33-year-old Jerron Smith faces up to five years in prison after a jury in Broward County rejected his defense of not fully understanding the new state Red Flag Law. Smith, who is facing an attempted murder charge after an arrest in March of 2018, refused to voluntarily surrender his firearms when law enforcement arrived to confiscate them.
Prior to this event, Smith owned an AR-15 rifle, and a .22-caliber rifle as well as a Glock handgun. The confiscation came after Smith was charged with attempted murder, and was the result of authorities obtaining a court order to remove the firearms from his possession in April of 2018. The order was executed by a S.W.A.T. unit who confiscated the firearms after Smith refused to surrender them voluntarily.
Editorial: Why this Matters, and Why You Should Care.
You’ve read the news above, and hopefully clicked through to the links provided. If you haven’t go back up and read through those stories. This is the part of the article where I go all editorial on you and state my opinions on the situation. You don’t have to agree with me here, that’s fine. This is America, and you’re allowed to agree or disagree with me.
First and foremost, let’s take a look at the situation. Jerron Smith is an Army veteran who is being charged with attempted murder. The crime he is being charged with stems from a domestic dispute where he discharged six shots into the back of his best friend’s vehicle. He was released on $3,000 bond, and sent home to await his trial. The Glock handgun in question was vouchered and kept by police as evidence. He has not yet been convicted of this crime.
Most people stop here, and they say to themselves, “Well, this guy just attempted murder. Of course his guns should be taken away, that’s common sense.” Here’s the thing. He wasn’t convicted, merely arrested. In the United States of America, you are innocent until proven guilty. Smith has not been proven guilty of this crime yet.
A risk protection order was granted to local law enforcement agencies based on aggravated assault charges in 2016 and 2017. In the case of the 2017 situation, a conviction was not filed against Smith. The disposition of the 2016 investigation is unknown at this time. At the point of the confiscation, Smith had not been formally convicted of any crimes. Any crimes that are publicly known at this time anyways.
Should Smith’s Firearms Have Been Confiscated Under a Red Flag Law?
This is where the situation gets sticky. On one hand, we have a man who has had several questionable legal charges made against him over the years. He may or may not be a dangerous individual based on this evidence alone. On the other hand, we are a nation based on the principles of legal firearms ownership and the right to a fair trial. The right to due process. If a court can prove that you are not legally allowed to own firearms based on crimes committed, you can lose your right to bear arms.
Smith was never convicted or tried for the crime of attempted murder, nor aggravated assault. Instead, he was released on bond to await his trial. Is he innocent until proven guilty, or guilty until proven innocent? This red flag confiscation seems to point towards him being guilty until proven innocent. This is a violation of his constitutional right to bear arms, and his right to a fair and free trial.
As it stands right now, Smith’s only crime is refusing to comply with the confiscation of his firearms. By the way, the bail set on this crime was set to $100,000, whereas the bail for his attempted murder charge was $3,000. This is where we, as Americans, have to sit down and ask ourselves a very hard question. These questions need to be asked not based on the personality, or disposition of the individual in question, but asked in the light of our rights as Americans as a whole.
Should Smith have lost his right to legally own firearms and his right to a fair trial based on the assumptions of the Broward County Sheriff’s Department? At the time of the confiscation, Smith was only charged with a crime, not convicted of one.
Are We Sacrificing Liberty for Security?
In the United States, you have the right to a fair trial. The right to due process. Until such time as you have been convicted of a felony, and shipped off to prison to repay your debt to society, you are a person free under the Constitution of the United States of America. You are allowed all of the rights of a free person until such time that you are convicted and lose those rights and freedoms granted to you by the Constitution of the United States.
It is my opinion that under this Red Flag Law, Smith’s rights as an American were violated. His right to remain free until such a time that he has been proven guilty of a crime were violated. Also his rights to bear arms as a free citizen of the United States of America were violated.
The fact that Smith was charged with attempted murder does not grant the State of Florida the ability to confiscate his firearms, and charge him guilty of a misdemeanor that could result in up to five years in prison.
This Red Flag Law confiscation, and charge, is a direct sacrifice of liberty for security. It is also a violation of Smith’s right to a fair trial.
“Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.” –Benjamin Franklin.
We are a nation of people together under common truths. As such, we have the right to agree and disagree with people in public forums. Full30 has chosen to publish this piece to get an opinion out on the red flag confiscation and arrest of an individual in Florida who may or may not be guilty of attempted murder. Until such time that the person in question has been convicted and imprisoned for the crime of attempted murder in the court of law, they are innocent of the crime. Let us know your thoughts in the comments.
The bottom half of this article was an editorial piece written by Josh Brooks, the lead blogger of Full30.com. It is a direct representation of his views and opinions.