The Florida legislature passed SB 7063 as a large part of the response to the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Under this law, law enforcement has the right to seize weapons, including firearms and ammunition, from any person that is at a higher risk of hurting themselves or others. While the gun control law is meant to lower the risk of future mass shootings, it has also had serious repercussions for firearm owners that comply with the law. To better understand risk protection orders, we have prepared the most frequently asked questions about them below.
What is a Risk Protection Order?
A risk protection order is an order issued by the court that requires a person to surrender their firearms to law enforcement. This person, known as the respondent, must also surrender their license to carry a concealed weapon, when appropriate.
Can Anyone File a Risk Protection Order?
No. The only people authorized to file a petition for an RPO are police officers and other law enforcement agencies. However, if someone believes another person poses a risk to themselves or another person and they own or have access to a firearm, they can contact law enforcement and ask them to file a petition.
When someone asks law enforcement to file a petition, they must provide information and other evidence that supports their request. This evidence can include threats and acts of violence, or of any mental health issues the respondent is currently dealing with. Individuals asking law enforcement to file a petition must also tell the agency of any firearms or ammunition currently in the respondent’s possession.
How Long are Risk Protection Orders in Place?
Usually, courts will sentence risk protection orders for a one year period. However, the length of the order depends on many factors, such as criminal history.
Can You Defend a Risk Protection Order?
If a petition for an RPO is filed, you will be notified and you will have to attend a court hearing within 14 days. It is at this hearing that you can defend yourself, but you should always speak to an Orlando criminal defense lawyer that can represent you. The judge will hear arguments from both sides, and they will only issue an RPO if evidence is presented that shows you pose a risk to yourself or others, and that evidence must be clear and convincing.
In the event that a judge does issue an order against you, you can still request another hearing in an attempt to vacate the order. To do this, you must show the evidence was not clear and convincing, or that the judge made a mistake when appealing to a higher court.
Our Criminal Defense Lawyer in Orlando Can Answer Your Questions
If an RPO has been issued against you, our Orlando criminal defense lawyer at O’Mara Law Group can answer your questions and advise on your case. Call us today at 407-898-5151 or fill out our online form to schedule a consultation.