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Firearm and Weapon Crimes

Shooting or Throwing Deadly Missiles

Section 790.19, Florida Statutes, prohibits shooting or throwing deadly missiles into dwellings, public or private buildings, occupied or not occupied including vessels, aircraft, buses, railroad cars, streetcars, or other vehicles. The crime of throwing or shooting a deadly missile is charged as a second degree felony punishable by up to 15 years in Florida Statute Prison.

As explained in Polite v. State, 454 So. 2d 769 (Fla. 1st DCA 1984), it is not necessary for the State to prove a defendant acted with malevolence toward a vehicle or structure itself if the State proved the Defendant acted with a wanton or malicious attitude directed toward an individual within or near the vehicle or structure.

Lesser included offenses might include criminal mischief under Section 806.13 or discharging firearm in public under Section 790.15.


Standard Jury Instructions for Section 790.10

The standard jury instructions found in Chapter 10.13, were adopted in 1981 and amended in 2018 and 2019. According to the standard jury instructions, to prove a crime charged under § 790.19, Fla. Stat., the State must prove the following three elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

  1. The Defendant did one of the following:
    1. [shot] [or] [threw] a missile that would produce death or great bodily harm;
    2. The Defendant hurled or projected a stone or other hard substance that would produce death or great bodily harm; or
    3. The Defendant shot a firearm that would produce death or great bodily harm.
  2. The Defendant did so [at] [within] [into] [in]:
    1. a public or private building, occupied or unoccupied;
    2. a public or private bus, that was being used or occupied by any person;
    3. a train, locomotive, railway car, caboose, cable railway car, street railway car, or monorail car that was being used or occupied by any person;
    4. a vehicle of any kind that was being used or occupied by any person;
    5. a boat, vessel, ship, or barge lying in or plying the waters of this state; or
    6. an aircraft flying through the air space of this state.
  3. The Defendant’s act was done wantonly or maliciously.

Section 790.001(6), Fla. Stat., defines the term “firearm” to mean any weapon [including a starter gun] which will, is designed to, or may readily be converted to expel a projectile by the action of an explosive; [the frame or receiver of any such weapon;] [any firearm
muffler or firearm silencer;] [any destructive device;] [any machine gun].

The term “great bodily harm” means great as distinguished from slight, trivial, minor, or moderate harm, and as such does not include mere bruises.


Additional Resources

Section 790.19 – Visit the website of the Florida Legislature to find the full text of Section 790.19, with links to a list of other firearm and weapon charges in Chapter 790 of the Florida Statutes.


This article was last updated on Friday, December 31, 2021.

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