Florida’s newly enacted gun control law led to the seizure of a Black Army veteran’s AR-15 rifle on Thursday, the first to be confiscated under the state’s new risk protection statute.
Jerron Smith, 31, of Deerfield Park is the first person to be arrested for violating the new law since it went into effect on March 9, the Broward County Sheriff’s Office said Monday. The legislation came amid nationwide calls for tougher gun laws in the wake of the deadly school shooting in Parkland, Fla.
A sheriff’s office spokeswoman said authorities arrived at Smith’s home on Thursday where they seized his AR-15, along with a bump stock, hundreds of rounds of ammo and multiple other weapon-related items. Deputies were there to serve the order for Smith to turn over his weapons, but the Florida man declined and refused to allow authorities into his home.
Police were eventually able to seize the weapons and ammunition after they obtained a search warrant, local station ABC 10 reported.
“They just raided his house, found all of his weapons, or whatever, (and) they just took it,” Smith’s neighbor Lorenzo Brown told the news station. “… He spent a lot of money for his weaponry.”
“It’s crazy,” Brown added. “You just got to live around here to know what’s going on.”
As part of the state’s new gun regulations, law enforcement officials can seek what’s called a “risk protection order” from a judge to confiscate weapons from people who are mentally ill or pose a danger to themselves or others.
In Smith’s case, an RPO was issued after he was arrested on March 29 on an attempted murder charge. Police said he allegedly fired six shots into the back of a car driven by his best friend, 34-year-old Jackon Levon. Levon, who had come to return Smith’s cell phone, was only injured by shattered glass.
This isn’t Smith’s first brush with the law, however. In February, the Army veteran was arrested after pointing a gun at a woman and threatening to shoot her, according to the sheriff’s office. He then barricaded himself inside a home when cops arrived. Luckily, the state decided not to pursue charges against Smith in that case.
Authorities said Smith was also arrested in May 2016 on an aggravated assault charge after he pulled a knife on someone and threatened them with it.
“This newly signed law is clearly proving its worth to law enforcement and the public,” Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel said in a statement. “We are thankful to have this valuable tool at our disposal to help keep deadly weapons out of the hands of individuals who demonstrate an obvious threat to themselves or others.”
It will be interesting to see how this law is executed over the next few months and years. The FBI was warned about the Parkland shooter Nikolas Cruz numerous times and no real action was taken. He went on to kill 17 people at his high school.
Smith is being held in lieu of $100,000 bond, ABC 10 reported.