Eight-Time Felon Arrested For Possession Of Antique Style Guns

Holly Matkin

John David Hirst was arrested by Citrus County Sheriff's deputies during a traffic stop on Jan. 31.

Dunnellon, FL – An eight-time convicted felon found in possession of multiple firearms is back out on the street after posting bond for his latest alleged offenses.

Citrus County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) deputies arrested 54-year-old John David Hirst during a traffic stop in the 7000-block of North Florida Avenue on Jan. 31, according to the West Marion Messenger.

Deputies had initially responded to the area of North Alameda Drive and East Citrus Springs Boulevard after they received a report of a suspicious person in the neighborhood.

CCSO Deputy Daniel Elias spotted a silver vehicle with illegal tint driving in the area and conducted a traffic stop.

The driver was later identified as Hirst.

During the course of the stop, Deputy Elias and CCSO Detective Mike Laborda asked the convicted felon if he was in possession of any drugs or firearms, the West Marion Messenger reported.

Hirst told them he had one cap-and-ball gun in his pocket and two other cap-and-ball pistols on the front passenger seat beside him.

The suspect was also had a Smith & Wesson knife with a serrated, curved fixed-blade stuffed into his pocket, according to the West Marion Messenger.

Hirst has eight prior felony convictions and has served prison time, police said.

At least two of those convictions involved illegally carrying concealed firearms, according to the West Marion Messenger.

Deputies contacted the Executive Office of Clemency and confirmed that Hirst’s right to possess firearms has not been restored.

Deputies determined that the weapons Hirst was carrying were a .22-caliber pistol and two .44-caliber F.Lli Pietta revolvers.

But the weapons may meet the definition of “antique firearms,” which could potentially be legal for Hirst to possess, depending on the weapons’ ignition systems.

According to Florida law, an antique fire arm is defined as “any firearm manufactured in or before 1918 (including any matchlock, flintlock, percussion cap, or similar early type of ignition system) or replica thereof, whether actually manufactured before or after the year 1918, and also any firearm using fixed ammunition manufactured in or before 1918, for which ammunition is no longer manufactured in the United States and is not readily available in the ordinary channels of commercial trade.”

In 2016, the Florida Supreme Court upheld a lower court’s decision to overturn the firearms possession conviction of Christopher Weeks, Courthouse News Service reported at the time.

Weeks was already a convicted felon when he was found hunting with an antique muzzleloader.

He was convicted of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, and was initially sentenced to three years of probation.

The court later determined that Weeks should not have been arrested for carrying the weapon because it did not qualify as a firearm under Florida law since it met the definition of an antique firearm.

“The term ‘firearm’ does not include an antique firearm unless the antique firearm is used in the commission of a crime,” the law reads.

Hirst posted $32,500 bond shortly after his arrest and was released from jail pending his Feb. 10 arraignment, the West Marion Messenger reported.

Comments (21)
No. 1-13
flybynight
flybynight

WOW an eight time felon!!!! He's a real winner.

Cop Watch
Cop Watch

charges will get dropped! and the cop will have to give him his guns back.

Quasar704
Quasar704

“John David Hirst”??? Gimmie a break😐

ikaika
ikaika

He's a career criminal. It shouldn't matter when the guns were made!

bryantrent
bryantrent

What a loser

GoPoliceGo
GoPoliceGo

So it does not look like Citrus Co. can take him to the feds. Replica percussion/cap and ball guns meet the federal definition of "antique firearm" and an antique firearm is not a "firearm". 18 USC 921(a)(3) and 921(a)(16) (antique firearm is one manufactured before 1898 OR is a replica that does not use fixed ammunition OR uses fixed ammunition not commercially available OR a muzzle loader). Unless he is on supervision, he might get away with it.

Stanracer
Stanracer

Career criminal shouldn't have even been out of jail.

Nursey
Nursey

Are you kidding me, 8 times a convicted felon? Florida needs to get with the times! Where I come from 3rd time your arrested for a felony you are charged with a habitual offender which is automatically life in prison without parole. 8 times really??

Excalibr4
Excalibr4

Sounds like knew what he was doing by buying those guns, which have been determined to be outside the definition of firearms. The stupidity of allowing felons to possess equally lethal firearms, such as that is the fault of the lawmakers. I know of felons who illegally possess real firearms. They get their wives to buy them and then carry them. They live by the code "better to be judged by 12 than carried by 6". I know them personally and know they carry for defense only. This guy, on the other hand, must be into some bad business, with the blacked out windows and 32 grand on hand. Also, he went to the trouble to legally carry. this case is nothing like the Weeks case. Weeks was hunting. You don't hunt anything but humans with handguns. My guess would be both pistols were preloaded and ready to fire.

Justiceforallalways
Justiceforallalways

In this case I have to side with the felon. He was falsely arrested for something that does not currently meet the elements of a crime. However, those Florida lawmakers who were anxious to enact new gun control after the Parkland shooting may want to revisit this. A cap and ball fires fairly quickly, unlike a flintlock which takes a few seconds to fire, and is just as dangerous as a modern firearm.
Now the real question is was he convicted 8 separate times of felonies or was he convicted a few times of multiple felonies. If he has multiple separate convictions - why is he out? If he had one or two cases - I can see why he is not doing multiple terms

GLOCK_LAWMAN
GLOCK_LAWMAN

I say bust the illegal windows out of the car and give him back his antiques.

TarnishedCopper
TarnishedCopper

It's the classic "Mixed-feelings" saga, not unlike watching your mother-in-law back off a cliff in your brand new car. He is a convicted felon time over, the guns are not illegal for him to own, but obviously he wasn't headed to the range or going to a Cowboy Action shoot with them either. He has no business with them, but the law says he can have them.

DustyTrails 8749
DustyTrails 8749

Those cap and ball pistols will qualify as “antique-like” but NOT the .22. There may have been some made with an older ignition system but very rare.


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