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Return of Firearms in Pasco County, FL

Administrative Order No. 2016-027 PA-CIR addresses the procedures for the return of firearms in Pasco County, FL. The procedures are necessary because Section 933.14(3), Florida Statutes, provides that no firearm seized by law enforcement with a search warrant or without a search warrant upon view by an officer of a breach of the peace shall be returned except upon court order.

The administrative order was signed by the Chief Judge in Chambers at the courthouse in St. Petersburg, Pinellas County, Florida, in May of 2016, but it applies to case decided at the courthouse in New Port Richey and Dade City, FL.

The order is necessary for the efficient administration of justice to establish a uniform procedure in Pasco County for determining the appropriateness of ordering the return of firearms taken by law enforcement under section 933.14(3), Florida Statutes, where no arrest was made and no charges were filed.


Petitions for the Return of Firearms in Pasco County, FL 

Any person who seeks the return of a firearm seized by law enforcement under section 933.14(3), Florida Statutes, where no arrest was made and no case was filed must file a Petition for Return of Firearm(s) with the Clerk of Court. The petition must be sworn and must be served on the law enforcement agency in possession of the firearm(s). A form Petition for Return of Firearm(s) was attached to the administrative order as Attachment "A."

The petition must be sworn and must be served on the law enforcement agency in possession of the firearm(s). A form Petition for Return of Firearm(s) was attached to the administrative order as Attachment "A."

In order to provide for the timely and uniform disposition of petitions for the return of firearms within Pasco County, and in accordance with Article V, section 2, Florida Constitution, Rule of Judicial Administration 2.215, and section 43.26, Florida Statutes, the Chief Judge signed the administrative order that explained the rules for the return of a firearm in Pasco County, FL, at the courthouse in New Port Richey or Dade City, FL.


Requirements for the Petition to Return a Firearm

All Petitions for Return of Firearm(s) must specifically identify the firearm(s) and/or ammunition sought to be returned and must further allege that:

  • the firearm(s) and/or ammunition is/are the petitioner’s personal property;
  • the firearm(s) and/or ammunition is/are not the fruit of criminal activity and was/were not involved in criminal activity;
  • the firearm(s) and/or ammunition is/are not being held as evidence by the relevant law enforcement agency;
  • the petitioner is not prohibited from possessing a firearm under any provision of Florida or federal law, including 18 U.S.C. 922(g)(9);
  • the petitioner has not been convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence, and has not had adjudication of guilt withheld or the imposition of a sentence suspended on any misdemeanor crime of domestic violence unless three (3) years have elapsed since probation or any other conditions set by the relevant court have been fulfilled or expunction has occurred;
  • the petitioner is not prohibited from possessing a firearm and/or ammunition pursuant to the terms of any pretrial release, bond, probation, or any other type of community supervision or court program;
  • the petitioner has not been Baker Acted as a result of this incident or otherwise;
  • the petitioner does not have an active Domestic Violence Injunction or a Repeat Violence Injunction against him/her;
  • the petitioner has not been adjudicated mentally defective as defined by section 790.065(2)(a)4.a., Florida Statutes, or if the petitioner has been adjudicated mentally defective, the petitioner has had his or her capacity restored by a court for at least 5 years from the date of the Petition for Return of Firearm(s); and
  • the petitioner has not been committed to a mental institution as defined in section 790.065(2)(a)4.b., Florida Statutes, or if the petitioner has been committed to a mental institution, the petitioner possesses a certificate from a licensed psychiatrist that he or she has not suffered from a mental disability for at least 5 years since the commitment to a mental institution.

If the petitioner has been Baker Acted, the petitioner will provide the Judge with a copy of the documents furnished to the petitioner or the petitioner’s representative by the facility, upon or after discharge of the petitioner from the facility, which contain any evaluations, diagnoses, prognoses, recommended course of treatment, and recommended or prescribed medications, and a letter from a licensed mental health professional stating that the person is of sound mind to possess a firearm.


Attachments to the Petition to Return the Firearm

The petitioner must attach to the petition a copy of the agency report detailing the circumstances which led to the taking of the firearm(s). All Petitions for Return of Firearm(s) in Pasco County shall be assigned to the Pasco Administrative Judge.

