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    Greg and Beth

    the political and personal musings of two
    mountaineers living in west-central Florida
     
    What crime? Comment
    Gregory Morris, 6/13/07 6:56:36 am
    According to this article, some guy in Sarasota just got detained (under the Baker Act... strange) for having a bunch of guns in his car. I'm sure the article is leaving out some important detail (maybe he was wearing underwear on his head and flinging poo or something) but given the details we are given, he didn't commit a crime.
    Located in the truck was a Remington 7400 rifle, a Mossberg shotgun, a Smith & Wesson .38cal. revolver, a Ruger 357 handgun, a Bryco 380 Handgun, and a Springfield 1911 .45cal. revolver. All of the weapons were loaded. Also found in the truck was in excess of 500 rounds of ammunition.

    So What? You are legally allowed to carry loaded weapons in your vehicle, in Florida, if they are securely encased (that includes a holster or your glove box.) 500 rounds of ammo.... big whoop. My ammo box is often that well stocked, and I usually lug the entire box to the range with me. I'm just sick of the media calling four or five guns, or a few hundred rounds of ammo a "cache".

    Basically, the article says the cop found him suspicious, and he told the cop he had a some guns. I'm still trying to figure out what law he broke. The Baker Act is supposed to be an easy way to detain someone who is mentally unhealthy, and a risk to themselves or others because of that. So, that tells me something else was going on here, besides him just having a bunch of guns. Either the man had other problems, or the cop screwed up.

    So why didn't the article mention anything else? I guess it is possible they didn't know anything else, but this is still irresponsible reporting. The article makes it seem like simply having a few guns in your car is a crime. They should have either gotten the facts, or stated that "we don't know why he was taken into custody." Having guns doesn't make your a criminal, or insane!

    Regarding the Baker Act... it is basically an order for detention, based on a short-term threat that an individual poses to themselves or others. But it is important to realize, that to invoke the Baker Act, the person in question must A) refuse a voluntary exam or be incapable of determining the necessity of an exam and B) pose a present, substantial threat to themselves or others if they are not detained (i.e. there isn't another, better option.) "Posing a threat" must, by the definition of the Act, be evidenced by recent behavior. Once that has been established, the purpose of detention is only for an examination to determine if the individual meets the requirements for commitment (or involuntary outpatient placement.) If they don't meet the requirements, they must be released.

    [Comments are closed after a month.]

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