Possession of an Illegal Firearm

The Second Amendment is one of the most hallowed constitutional protections that the United States offers its citizens. There are, however, limits to the right to bear arms that can be imposed by the federal government and by the states.

Usually, these limits are in regards to what types of weapon can be owned. The punishment for possessing an illegal firearm can be a heavy fine and a lengthy prison sentence and it is advised that if you are under investigation or have been charged with a possession of illegal firearm crime that you immediately seek attorney help.

Lawyer for Illegal Firearm Arrests in Palm Beach, FL

If you have been charged with possession of an illegal firearm, it is in your best interest to get legal counsel as soon as possible. Meltzer & Bell, P.A. defends clients arrested for firearm offenses in Royal Palm Beach, Riviera Beach, Palm Beach Gardens, Greenacres, Lake Worth, and many other surrounding areas of Palm Beach County, Miami-Dade County, and Broward County.

Lawrence Meltzer and Steven Bell are experienced criminal defense attorneys in West Palm Beach who will do whatever they can to try to get you a positive result in your case. You can have our lawyers provide a complete evaluation of your case when you call (561) 557-8686 to set up a free, confidential consultation.


Possession of Illegal Firearm Information Center


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Possession of an Illegal Firearm Statute in Florida

The state of Florida has an extensive portion of its law dedicated to weapons and firearms. There are, however, only a few types of weapons that are explicitly banned and a few types of illegal ammunitions. Regarding firearm types, the State of Florida explicitly makes it a crime to possess the following:

  • Short-Barreled Rifle – A rifle with any barrel of a length of less than 16 inches in length is prohibited. Also, any weapon made from a rifle through alteration, modification, or otherwise that has an overall length less than 26 inches is also prohibited.
  • Short-Barreled Shotgun – A shotgun with any barrel under 18 inches is prohibited. Also, any weapon made from a shotgun through alteration, modification, or otherwise that has an overall length less than 26 inches is also prohibited.
  • Machine Gun – Any firearm which shoots or is designed to shoot automatically more than one shot, without manually reloading, by a single function of the trigger.
  • Ballistic Self-Propelled Knives – A device that propels a knifelike blade as a projectile and which physically separates the blade from the device by means of a coil spring, elastic material, or compressed gas. It is not only unlawful to own, it is also unlawful to manufacture or sell. The term self-propelled knife does not extend to arrows, bolts, or darts.
  • Bump-fire stocks – a conversion kit, tool, accessory or device used to alter the rate of fire to a faster rate than is possible for a person to fire such semiautomatic firearm unassisted.

A short-barreled rifle, short-barreled shotgun, or machine gun that is an antique is not subject to Florida’s firearm prohibitions. An antique firearm is defined as having been manufactured in or before 1918, as well as any firearm using fixed ammunition manufactured in or before 1918, where the ammunition is no longer made in the U.S. and is not readily available in the ordinary channels of commerce. Note that not only are guns made prior to 1918 exempt, but replicas of pre-1918 firearms that were made after 1918 are also exempt.

Certain types of ammunition are also explicitly prohibited. A list of ammunition prohibited in Florida is listed below:

  • Armor-piercing bullet – any bullet with a steel core or core of equivalent hardness and a truncated cone. This prohibition only applies to handgun rounds designed to pierce armor or metal.
  • Exploding bullet – any bullet designed or altered to detonate or forcibly break up through use of an explosive or deflagrant contained within or attached to the bullet. This does not include bullets designed to expand or break up through impact force alone. This also does not include signaling devices such as flares or pest control devices not designed to impact on any target.
  • Dragon’s breath shotgun shell – any shotgun shell that contains exothermic pyrophoric misch metal as the projection and that is designed for the sole purpose of throwing or spewing a flame or fireball to simulate a flamethrower.
  • Bolo shell – any shotgun shell that can be fired in a firearm that expels two or more metal balls connected by a solid metal wire as a projectile.
  • Flachette Shell – any shell that can be fired in a firearm that expels two or more pieces of fin stabilized solid metal wire or two or more solid dart-type projectiles.

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Possession of an Illegal Firearm Penalties in Palm Beach County

The penalties for possessing an illegal firearm or illegal ammo type in Florida can be fairly strict. Both possessing an illegal firearm or illegal ammunition type are considered felonies and carry the following punishments:

  • Possession of an Illegal Firearm – Second-Degree Felony – Up to 15 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.
  • Possession of an Illegal Ammunition Type, Bump-fire Stock – Third Degree Felony – Up to 5 years in prison and a fine up to $5,000.
  • Possession of a Ballistic Self-Propelled Knife – First Degree Misdemeanor – Up to 1 year in prison and up to $1,000 fine.

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Possession of an Illegal Firearm Resources

Florida Weapons and Firearm Statute – The discussion above only covers prohibited firearms. The full statute is included in the link. The entire weapons law covers everything from bb-guns to hoax bombs. You can also find the relevant laws related to the sale and storage of firearms.

Location Restrictions on the Carry of Firearms | Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services – Even legal firearms cannot be carried in certain places, including for people with concealed carry licenses. This link to the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services website, will give you a list of places where a weapon is prohibited. The site also gives useful information about concealed carry licenses in general.


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Find an Illegal Firearm Defense Attorney in West Palm Beach, FL

Were you arrested for possession of an illegal firearm in the Palm Beach County area? You will want to contact Meltzer & Bell, P.A. as soon as possible.

Our West Palm Beach criminal defense lawyers represent individuals in communities throughout Palm Beach County, Miami-Dade County, and Broward County, including Wellington, Delray Beach, Boynton Beach, Jupiter, Boca Raton, and several others. Call (561) 557-8686 or submit an online contact form to have our attorneys review your case and answer all of your legal questions during a free initial consultation.


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