What Happens if You Bring an Airsoft Gun on School Grounds?

November 22, 2023 Criminal Defense, Juvenile Offenses

Florida law prohibits any weapons or firearms from being brought onto school property. It does not matter if it is during school hours or an after-hours school event, weapons are prohibited.

The Florida School Search Reference Guide explains that, despite the Fourth Amendment prohibiting the unreasonable search and seizure of a person, the unique nature of a public-school environment and the need to protect student safety have allowed courts to ease the restrictions on searches.

When the safety of students is in question, the guide provides that the reasonableness of a search should weigh heavily in favor of school officials.

If a weapon or firearm is brought onto school campus, what are the legal consequences? This page will provide information on possessing or discharging a weapon at a school event, the penalties for minors and their parents who allow the underage possession and use of certain weapons, and a recent example case of an air soft gun being seized at a Leon County football game.

Florida Law Weapons Definition

Florida Statute Section 790.001 provides the definitions for various weapons and firearms.

A concealed weapon is considered any of the following when carried on or about a person in a manner as to conceal the weapon from the ordinary sight of another person:

  • Dirk
  • Metallic knuckles
  • Billie
  • Tear gas gun
  • Chemical weapon or device
  • Any other deadly weapon

Possessing or Discharging Weapon at School Event

It is unlawful for any person to bring dangerous weapons or firearms onto school property.

Florida Statute Section 790.115 explains that it is considered a third-degree felony for a person to exhibit any of the following in a rude or careless manner around multiple people and on the grounds or facilities of any school, bus stop, or within 1,000 feet of a school during normal hours or during a school-sanctioned event:

  • Sword
  • Sword cane
  • Firearm
  • Electronic weapon or device
  • Destructive device
  • Razor blade
  • Box cutter
  • Pocket knife

The penalties for a third-degree felony conviction carry up to a $5,000 fine and up to five years in prison.

If a person brings a weapon or firearm onto school property and discharges it, they can then face a second-degree felony. The penalties for a second-degree felony include up to a $10,000 fine and up to 15 years in prison.

What Happens if the Suspect is a Minor?

Florida has additional laws to prevent minors from using or operating certain weapons.

Under Florida Statute Section 790.22, the only lawful way for a minor under 18 to possess or operate a firearm or other weapon is for the purpose of lawful hunting, lawful marksmanship competition, or when the minor is being supervised by an adult.

A minor who is found in the possession of or operating a firearm can face a first-degree misdemeanor for a first-time offense. This can include detention in a facility for up to five days along with the completion of 100 hours of community service.

The parent, guardian, or any adult responsible for a minor under the age of 16 who is found to have the possession of any BB gun, air or gas-operated gun, electronic weapon or device can be charged with a second-degree misdemeanor. The penalties for a second-degree misdemeanor conviction include up to a $500 fine and up to 60 days in jail.

The parent, guardian, or any adult responsible for a minor who permits them to possess or use a firearm can be charged with a third-degree felony.

Example Case

The Leon County Sheriff’s Office (LCSO) responded to an alert at the Gene Cox Stadium on September 8, 2023. According to their report, 37-year-old Justin Montgomery was attempting to enter a school football game during half time when he was stopped by administrators due to them requesting to search his backpack.

School administrators explained that all backpacks must be searched before entering the stadium. The administrators then found what they believed to be a firearm, resulting in them calling LCSO. When the LCSO deputy responded to the search at the game’s entrance gate, he confirmed that the weapon was not a firearm but an air soft gun that resembled the weight and appearance of a Glock handgun.

The LCSO deputy arrested Montgomery, who was transported to Leon County Detention Facility and charged with carrying a weapon on school grounds. He has also been banned from all Leon County School properties.

Contact a Tallahassee Criminal Defense Lawyer

There are extreme consequences for any person bringing a weapon onto school property. With the recent increase in school shootings in Florida and across the nation, a person found in possession of a firearm or other dangerous weapon will be prosecuted harshly. It is important for parents to be familiar with these laws and to pass the information along to their minor children to avoid the possibility of violating the law.

For any minor who has been accused of unlawfully possessing an air soft, BB gun, or other type of gun or weapon, they should talk to their parents about hiring a defense attorney. An experienced juvenile defense attorney can provide legal insight and guidance while ensuring the defendant’s rights are protected. Call Pumphrey Law Firm today at (850) 681-7777 and receive a free consultation regarding your case.

Written by Karissa Key

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