Possession of Short-Barreled Rifle
The topic of guns is extremely explosive – literally. Everyone has an opinion on the subject with people pointing to the Second Amendment in the U.S. Constitution and people on the other side of the argument pointing to newspapers reporting of gun related deaths. The U.S. Congress has passed laws regulating guns and so has the Florida Legislature.
The regulation of short barreled rifles, short barreled shotguns, and machine guns goes all the way back to the National Firearms Act of 1934. These guns can be legally owned only if they are in compliance with Federal law. Florida does allow the guns to be legally owned only if they are in compliance with Federal law. So to understand Florida law, you have to understand the Federal law and one of our West Palm Beach Criminal Attorneys can help.
The prohibited guns are defined in Florida Statute 790.001. The statute defines short barreled rifles as rifles that have a barrel length less than 16 inches or rifles that has been modified or altered to an overall length less than 26 inches. Examples of how people can violate this law are when the owner has not done the requirements of Federal law and: (1) the person attached a rifle stock onto a pistol, (2) the person cut the butt of a rifle off so it’s overall length is less than 26 inches, (3) the person attached a barrel that is less than 16 inches to a rifle, (4) the person cut a rifle barrel down below 16 inches, or (5) the person just possessed the parts to create a short barreled rifle.
The Florida statute defines short barreled shotguns are shotguns with a barrel length less than 18 inches or a shotgun modified or altered to be less than 26 inches overall. If an individual does not comply with Federal law requirements, some examples of how a regular full sized shotgun can be turned into an illegal shotgun are: (1) the shotgun with a barrel length of 18 or more inches is “sawed off” to make the barrel less than 18 inches, (2) the shotgun barrel may be 18 inches or more in length but the shoulder stock was sawed off making the overall length less than 26 inches, (3) the parts to make a short barreled shotgun are in close proximity to each other, (4) the shotgun has a short barrel attached to the gun that is less than 18 inches in length, or (5) a shotgun pistol had a shoulder stock attached to it.
A machine gun is a gun that is capable of firing more than one bullet with one trigger pull. Many individuals understand that this means the “full-auto” types but it also includes the burst-fire guns as well. For example, the M16A2 has the capability of burst firing 3 rounds with only one trigger pull.
What the State Prosecutor has to Prove to Convict You of This Crime
The prosecutor has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt:
- You owned, had in your care, custody, or possession a short barreled rifle, short barreled shotgun, or machine gun; and
- The weapon was operable or could readily be made operable.
The possession of the gun can be determined by either the immediate possession of the gun with the possessor or with constructive possession. For example, if the machine gun is in the lap of person, then they immediately possess the machine gun while a person who has the machine gun locked in a closet at their home, has constructive possession of the machine gun.
Punishment for Breaking This Law
This crime is ranked as level 5 under the Florida Criminal Punishment Code. Anyone committing this crime commits a second-degree felony that is punishable up to 15 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. In addition a Florida prosecution, an individual can face a Federal prosecution because this is a felony punishable up a maximum of 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. See 26 U.S.C. Section 5871.
Contact the Law Office of Roger P. Foley, P.A.
If you or a loved one is being charged with this crime, contact one of our West Palm Beach Short-Barreled Rifle Possession Attorneys today to get help. Our law firm focuses on criminal matters in the South Florida area. We have experience in dealing with weapons related cases.