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Baker Act and Restoration of Firearms Rights in Florida

We are often asked if one can purchase a firearm after being Baker Acted in Florida.  The short answer is yes, but it depends on your circumstances.Here is some general information on how to attempt to restore your firearms rights after being Baker Acted in Florida.
  1. Determine your eligibility: Before restoring your firearms rights, ensure you are eligible. Generally, you must not be under any court-ordered mental health treatment and should have completed any required treatment or counseling.
  2. Petition for relief: In Florida, you may petition for relief from firearms disabilities. This process typically involves filing a petition with the court that issued the original order or the court in the county where you currently reside.
  3. Gather supporting documentation: You must provide evidence to support your petition. This may include medical records, treatment records, or letters from mental health professionals indicating that you are no longer a danger to yourself or others.
  4. Hire an attorney: Restoring firearms rights can be a complex process, and hiring an attorney with experience in this area of law is generally recommended. They can help you prepare your petition, gather necessary documentation, and represent you in court.
  5. Attend the hearing: If your petition is granted, the court will schedule a hearing to review your case. At the hearing, you may need to present evidence and testify about your mental health status and why you believe you should have your firearms rights restored.
  6. Court decision: The judge will decide based on the presented evidence after the hearing. If the judge finds that you are no longer a danger to yourself or others and that restoring your firearms rights would not be contrary to public safety, they may grant your petition.
  7. Update records: If your petition is granted, you must ensure that your records are updated accordingly. This may involve contacting the Florida Department of Law Enforcement or other relevant agencies to update your background check information.
Remember that restoring firearms rights can be challenging and lengthy, and there is no guarantee that your petition will be successful. Once your firearms rights have been restored, a few additional steps exist.
  1. Obtain documentation: After restoring your firearms rights, obtain a copy of the court order granting the restoration. Keep this document safe; you may need it for future reference or to prove your eligibility to purchase or possess firearms.
  2. Review your criminal record: Check your criminal record to ensure that the restoration of your firearms rights has been accurately reflected. If there are any errors or discrepancies, work with your attorney to correct them.
  3. Familiarize yourself with local and federal gun laws: Now that your firearms rights have been restored, it's essential to understand and follow all applicable local, state, and federal firearms laws. Stay informed about any changes in legislation that may impact your ability to purchase, possess, or use firearms.
  4. Responsible gun ownership: If you choose to own a firearm, ensure that you practice responsible gun ownership. This includes safe storage, proper training, and following all laws related to using, transporting, and possessing firearms.
  5. Stay aware of your mental health: If you were Baker Acted due to a mental health crisis, it's crucial to prioritize your mental health and seek appropriate support, such as therapy or counseling, to prevent future crises.
  6. Monitor changes in the law: Laws and regulations related to firearms rights and mental health can change over time. Please regularly review updates to the law and consult with your attorney as needed to ensure they comply with any new requirements.
Restoring your firearms rights after being Baker Acted can be complex and challenging. Still, by working with a qualified attorney and following these steps, you can increase your chances of success and maintain your rights responsibly.

What Florida cases deal with firearms issues?
Several Florida cases deal with issues surrounding the restoration of firearms rights after involuntary commitment under the Baker Act. Some of these cases have helped shape the legal landscape surrounding restoring these rights. Some relevant cases include:
  1. Fasulo v. State, 825 So. 2d 969 (Fla. 4th DCA 2002): This case clarifies the procedure to restore firearms rights in Florida. It states that an individual must file a petition in the court that issued the original order or in the circuit court where the person resides. The court must then hold a hearing to determine whether the individual is still a danger to themselves or others and whether restoring their firearms rights would be contrary to public safety.
  2. Kelley v. State, 212 So. 3d 63 (Fla. 1st DCA 2017): In this case, the appellate court found that the lower court erred in not considering the petitioner's evidence and testimony regarding his mental health treatment and improvement. The court emphasized the importance of considering all relevant factors, including the individual's progress in treatment and risk of future dangerousness, when determining whether to restore firearms rights.
  3. Norman v. State, 159 So. 3d 205 (Fla. 4th DCA 2015): This case deals with the burden of proof for restoring firearms rights. The court held that the petitioner bears the burden of proving by clear and convincing evidence that they are no longer a danger to themselves or others and that restoring their firearms rights would not be contrary to public safety.
These cases highlight some key legal issues related to restoring firearms rights after involuntary commitment under the Baker Act in Florida. Keep in mind that laws and interpretations may change over time. It is essential to consult with an attorney familiar with the most recent developments in this area of law to get accurate advice for your specific situation.If you are looking to restore your firearms right, CONTACT our Florida Restoration Lawyer or call us at 904-990-8000 to discuss your situation today.
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