Mom Faces Misdemeanor Weapons Charge After Being Shot by Son
A Florida mother who was shot in the torso by her son now faces misdemeanor weapons charges. The mother was driving a pickup truck with a horse trailer and had her four-year-old son in the back seat of the truck. When officers made contact with the woman in her vehicle after discovering the vehicle stopped along the side of a road, the mother allegedly told police that her four-year-old son who was buckled and sitting in the backseat shot her through the driver’s seat. Police later discovered a handgun in the backseat of the car. Law enforcement believes that that the handgun was underneath the front seat of the truck but, during travel, slid into the rear area of the passenger compartment where the child was able to obtain control over the gun. Evidence from inside and outside the truck confirmed the woman’s story that the bullet that had struck her did in fact come from inside the truck. Last week, law enforcement officers recommended that the woman be charged with allowing a child access to a firearm.
Allowing Minors to Have Access to Firearms
Under Florida law, a person who either stores or leaves a loaded firearm in an area under his or her control and either knows or should know that a young child can gain access to the firearm without the parent’s permission can be charged with a weapons violation if that child does in fact obtain possession of the firearm or displays it publicly or in a “rude, careless, angry, or threatening manner.” If there is the possibility that a minor might obtain unauthorized possession of the firearm, the adult must do one or more of the following:
- Keep the firearm in a locked box or container, or in a location which a reasonable person would believe to be secure;
- Secure the firearm using a trigger-lock device; and/or
- Carry the firearm on his or her person.
Case Against Mother May Not Be So Clear
Although it may appear the mother in this story has in fact violated this statute, the prosecution would actually need to prove several elements in order to obtain a conviction. One of the more questionable elements includes whether the mother “knew or had reason to know” that her young child could obtain possession of the gun if it was placed under her seat. Determination of this issue may depend on several facts, including whether the seats of the truck were raised in such a way that objects could easily slide during travel while stored underneath the seat.
Those facing weapons charges in Florida need a strong advocate to protect their rights and freedoms. Jeffrey S. Weiner has been fighting for Florida residents charged with weapons offenses for years and is committed to providing exceptional legal counsel and representation to his clients. Contact his office today to discuss your case by calling (305) 670-9919 or contact his office through the firm’s website.