A Jacksonville teen trying to sneak into a Clay County movie theater is now facing a felony charge of carrying a concealed firearm after police found a gun in his waistband. The 17-year-old is charged with carrying a concealed weapon, resisting arrest and trespassing, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. The concealed weapon charge is a third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison. The teen could be charged as a juvenile and avoid prison time, but the newspaper reported he also had three warrants out for his arrest in Duval County, so the state may be unwilling to keep him in juvenile court. The resisting arrest without violence charge and the trespassing count are both misdemeanors in Florida.
People are on high alert for guns in movie theaters after the mass shooting in Colorado over the summer. A prime example was when police evacuated a St. Johns County movie theater last week after there was a report of someone bringing a gun into the theater. After further investigation, it turned out the person was simply trying to sneak in a submarine sandwich to eat during the show. So the recent Clay County case will be thought of as a teen bringing a gun into the theater, but it’s really a trespassing case where the person happened to have a gun on him. He was trying to watch a movie without paying for a ticket and got caught. There is no evidence that’s been made public about the teen planning to shoot people inside the theater and he didn’t show it or try to use it when he was running away from police. In fact, the newspaper reported the teen told police about the gun before they found it.
It is not illegal to carry a concealed weapon in the state of Florida, but there are several requirements that must be met. First, a person must have a permit to do so. In this case, the teen was not even eligible, because a person must be at least 18 to even apply for a permit. There are also restrictions on where a person can bring a gun and it is a felony for a convicted felon to possess or own a firearm.
Clay County Gun Crimes cases are treated very seriously by prosecutors and, in many cases, the state is looking for sentences close to the maximum if it is willing to negotiate at all. For the teen in this Clay County juvenile gun crimes case, there doesn’t appear to be much he can argue. He admitted to having the gun and police found it on him, so the proof is there. But the key in this Clay County gun crimes case will be trying to keep the case in juvenile court.
If you or a loved one needs a criminal defense attorney in Clay County or the surrounding area, call The Mussallem Law Firm at (904) 365-5200 for a free consultation. Our Clay County Gun Crimes Attorney, Victoria “Tori” Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.