Lake County presses for clear gun laws - FOX 35 News Orlando

Lake County presses for clear gun laws

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TAVARES, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35 ORLANDO) -

Lake County officials say one of their top priorities is to get the state to clarify its gun laws to prevent stray bullets from landing in residential areas. The problems stems from an area near the Mount Dora Country Club.

Earlier this year, Jerry Benedict spoke with FOX 35 reporter Valerie Boey about bullets reaching his yard, describing the sound for her.

"Eeeenyow...  Kabloom, and it went right through that grass there, right next to us about 8 or 10 feet away!"

The gunfire was coming from a private property in a wooded area near that neighborhood, but the Lake County Sheriff's Office did not make any arrests at the time. Lt. John Herrell with the Sheriff's Office says sometimes they can arrest people shooting guns, and sometimes, if no one is injured, and the bullet did not go over a roof, they can not.

"Sometimes we can and sometimes we can't.  Like I said in either case it's a misdemeanor, so it's going to be hard to enforce either way because in a misdemeanor the deputy has to observe the offense taking place before an arrest can be made."

In a misdemeanor case, the Sheriff's Office investigates, then turns over the report to the State Attorney's Office. They later decide whether or not to file charges. If they do, the Sheriff's Office is given a warrant and the arrest can be made, often not until weeks or months later.   Lt. Harrell says Lake County used to have a more comprehensive gun law.

"Earlier this year, the Florida Legislature required local governments to repeal those ordinances."

Only gun laws from the state can be enforced or even on the books. Lake County Chairwoman Leslie Campione says they don't need to make new laws at the local level, but need the state to have better ones.

"We don't need the control back. We just need to communicate to our Legislators that this is something that maybe you didn't think about, and this would be a good time to address."

So far, no legislators have filed bills clarifying Florida's gun laws.

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