Committing a Crime with an Unloaded Firearm
Recently the Broward County Sun-Sentinel reported on a case involving a robbery alleged to have taken place in Fort Lauderdale Florida. According to the victims, the assailant was armed with a handgun, which was pointed directly at her head.
See Sun-Sentinel Article: Armed robber fired empty gun at intended victims
According to police, the assailant attempted to fire the gun several times, however, no bullets discharged due to the fact that the gun was not loaded.
Criminal defense attorney William Moore states that the fact that the firearm was unloaded is obviously fortunate for the victim, however, will in no way negate the “robbery with a firearm” charges that have already been filed by the Broward County State Atty.'s office. The fact is that under Florida criminal law, it is not a defense to a firearm charge that the gun was not loaded.
A review of the Broward County criminal court case file revealed that the assailant was charged with one count of robbery with a firearm in addition to six additional counts such as aggravated battery with a deadly weapon and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. Attorney Moore pointed out that according to police reports the assailant hit at least one of the victims with the butt of the unloaded pistol.
No information was available as to whether or not the assailant had been previously convicted for a felony offense, nor whether or not he was licensed to carry a firearm. There did not appear to be any charges filed for carrying a concealed firearm nor possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
Robbery with a Firearm
Florida Statute 812.13 makes it a criminal offense to take property from another through forceful or violent means while in possession of a firearm. There is nothing in the statute that speaks to ammunition, meaning that the fact that the gun was unloaded is of no consequence from a criminal defense standpoint. In fact, use of the gun as part of the force required under the Florida statute is not necessary either. Meaning, an individual who pushes another to the ground in order to snatch their necklace can be charged and found guilty of robbery with a firearm where said assailant had a pistol in their back pocket.
Robbery with a firearm is a level 9 first-degree felony. Defendants convicted of robbery with a firearm are subject to minimum sentences under Florida's 10-20-life firearm enhancement.
Questions regarding this case should be directed to attorney William R. Moore in Fort Lauderdale, Florida by calling 954-523-5333.