In Florida, there are laws that dictate how you can or cannot use weapons. Discharging a firearm could end up leading to criminal charges, but only in some cases.
Any person who discharges a firearm in the street, on a public road or on a highway, for example, could be charged with a first-degree misdemeanor. Someone who discharges the firearm in a public place may face a misdemeanor as well.
Are there defenses to firing a firearm in public?
There are exceptions that may allow you to walk away without penalties. The law requires that you knowingly discharge a firearm. If you did not intend to fire the weapon, such as if it accidentally discharged, then you may be able to use that as a defense.
The law also doesn’t apply to those who are defending their properties or lives legally. It also doesn’t apply to those who are using the firearm while performing official duties or those who are permitted to use and discharge a firearm by the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and Florida Forest Service. So, if you are hunting in a location where you have permission, you should not face penalties for that.
Interestingly, the law also doesn’t apply in cases where the discharge didn’t pose a foreseeable or reasonable risk to safety, property or life. For example, if you fire a weapon outdoors when there is no one around you and no traffic that could be impacted, it would be a possible defense that you didn’t pose a threat to others.
These are a few things to know about discharging a firearm in Florida. The law is highly specific, and you may have good defensive options.