Risk Protection Orders
Florida’s New “Red Flag Law”
Parris Law, P.A. has been defending Floridians against Risk Protection Orders since the law was passed in 2018.
If you have been served with a Risk Protection Order by the police, you do NOT have to agree to it. Call our office at 407-706-3967 to discuss your possible defenses
On March 09, 2018, Governor Rick Scott signed new gun control legislation into law in Florida, which included a new statute entitled “Risk Protection Order Act” (Section 790.401, Florida Statutes). The Act allows law enforcement agencies to petition the circuit court to temporarily remove a person’s firearms for up to 14 days and then, after a hearing, remove them for a period of up to 12 months (and preventing the person from purchasing any additional firearms by placing his or her name into the FICS/NICS background check system). There are many troubling aspects of this new procedure because it is completely open-ended. The court has broad discretion to impose this “gun injunction” based on “any relevant evidence” if the judge finds that you constitute a “significant danger” by owning a firearm. Parris Law, P.A. has a proven track record of beating these petitions in court.
Only five other states had passed similar statutes prior to the passage of Florida’s statute last March, and so there is extremely limited guidance from the courts on whether these laws can withstand constitutional scrutiny. Each state’s law is somewhat different. The one in Florida was cribbed almost word-for-word from the “Extreme Risk Protection Act” passed in Washington State in 2016, with some very minor changes. Eventually, section 790.401, Florida Statutes, is likely to be challenged as unconstitutionally overbroad and vague. Parris Law, P.A. is currently working on an appeal to the Second District Court of Appeal arguing that the law is unconstitutional on its face.
If you are subject to this law, the first thing you will receive, either in the mail or via hand-delivery, is a Temporary Ex Parte Order/Petition. This will be granted without your knowledge and input and will be based entirely on law enforcement allegations. This is what starts the 14-day clock before a hearing must be held to determine whether the Order will be extended for up to a year. During that time, you are required to turn your firearms over to the law enforcement agency that filed the petition.
Losing your firearms and your ability to purchase new ones is not the only concern you will have. The law makes no provision for confidentiality. If the petitioners (law enforcement) allege that you have a mental illness or similar, you will need an attorney to file a motion to determine the confidentiality of the proceedings, and you may have to defend yourself against media scrutiny. You’ll also need a competent attorney to assist you during the hearing. I handled the first petition for risk protection order in Orange County/Ninth Judicial Circuit and succeeded in persuading the judge to deny the petition and dissolve the temporary ex parte order. Every case is different, but if you feel you have been wrongly subjected to this new law, please call for a consultation to determine what you should do next.
Do not go through this process without an experienced and knowledgeable lawyer (and DO NOT TALK TO THE POLICE WITHOUT A LAWYER – EVEN IF THEY TELL YOU YOU’RE “NOT IN TROUBLE”). The consequences extend far beyond a firearm injunction. You will be subjected to serious potential criminal penalties and may find yourself without a job – and unable to get one in the future. There may be other dire consequences in your life. If you need assistance defending yourself against a petition for risk protection order, please call Parris Law, P.A. today and schedule an appointment.