Florida warning shot bill passed. (The Wild West down here)

walknotinfear

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TALLAHASSEE — Floridians could fire warning shots or display a weapon in self defense under a bill approved by the Florida Legislature on Thursday, a substantial expansion of the state's controversial "stand your ground" law.

The measure now goes to Gov. Rick Scott for his signature. He has not indicated yet whether he will sign it.

"This bill is about self defense, this is about the right thing to do," said Sen. Greg Evers, R-Baker, the bill's Senate sponsor.

The measure says someone can threaten the use of force if that person feels his or her life, home or property were at risk of harm.

It also allows people to expunge their records after they've acted in self-defense and been cleared by the courts. In support of that, Sen. Charles Dean, R-Inverness, a former sheriff, said "an innocent person is innocent. You shouldn't have to defend your name for the rest of your life."

Sen. Chris Smith, a Fort Lauderdale Democrat, spoke against the proposal.

"I just don't think it's responsible right now to encourage people to fire warning shots," he said. "I think it sends the wrong message to Florida."

Sen. Dwight Bullard, D-Miami, said too many bullets fired in Florida are already "marked by immunity."

"When there are Floridians living in this state who are scared to leave their homes because there are too many guns being fired … what we have is a larger problem," he said. "And I cannot be OK with that."

The Senate voted 32-7 to approve it. The House approved the bill on March 20.

Many police departments across the nation prohibit firing warning shots, in part because stray bullets can pose a danger to innocent bystanders.

The bill stems from the conviction of Marissa Alexander, a Jacksonville woman sentenced to 20 years in prison for firing a warning shot during an incident of alleged domestic violence. An appeal court overturned the sentence, and she faces a new trial later this year.

It is considered an extension of Florida's "stand your ground" law passed in 2005. The law gives Florida residents who are under attack the right to meet force with force in self-defense. But it has been considered a factor in a rash of high-profile shootings in recent years.

Last summer, George Zimmerman was acquitted in the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Sanford. Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer, got into a fight with the unarmed Trayvon.

This year, the law was in the middle of a legal showdown in Jacksonville after Michael Dunn was found guilty of second-degree attempted murder for shooting into a car full of teenagers and killing a 17-year-old.


"The best part about this law to me is it spits in the face of Al Sharptin and the parents of Travon Martin who were trying to kill the Florida stand your ground law. Go march some other place and leave Florida gun laws alone."
 

Perhaps this may be OK at times but I believe this could be a very bad idea most of the time. I can see many people firing into the air like they do in the movies. This could be another law that has not been thought through!
 
I agree with both of you. I am pro gun but this law scares me. I can close my eyes and see everyone who gets pissed off shooting warning shots.

I was shocked the first time I read it was going to be placed on a ballet but completely floored today when I read it passed.

So I asked myself this, When will it be ok to pull out a firearm and fire a warning shot, 1) When a car cuts me off, 2) When someone cuts me in line at Burger King, 3) When a pissed off elderly driver flips me the bird, etc. I know these are way out of the park but I am going to have to ask a lawyer on this new law, When can someone fire a warning shot?
 
Believe it or not, this bill was passed due to the outrage over Marissa Alexander. Driven by the race baiters coming here to Florida. Here is the read.

Link Removed
 
(Post #5 excluded from the following observations)

I've never seen so much freakin' hysteria over a law expanding gun rights in my life! This is the same kind of BS about "blood in the streets" that the media spewed when SYG was being debated and eventually passed in FL. If you carry a gun in FL, are you now going to start firing off warning shots? A law that doesn't automatically criminalize a warning shot no matter the circumstances, likewise doesn't automatically encourage or legalize it in all circumstances. And just reading the first couple of sentences of the OP, it's as much about decriminalizing what is a nearly blanket prohibition on brandishing that every single study ever done shows is the way the overwhelming majority of "defense" with a gun ends, without a shot being fired. So now because some leeway is given to warning shots while decriminalizing brandishing, both of which are only decriminalized in real threatening situations, is going to lead to warning shots being fired off for being cut off on the freeway? For getting flipped off?

You guys sound like a bunch of old women who have never even seen a gun in person before!

Gun-owners are their own worst enemies. It's like Bizarro World up in here!

Blues
 
No warning shots. Absurd. A recipe for trouble. Keep that heater in yer pants until you must take an action of such graveness that you may ruin your life. When you use a gun in self-defense, whether you're right or wrong it will probably ruin your life. Grab that gun only when the threat is so grave that you must possibly ruin your life. And regarding warning shots... there's lawyer attached to every bullet you fire.
 
... regarding warning shots... there's lawyer attached to every bullet you fire.

It might help if that lawyer was in front of the bullet when it's fired. We have waaaaay to many lawyers as it is, and could use a lot less of them.
 
