Florida deputies confiscated an AR-15 semiautomatic rifle from an Army veteran on Thursday, and the seizure was the first of its kind under the state’s new gun control law enacted following the Parkland school shooting.
Jerron Smith, 31, of Deerfield Beach, is the first person to be arrested for running afoul of the new law since it went on the books March 9, the Broward County Sheriff’s Office said Monday.
A spokeswoman for the office said a SWAT team went to Smith’s home Thursday and seized the AR-15 when he refused to surrender it voluntarily. The officers also seized a .22 caliber rifle he owned, hundreds of rounds of ammunition, a bump stock and numerous other weapon-related items.
The new gun regulations signed into law raise the age in Florida to buy a rifle to 21 and establish a three-day waiting period on gun purchases. They also include language allowing school employees and teachers to be armed. Another provision allows law enforcement to apply for a "risk protection order" from a judge to seize the guns of the mentally ill and anyone deemed a danger to the community.
Broward deputies sought the order in Smith’s case after he was arrested March 29 on an attempted murder charge for allegedly firing six shots into the back of a car being driving by his best friend, Jackon Lavon, 34.
Lavon was struck by shattered glass.
“They just raided his house, found all his weapons, or whatever, (and) they just took it,” Smith’s neighbor Lorenzo Brown told WPLG-TV.
Brown said Smith was an Army veteran who was proud of his gun collection.
“He spent a lot of money for his weaponry,” he said. “It’s crazy. You just got to live around here to know what’s going on.”
Smith had become angry after demanding Lavon return his cellphone and shot at him with a Glock semiautomatic pistol, the complaint said.
After his arrest, Smith was released on a $3,000 bond. Deputies also took the Glock and vouchered it as evidence.
In their petition for the risk protection order, the deputies told the judge that Smith had been arrested on aggravated assault charges in 2016 and 2017.
In the 2017 case Smith was accused of approaching a vehicle in his driveway and threatening to shoot the passenger, a woman. Prosecutors ultimately declined to pursue charges against Smith, WPLG reported.
In the 2016 case, Smith was accused of pulling a knife on a person and threatening him with it.
The disposition of that case was not known.
After Thursday's arrest for violating the risk protection order, Smith has been locked up in lieu of $100,000 bond. The violation is a misdemeanor.
"The newly signed law is clearly proving its worth to law enforcement and the public," Broward Sheriff Scott Israel said Monday after the announcement of Smith’s arrest. "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."