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Discharge of Firearm in Public

Florida Statute § 790.15(1), provides that any person who knowingly discharges a firearm in any public place or on or over the right-of-way of any paved public road, highway, or street or over any occupied premises is guilty of a misdemeanor of the first degree. The misdemeanor charge of discharge of a firearm in public is punishable by 12 months in jail and a $500 fine.

Related charges include armed trespass under Florida Statute Section 810.09(2)(c) and trespass by projectile under Section 810.09(2)(h).

Attorneys for "Discharging a Firearm in Public" in Tampa, FL

If you are charged with any felony or misdemeanor criminal offense involving a firearm then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at the Sammis Law Firm. We represent clients charged with a wide variety of weapons charges. We also represent individuals with a concealed weapons permit who are acting in self-defense.

Call us today to discuss your case in the Tampa Bay area including Hillsborough County, Pinellas County, Pasco County, Hernando County, or Polk County, FL


Defenses to Discharge of a Firearm

It is a defense to the charge of discharging a firearm in public if the person who fired the gun was acting in self-defense by lawfully defending life or property.

It is also a defense to the charge if the person who fired the gun was performing official duties when those duties required the discharge of a firearm or to a person discharging a firearm on public roads or properties expressly approved for hunting by the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission or Division of Forestry.

The misdemeanor offense of discharging a gun in public is not necessarily a lesser included offense of aggravated battery. 


Discharging a Firearm on Private Property in Florida

Prior to 2012, s. 790.15(1), F.S., did not address discharging a firearm on private property except that it was a first degree misdemeanor to knowingly discharge a firearm over any occupied premises. 

Section 790.15,(1), F.S. also punishes as a first-degree misdemeanor the knowing discharge of a firearm in any public place or on the right-of-way of any paved public road, highway, or street or over the right-of-way of any paved public road, highway, or street.

In 2012, the Legislature amended s. 790.15(1), F.S., to prohibit recklessly or negligently discharging a firearm outdoors on any property used primarily as the site of a dwelling as defined in s. 776.013, F.S., or zoned exclusively for residential use. The term “dwelling” is defined in accordance with s. 776.013, F.S., as a building or conveyance of any kind, including any attached porch, whether the building or conveyance is temporary or permanent, mobile or immobile, which has a roof over it, including a tent, and is designed to be occupied by people lodging therein at night.


Enhanced Penalties for the Discharge of a Firearm

The crime is elevated to a second-degree felony when the occupant of any vehicle knowingly and willfully discharges any firearm from a vehicle within 1,000 feet of any person. Florida Statute § 790.15(2). A second-degree felony is punishable by up to 15 years in Florida State Prison and a fine of $5,000. 

Additionally, the driver or owner of the vehicle (regardless of whether he is in the vehicle at the time) knowingly directs a person to discharge the firearm from the vehicle can also be charged with a felony in the third degree under Florida Statute § 790.15(3).

According to Chapter 790.001(6), F.S., '"Firearm" means any weapon (including a starter gun) which will, is designed to, or may readily be converted to expel a projectile by the action of an explosive; the frame or receiver of any such weapon; any firearm muffler or firearm silencer; any destructive device; or any machine gun...".


Additional Resources

Florida Statute § 790.15 - Visit the official internet site of the Florida Legislature to read the statutory language of Florida’s statute for discharging a firearm in public or on a residential property.

Questions about Discharging a Firearm - Visit the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission page on frequently asked questions about “How far do you have to be from a road, home, or other structure to hunt or shoot a gun?” The answer to that question also discusses how the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) regulates firearms in regards to the taking of fish and wildlife. The answer also discusses the application of Florida Statute Section 790.15 and other applicable local regulations. The answer also explains that shooting over or across someone else’s land without permission (even if there is no house or other structure) is a felony.


Finding an Attorney for Firearms Crimes in Florida

If you have been charged with any weapon or firearm charge in Hillsborough County, including at the courthouse in Tampa or Plant City, then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney with the Sammis Law Firm.

We represent clients on misdemeanor and felony firearm charges in the Tampa Bay area. Call 813-250-0500 today to discuss the case.


This article was last updated on Monday, November 7, 2016.