The law enforcement agency shall review the Petition for Return of Firearm(s) and attempt to verify the information contained therein and advise the court accordingly.

To obtain a hearing on a petition, the petitioner must contact the Pasco Administrative Judge’s judicial assistant to be assigned a hearing date Once assigned a hearing date, the petitioner is responsible for preparing a notice of hearing and serving it on the law enforcement agency in possession of the firearm(s) no less than 14 days prior to the hearing date. The notice shall be

The notice shall be hand-delivered or sent via certified mail to the law enforcement agency. A form notice of hearing is attached to this administrative order as Attachment B.

Should the petitioner and the law enforcement agency stipulate to the return of the firearm(s) without a hearing, a proposed order authorizing the release of the firearm(s) must accompany the stipulation. A form proposed order is attached to this administrative order as Attachment C.

The administrative order that included a sample "Petition for Return of Firearms" was provided to The Honorable Bernie McCabe, State Attorney, The Honorable Bob Dillinger, Public Defender, The Honorable Paula S. O’Neil, Clerk of the Circuit Court, Pasco County The Honorable Chris Nocco, Sheriff, Pasco County, Gay Inskeep, Trial Courts Administrator, Lillian Simon, Director of Administrative Services for Pasco County Ngozi Acholonu, Assistant Regional Counsel, Bar Associations, Pasco and Pinellas Counties, Law Libraries, Pasco and Pinellas Counties, and Pasco County Law Enforcement. 


Sample Forms of the Petition for Return of Firearms


IN THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE SIXTH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT OF THE STATE OF FLORIDA IN AND FOR PASCO COUNTY
CRIMINAL DIVISION


_________________________________, Petitioner,
v.
_________________________________, Respondent (Law Enforcement Agency).
Case Number: ________________________

PETITION FOR RETURN OF FIREARM(S)

COMES NOW, Petitioner, ____________________________________, and hereby (Petitioner’s printed name)
requests an order directing Respondent to return his/her firearm(s) and/or ammunition and as grounds would state as follows:

  1. On ______________, the _________________________ took the following firearm(s) (Date) (Law enforcement agency)
    and/or ammunition: ________________________________________________________________________
    _______________________________________________________________________. (Specifically identify the firearm(s) and/or ammunition sought to be returned, including the make, model, caliber, and/or gauge of each firearm and the amount and type of ammunition. Attach a separate sheet, if necessary.)
  2. I have attached a copy of agency report __________________________ from the (Agency report number)
    __________________________________ that describes the circumstances leading to the (Law enforcement agency)
    taking of the above property.
  3. The firearm(s) (and, if applicable, ammunition) is/are my personal property. I have included copies of any supporting documentation.
  4. The firearm(s) and/ or ammunition is/are not the fruit of criminal activity and was/were not involved in criminal activity.
  5. The firearm(s) and/or ammunition is/are not being held as evidence by the law enforcement agency.
  6. To the best of my knowledge, _______________________________ located at (Law enforcement agency) __________________________________ is in possession of the firearm(s) and/or (Address of law enforcement agency)
    ammunition.
  7. I am not prohibited from possessing a firearm and/or ammunition under any provision of Florida or federal law.
  8. I have not been convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence, and I have not had adjudication of guilt withheld or imposition of sentence suspended on any misdemeanor crime of domestic violence unless 3 years have elapsed since probation or any other conditions set by the court have been fulfilled or expunction has occurred.
  9. I am not prohibited from possessing a firearm and/or ammunition pursuant to the terms of any pretrial release, bond, probation, or any other type of community supervision or court program.
  10. I was/was not (circle one) Baker Acted as a result of this incident or otherwise. (Note: If the petitioner has been Baker Acted, the petitioner must provide the Judge with a copy of the documents furnished to the petitioner or the petitioner’s representative by the facility, upon or after discharge of the petitioner from the facility, which contain any evaluations, diagnosis, prognoses, recommended course of treatment, and recommended or prescribed medications, and a letter from a licensed mental health professional stating that the person is of sound mind to possess a firearm.)
  11. I do not have an active Domestic Violence Injunction or a Repeat Violence Injunction against me.
  12. I do not have a Domestic Violence Injunction or a Repeat Violence Injunction pending against me.
  13. I have not been adjudicated mentally defective as defined by section 790.065(2)(a)4.a., Florida Statutes, or if I had been adjudicated mentally defective, I have had my capacity restored by a court for at least 5 years from today’s date.
  14. I have not been committed to a mental institution as defined in section 790.065(2)(a)4.b., Florida Statutes, or if I had been committed to a mental institution, I possess a certificate from a licensed psychiatrist that I have not suffered from a mental disability for at least 5 years since the commitment to a mental institution.
  15. My date of birth is: _____________________________. (Date of birth)

