This certified question comes to us from the Sixth Judicial Circuit and concerns the constitutionality of the Florida statute making it unlawful to possess short-barreled rifles.
Florida statute § 790.001(11), F.S.A., defines a "short-barreled rifle" as:
It is true that there are no controlling Florida cases "on all fours" with the question as posed. We nonetheless think that there are sufficient judicial guidelines concerning the first two aspects thereof, in somewhat similar and analogous cases, so that our opinion is, at this stage, unnecessary. As to the contention that that law violates the constitutional right to bear arms, see United States v. Miller, 307 U.S. 174, 59 S.Ct. 816, 83 L.Ed. 1206 (1939). See, also, Davis v. State, 146 So.2d 892 (Fla. 1962). As to whether the statute is unconstitutionally vague, see United States v. Campbell, 427 F.2d 892 (5th Cir.1970); and United States v. Lauchli, 371 F.2d 303 (7th Cir.1966).
Considering now the third aspect of the question, we note that the definition section cited above includes, in its definition of a short-barreled rifle, "... any weapon made from a rifle...." This is the troublesome provision. The posed question is pregnant with whether such provision contemplates another type of weapon, such as perhaps a common hand gun, which is made from rifle parts. We don't think so. Apart from the fact that the word "parts" is not mentioned, and thus presumably intentionally omitted, if such were the legislative intent then it might well be an unreasonable classification as regulating only one segment of a class of non-rifle type weapon. We cannot so construe the statute and preserve its constitutionality, which we must do if reasonably possible.
Clearly, we think, the statute refers to a weapon which in its essence is an integral, operable rifle, as the term rifle is commonly understood, however much it is shortened and/or however it is rendered fireable, i.e., whether from the shoulder or as a common hand gun. It does not include weapons made from individual, non-integrated rifle parts, if such weapons are not otherwise "rifles." We agree with the suggestion made in the state's brief herein, for example, that if a person were to take the sight, or the trigger or other part of a rifle and adapt it to a hand gun or other non-rifle type weapon he would not be constructing a short-barreled rifle unless an accumulation of such parts change the character of the original weapon to that of a "rifle."
We interpose here, that from the description of the weapon involved in this case, as given in the state's Statement of Particulars, the question of whether the statute applies to a "hand gun" made from rifle "parts" may well not be raisable herein because it may be merely a hypothetical situation not within the facts. As such, the particular constitutional question based thereon would itself be a hypothetical and should not be decided.
LILES, A.C.J., and MANN, J., concur.