The following is a video transcript.
New Year’s Eve is fast approaching. Unfortunately, New Year’s Eve can be a dangerous time for those celebrating. Many people go to parties, light fireworks, drink too much alcohol, and party into the early morning hours. We want everyone to stay safe this holiday season, so please take proper precautions when handling fireworks. Never shoot them at or near another person and always have a designated driver if you’re drinking.
When it comes to firearms, remember that under Florida law, if you have a Concealed Weapon License, you can carry your firearm even if you are consuming alcohol. But you cannot have your firearm readily accessible for immediate discharge if you are impaired. Readily accessible for immediate discharge means loaded and in your hand.
Occasionally, people will get themselves into trouble on New Year’s Eve after they have been drinking. At midnight, they go outside and shoot into the air. In many places, the firing of the gun itself is illegal if not done for lawful self-defense. If you are impaired when you do this, you are breaking the law, even if you are in a place you could lawfully fire the gun, because you are impaired with a loaded firearm in your hand.
Remember, what goes up will come down and you will be liable for any injury that bullet causes or damage it does. Although Florida law allows you to carry your firearms when you are drinking, you should always remember that alcohol and firearms do not mix. Each year, many Floridians are injured on New Year’s Eve due to drunk drivers, fireworks, and improperly discharged firearms.
If you come upon someone injured, you have no obligation to assist under Florida law if you did not cause the injury. But if you do assist an injured person, you have legal protection and immunity from damages as long as you act reasonably in providing assistance.
Of course, a judge and/or jury will have to determine if your actions were reasonable under the circumstances and you will need a lawyer to assist you, but the Good Samaritan Law was written to encourage all of us to help a person in need without worrying about the possibility of losing money in a lawsuit.
Have a great, happy, prosperous, and safe New Year.