Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Right, again!

Well . . .  what I've been saying since 1993 has finally been echoed, word-for-word,  in an appellate court opinion.   "the concealed weapons law does not apply to weapons in one's own home."  So -- how did this case and holding come about?

The case is,  Santiago v. State,  37 Fla Law Weekly D161  (Fla. 4DCA 2012),  decided in January 2012 by the Fourth District Court of Appeal.   In that case the defendant was arrested for having a concealed firearm in his own home.  (there were other charges not relevant to this discussion).   The theory of the prosecution was that since other people were in his home,  the law prohibited such carry without a CWP!   The trial judge instructed the jury (because even the jury was having a problem believing what was being argued to them and asked for clarification) that having a concealed firearm in your own home was illegal if other people were in the home!!!  

Absurd!!!

Of course -- the jury then came back "guilty" on the concealed firearm charge -- because they had no choice.  The judge instructed them to do that!   And just  as quickly -- the appellate court reversed the conviction stating that the law on this subject was crystal clear since 1973 that the concealed weapons law did not apply to persons in their own home, or at their business premises!  An excellent decision on a very clear point of law.    However . . .  that's not what this short article is all about.  It's the warning I keep giving everyone -- time and time again:   Just because you and I know the law -- doesn't mean that anybody else does -- and that includes cops, prosecutors, and  (inexcusably) even trial judges!!!

Remember -- this case wasn't about anything novel -- it was basic -- BASIC -- firearms law!   The fact that  the arresting officers did not understand this most basic point is sad -- but not unusual.  But, how the hell does it also go over the heads of the people in the State Attorney's Office who filed the charge . . . and the trial prosecutor . . .  and to top it off . . .  the trial judge?   Especially -- as the defense attorney is telling them they're wrong, and showing them the law!!!   How can all of them be so ignorant???  How can they all ignore the obvious???   Why the heck does a case this simple . . . have to go all the way to an appellate court to get the right decision???

The answer is:   There are just a lot of people out there who are supposed to know about your rights and the law -- who don't know squat -- and seem to care less!  Amazing!

So . . .  here's my warning, and why I tell people to always err on the side of caution:   With rare exception, the only people who really know the law on firearms, weapons, and self defense in Florida -- are the people who've read my book!  If you've read it -- you know more about the law in this area that the police, prosecutors, and judges in this State.   And -- that should scare you!

So . . .  hope you learned something . . .
Have a great day!