Florida Gun Owners - Storing Firearms Is Essential Legal & Physical Safety

It is the constitutional right of every American to bear arms. However, with that right comes enormous responsibility because, unlike a tool such as a screwdriver, or pair of pliers, a firearm, when misused, can cause serious injury and often death since it was designed to do so. This is why for any resident of Lakewood Ranch or Bradenton who owns a firearm, the proper storage of these weapons provides both legal and physical safety, and here are the reasons why.

Firearms Should Never Be Easy

In 2019, there were over 2180 deaths in Florida due to the use of firearms. While most were the result of intentional acts, such as homicide or suicide, 51 were other incidents, usually accidents. And one of the chief reasons that accidents with firearms occur is because access to those firearms is too easy. In 2021, there were 379 accidental shootings by children, resulting in 154 deaths.

Ideally, a firearm should be stored in a proper locker or safe, with a code that is only known to the primary owner of the weapons. This way, no one else can access firearms if the gun owner is at home. In this way, the firearms are only used if the owner feels the need to bring them out for the purposes of home protection or self-defense.

Easy Access Is Negligence

Rifles, pistols, and shotguns are designed to do one thing, inflict maximum harm—or death—with minimal challenge. As a result, playing with firearms can often result in injury or death when care is not exercised, and this is never more true than in situations where children are involved. Many children, especially boys, still see firearms as fun, glamorous items they want to play with.

One tragic example is a father who brought a firearm with him into a motel room that he shared with his 8-year-old son and one and 2-year-old daughters of his girlfriend. He left a pistol in a holster and then left the room. The 8-year-old child took out the gun, fired it, and injured the two-year-old daughter while killing the one-year-old daughter. He is now being charged with culpable negligence.

Firearms Owners Are Legally Responsible

If a firearm is misused, especially if that misuse results in the injury or death of a child, then this is an illegal act, though not necessarily considered a criminal act. Such injuries are considered a form of “premises liability,” which is a legal condition where a property owner is required to exercise a basic amount of “reasonable care” in the environment, ensuring it is safe for visitors. Proper weapons storage in a firearms locker is one example of exercising reasonable care.

On the other hand, leaving a loaded gun on a coffee table where any child can pick it up and discharge it is a clear example of premises liability since an accident can happen, but the property owner is choosing to ignore the risk.

If you or someone you know has been injured by firearms in the act of negligence, talk to a firearm accident attorney. Whether it’s someone’s act of negligence or a defect in the gun itself, the law is on your side.

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Stephen Fernandez

Stephen M. Fernandez developed a strong belief in justice and fairness in public policy while earning his Political Science degree prior to attending law school. Since joining the Florida Bar Association in 2004, Stephen Fernandez has combined his background in public policy, business administration and civil law to serve as a highly effective trial lawyer fighting for Florida's injured, working hard every day to make sure his clients get what they are owed.



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