In Florida, firearm safety has been a recent topic of discussion with people thinking about safety. Given the number of incidents in which people have used a weapon – which they owned legally – to do untold damage, state lawmakers sought to put safeguards in place to prevent those who are considered dangerous from using their weapons in a harmful and destructive way.
A Risk Protection Order is used to address the possibility that a gun owner could be a threat. People who are facing a Risk Protection Order are unlikely to believe one is necessary. In these instances, they should understand what defenses they can use to avoid this order being put in effect or to have it removed.
Know the facts about Risk Protection Orders
To get a Risk Protection Order, a petition must be filed. A law enforcement agency or a law enforcement officer can file it. This can be done through a person who is authorized to do so, known as the petitioner. The person against whom the Risk Protection Order is being filed is the respondent.
People will take this step if they believe that the respondent could present a danger to themselves or others if they have a firearm. If it is approved, the respondent will be compelled to surrender their firearms, ammunition and a license to carry a concealed weapon. In addition, they cannot buy a firearm, try to buy a firearm or possess one for a specified duration. It can last for one full year.
For a Risk Protection Order, the petitioner needs to provide specific facts. If, for example the person has made specific threats, has shown evidence of being mentally ill, has violated protective orders or has been reckless with their firearms, this could be sufficient to receive the order.
There must be clear and convincing evidence of the danger the person presents. The firearms that the respondent possesses should be listed in the petition. The petitioner is expected to inform those who live with the respondent that there is a risk of violence.
The respondent has options to vacate the order. They can make one request to vacate the order. It needs to be in writing and must show by clear and convincing evidence that they are not a danger. Perhaps they were examined and treated by a mental health professional who provides evidence that they are not a risk.
When the order expires, the person must get their property back. There will be a background check to ensure the person remains eligible to have their firearms. Those who violate this order will be arrested. The charge is a third-degree felony.
Know how to fight a Risk Protection Order
Simply because a person is facing the loss of their firearms because of a Risk Protection Order does not mean it should be granted or extended.
People who own firearms and have a license to carry them should be fully aware of how to combat an attempt to take their weapons away.
This is often viewed from the perspective of the petitioner, but the respondent has options. Knowing them is essential to address these challenges.