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Fort Myers Criminal Defense Lawyer / Blog / Criminal Defense / The Dangers of Brandishing Weapons on Social Media in Florida

The Dangers of Brandishing Weapons on Social Media in Florida


Brandishing weapons on social media is rarely a good idea. Even if you own the weapon legally, it could attract the wrong kind of attention from law enforcement – and in some cases, it could lead to criminal consequences. If you do not own the weapon legally, criminal consequences are almost guaranteed. Law enforcement officials monitor social media posts – and they may become aware of content that you intended to be private.

Teen Arrested After Brandishing Firearm and Insulting Local Sheriffs on Snapchat 

In a textbook example of how not to show off a firearm on social media, a Florida teen was recently arrested for an “inappropriate Snapchat post” that included a firearm and insults directed toward local sheriffs. On December 27th of 2023, it was reported that the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office had been sent a screenshot from Snapchat. The screenshot clearly showed the defendant brandishing a firearm while voicing the insults.

When deputies arrived at his house, the defendant claimed to know nothing of the post. He then claimed that his Snapchat account had been hacked. Finally, he admitted to making the post after being placed in handcuffs. It was later determined that the weapon he brandished was a BB gun. In the end, he was charged with making written threats to kill and threaten law enforcement. In Florida, this can be prosecuted as a second-degree felony with a maximum prison term of 15 years. The fact that the teen was brandishing a BB gun and not a “real” firearm seems to have been inconsequential.

Another lesson from this story is the fact that Snapchat voluntarily sent law enforcement a screenshot of content that they deemed to be dangerous. In other words, social media platforms take it upon themselves to monitor and report threatening posts to the relevant authorities.

Threats Can Take Many Forms in Florida 

It is also worth noting that a threat may take various forms in Florida. Do not assume that a “subtle” threat will fall under the radar. Whether you are composing a clever rap verse with double entendres or you’re announcing your plans to assault people directly, authorities will likely react in the same manner.

Situations in Which Showing a Firearm on Social Media Could Be Legal 

There are numerous situations in which showing a firearm on social media could be legal. First of all, there are no laws against showing your firearm if you legally own it. After all, there are plenty of firearm enthusiasts who constantly post YouTube videos and Instagram posts that show off their new purchases. The online gun community is generally quite responsible, and some even instruct others on proper firearm safety protocols.

Find a Qualified, Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney in 

If you’ve been searching for a qualified, experienced Fort Myers criminal defense attorney, contact Foley & Wilson at your earliest convenience. With our assistance, you can strive for positive results when it comes to firearms offenses and a range of other criminal charges. Although brandishing firearms on social media can lead to consequences, there is no need to sit back and accept needless penalties. Book your consultation today to get started with an effective defense strategy.




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