Court sides with gun owner in stalking case
LEE COUNTY, Fla. (News Service of Florida) - A Southwest Florida man should not have had his guns and ammunition seized after a judge issued a temporary injunction in a case in which the man was accused of stalking, a state appeals court ruled Friday.
A three-judge panel of the 2nd District Court of Appeal said prohibition on the possession of firearms and ammunition is allowed when final injunctions are issued in stalking cases but should not have been part of the temporary injunction.
The ruling stemmed from a Lee County circuit judge’s March 2020 decision to issue a temporary injunction against W. Alecs Dean, after Jaclyn Bevis, who was a television reporter, sought protection from alleged stalking. As part of the injunction, the judge barred Dean from possessing firearms and ammunition, which Dean said were seized, according to Friday’s ruling.
Dean filed an appeal, arguing his Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms was violated. The appeals court, in a 14-page ruling, said state law draws a distinction between final and temporary injunctions.
“The Legislature did not make this provision for temporary injunctions, and Dean contends that this omission precludes the courts from restricting his right to possess firearms based on a temporary injunction,” said the ruling, written by Judge Morris Silberman and joined by Judges Darryl Casanueva and Robert Morris.
“Although the Legislature did provide the trial court with implicit authority when it issues a temporary injunction to ‘grant such relief as the court deems proper,’ that language does not suggest the authority to prohibit the possession of firearms and ammunition in every case when a temporary injunction is issued.”
A footnote in Friday’s ruling said the circuit judge later issued a final injunction, and Dean has filed an appeal.
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