Can a convicted felon possess an antique firearm in Jacksonville, Florida? It appears that the Florida Supreme Court has not directly answered this question. According to Florida Statute Section 790.23, a convicted felon is prohibited from possessing a firearm. This crime is known as Jacksonville Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon. Florida Statute Section 790.001(6) defines “firearm” and specifically exempts antique firearms, unless it is used in the commission of a crime. From the plain language of these Florida laws, it would seem obvious that a Jacksonville convicted felon may possess an antique firearm since it is not prohibited by the statute. However, Florida case law does not support this rationale.
In Williams v. State, 492 So. 2d 1051 (Fla. 1986), the Florida Supreme Court ruled that Section 790.23 could not be construed to allow a convicted felon to possess a concealed firearm, even an antique firearm. Florida’s 5th District Court of Appeals addressed this issue in Bostic v. State, 902 So. 2d 225 (Fla. 5th DCA 2005). In Bostic, the court stated that “the firearm a convicted felon is prohibited from possessing excludes an antique firearm.” However, the court did not grant the defendant’s motion to dismiss, because the trial court ruled that the firearm in question was not an antique.
After reading these Florida cases, it appears that the law is unsettled on the issue of whether a convicted felon can possess an antique firearm in Jacksonville. I agree with Judge Sharpe’s dissent in Bostic. He stated that the law either (1) clearly permits possession of the antique firearm or (2) is unconstitutionally vague.