WHEREFORE, Petitioner requests that the Court order Respondent to return the above firearm(s) and/or ammunition to Petitioner.

Under penalties of perjury, I declare that I have read this petition and that the statements in it are true and correct.

Signed this _____ day of _______________________, 20____.
____________________________________ (Petitioner’s signature)
____________________________________ (Petitioner’s printed name)
____________________________________ (Petitioner’s address)
____________________________________ (Petitioner’s city, state, zip code)
____________________________________ (Petitioner’s telephone number)
____________________________________ (Petitioner’s e-mail address, if applicable)

CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE

I hereby certify that a copy of this Petition for Return of Firearm(s) has been furnished to

Respondent, ___________________________________________________________________, (Law enforcement agency) _____________________________________________________________________________,
(Address of law enforcement agency) by U.S. mail or by hand delivery to the law enforcement agency’s front desk on this _____ day
of _________________________, 20____.

Sixth Circuit Administrative Order 2016-027 - Attachment A Page 3 of 3
____________________________________ (Petitioner’s signature)
____________________________________ (Petitioner’s printed name)


IN THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE SIXTH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT OF THE STATE OF FLORIDA IN AND FOR PASCO COUNTY
CRIMINAL DIVISION

_____________________________, Petitioner,
v.
_____________________________, Respondent (Law enforcement agency).
Case Number: __________________

NOTICE OF HEARING

TO: _________________________________ (Name, legal counsel)
_________________________________ (Law enforcement agency)
_________________________________ (Street address)
_________________________________ (City, State, Zip)

YOU ARE HEREBY NOTIFIED that the Petitioner’s Petition for Return of Firearm(s) has been scheduled for a hearing before the Honorable _______________________________, in (Judge name) Courtroom _______ at the _______________________________________, on the ______ day (Courtroom number) (Courthouse name) (Day) of ________________, 20____, at ____:____ a.m. / p.m. or as soon thereafter as may be heard. (Month) (Year) (Time) (Circle one)

DATED this _____ day of _____________________, 20____.

Respectfully submitted,

Copies furnished to:
Courtesy copy to Judge
_____________________________ (Law enforcement agency)
____________________________________ (Petitioner’s signature) ____________________________________ (Petitioner’s printed name) ____________________________________ (Petitioner’s address) ____________________________________ (Petitioner’s city, state, zip code) ____________________________________ (Petitioner’s telephone number) ____________________________________ (Petitioner’s e-mail address, if applicable)


IN THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE SIXTH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT OF THE STATE OF FLORIDA IN AND FOR PASCO COUNTY
CRIMINAL DIVISION

_________________________________, Petitioner,
v.
_________________________________, Respondent (Law Enforcement Agency).
Case Number: ________________________

ORDER ON PETITION FOR RETURN OF FIREARM(S)

THIS CAUSE came before the Court on Petitioner’s Petition for Return of Firearm(s). The Court having reviewed the Petition, taken testimony, heard argument, and being otherwise fully advised in the premises, it is:

ORDERED AND ADJUDGED that Petitioner’s Petition for Return of Firearm(s) is hereby GRANTED / DENIED as to the following firearm(s):
1. _____________________________________________________________________

2. _____________________________________________________________________

3. _____________________________________________________________________

4. _____________________________________________________________________

5. _____________________________________________________________________

DONE AND ORDERED in ________________________, ___________________ County, this ______ day of ______________________, 20____.

Copies furnished to: Petitioner Respondent
Sixth Circuit Administrative Order 2016-027 - Attachment C Page 1 of 1
___________________________________ Circuit Court Judge


This article was last updated on Friday, May 11, 2018.