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Updated: 05/05/2013 08:00:37AM

Know firearm requirements under the law

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Bartow Police Chief Joseph Hall

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When it comes to firearms, controversy arises and people tend to make purchases they wouldn’t normally make, for fear of future cost hikes or limitations on availability. I get many questions regarding gun requirements, and the laws that deal with the purchase, transfer or sale of a firearm. Those statutes are pretty easy to provide to individuals in need of answers. One issue that we don’t talk about enough, is the safekeeping of those firearms after the purchase.

Yes, in Florida there are regulations that dictate what you must do even in your own home, if you own a firearm. Florida State Statute 790.174, “Safe Storage of firearms required” specifically deals with this issue.

Basically, it states that if you own a firearm, you are responsible for its safekeeping even at home; you MUST prevent it from falling into the hands of a minor. Furthermore, if you do not prevent this from happening, not only is a minor going to be in serious trouble with the law for having the firearm, but the owner that failed to secure that weapon is also going to be in trouble. If you keep the firearm loaded, it has to be securely locked away in a container or protected by a trigger lock.

If you don’t have one, you can pick one up at your local dealer or possibly your local law enforcement agency. Most law enforcement agencies provide trigger locks, free of charge to owners, in an effort to keep everyone safe in the home.

The accountability is great when you own a firearm. The Constitution provided you with the right to possess them, and you hold the power to protect those rights by being legal, safe and responsible.

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