third-degree felony is a serious charge, with a maximum penalty of up to five years in prison, five years of probation, and a $5,000 fine.


Defenses for Discharging a Firearm in Public

Discharging a firearm in a public or residential area is an illegal offense. If a person has been charged with discharging a firearm in city limits, there are several defenses available to contest the charge.

Some common defenses that can be used by you and your attorney include:

  • Inability of the prosecution to prove that the weapon was discharged knowingly;
  • The defendant was lawfully defending life or property;
  • Discharge occurred in a non-public place;
  • Lack of proof as to who discharged the weapon;
  • Accidental discharge of the weapon;
  • Constitutional violations resulting in exclusion of State evidence
  • Discharge of weapon was not knowing or intentional; or
  • The defendant was lawfully performing official duties requiring discharge of a firearm.

Additional Resources

Open Carrying of Weapons – Visit the website of Florida Open Carry, an organization dedicated to informing the public about correct firearm carry and usage. Read the listed laws that were created for Florida firearms, Florida constitution on guns, press released by Florida Open Carry, and get updates regarding events via eMail.

Florida Statute § 790.15 – Visit Florida Legislature's website and read the statutory language regarding discharging a firearm in a public or residential property. Read the legal specifics on what a person must do to be charged with criminal offenses, exceptions to the rule, and more on Florida firearms laws use and ownership.


Find an Attorney for Discharging a Firearm in Public, FL

There can be a lot of miscommunication involved when a person is charged with discharging a firearm in public. Every situation is different. If you or someone you know has been arrested or charged with discharging a firearm in a public or residential area, it is important that you contact a criminal defense attorney.

Our attorneys at Galigani Law Firm accept and represent clients who have been charged with firearm-related offenses throughout the North Central Florida area. We have decades of experience and have been Board Certified in Criminal Law by the Florida Bar's Certification Board. Only less than one percent of Florida criminal defense lawyers have been recognized with this honor.

Galigani Law Firmthoroughly understands Florida criminal law, and have worked cases involving various law officials including the Trenton Police Department, the Bronson Police Department, the University of Florida Police Department (UFPD), the Gainesville Police Department, the Office of Alachua County Sheriff, the Office of Baker County Sheriff, the Ocala Police Department, and the Office of Columbia County Sheriff.

Be proactive with your charges. Get legal representation from an attorney who will do all they can for you. Call (352) 375-0812 or schedule an online appointment today.


This article was last updated by Jordan Anderson, on June 27th, 2018.