Come on guys this just has to be a good law, the veep was the first to suggest this tactic. So it can't be wrong or out of line with logical thinking. hehe
 
No warning shots. Absurd. A recipe for trouble. Keep that heater in yer pants until you must take an action of such graveness that you may ruin your life. When you use a gun in self-defense, whether you're right or wrong it will probably ruin your life. Grab that gun only when the threat is so grave that you must possibly ruin your life. And regarding warning shots... there's lawyer attached to every bullet you fire.

Personally, I can't envision a set of circumstances where a warning shot would be prudent, but that's not the point. To my way of thinking, every bullet fired from any muzzle in America should be judged on whether or not it was justified, not whether or not there was a prior restraint type of law forbidding it.

And then to see ostensible gun rights advocates just make up the wildest excuses for supporting the continuation of a prior restraint law on the basis of bullets flying everywhere because the state made warning shots "legal" is just so much BS. As I said, I can't personally envision a scenario that I might find myself in where a warning shot would seem prudent, but then, as much imagination and creativity as I think I have an abundance of, I still haven't foreseen every possible scenario in my mind's eye, and if one came up where a warning shot ended up making an attacker turn tail and run, why on Earth should anyone, most of all government, object to prudent, law-abiding citizens making that decision for themselves? There's no prior restraint law here in Alabama that I'm aware of, yet I've never heard of a case where a warning shot was used. It's just ridiculous to get one's panties in a twist over modifying or repealing a law when the absence of it won't amount to any discernible up-tick of incidents which the current law prohibits.

The lawyers are going to be around whether the law exists or not, because as you say BC1, there's a lawyer attached to every bullet you fire in public and away from a range, not just bullets fired as warning shots, which I'd like to know if anyone has ever even seen any statistics to prove warning shots even happen often enough to count, or if it's just opposition to "allowing" that which hardly ever happens to begin with? I think it's the latter, but if anyone has statistics, I'm willing to consider them.

Blues
 
This is a toughee even for a gun nut like me, but I just cannot get behind a warning shot law, there may be times, and I mean (MAY) when a warning shot may accomplish something, but there is way to much danger of the shot going somewhere its not intended to, even if you shoot the ground the shot may hit a rock or something and end up who knows where, same result if shot into the air, in the right circumstances a 9mm fired into the air could kill somebody a mile away, it has happened, in a arc flight path the round would lose some momentum, but it could still have power enough to do some serious damage
 
(Post #5 excluded from the following observations)

I've never seen so much freakin' hysteria over a law expanding gun rights in my life! This is the same kind of BS about "blood in the streets" that the media spewed when SYG was being debated and eventually passed in FL. If you carry a gun in FL, are you now going to start firing off warning shots? A law that doesn't automatically criminalize a warning shot no matter the circumstances, likewise doesn't automatically encourage or legalize it in all circumstances. And just reading the first couple of sentences of the OP, it's as much about decriminalizing what is a nearly blanket prohibition on brandishing that every single study ever done shows is the way the overwhelming majority of "defense" with a gun ends, without a shot being fired. So now because some leeway is given to warning shots while decriminalizing brandishing, both of which are only decriminalized in real threatening situations, is going to lead to warning shots being fired off for being cut off on the freeway? For getting flipped off?

You guys sound like a bunch of old women who have never even seen a gun in person before!

Gun-owners are their own worst enemies. It's like Bizarro World up in here!

Blues

I think the law is a good one.

I have two problems though. My two problems are that some prosecuting attorney can now say, "Why did you shoot him?" "Why didn't you fire a warning shot first, or instead?" The other worry is that warning shots will soon become mandatory.

In the unlikely case that my first shot misses, the perp can consider that my warning shot.
 
You know, this is even worse than I thought. A person who lives in FL posts a story (with no link or attribution) that tells lies about what a new bill does, and then instead of checking for himself what the new law awaiting the Governor's signature actually says, gets all hysterical about it being a "warning shots bill" when it's nothing of the sort.

First, "a" Link Removed. There are several sources with the same story published on their sites, so I don't know which one walknotinfear copied it from, but there ya go.

Nowhere in that story does it mention that the words "warning shot" do not appear in the bill, nor does any other allusion to the notion appear in it. All the bill is designed to do at its bottom line is repeal the ridiculous 10/20/Life provisions of the current brandishing statutes that the bill states up front has sent people to prison for "threatening force" when actually using force would have been legally justified. But guess what? Just like the 90%+ cases nationwide where simply making a weapon visible was enough to cause an attacker to break off his attack, so too were the cases the authors of the bill refer to able to stop an attack by brandishing. It is clear as a bell what the bill is about from just the first words of Section 1:

Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:

Section 1.
(1) The Legislature finds that persons have been criminally prosecuted and have been sentenced to mandatory minimum terms of imprisonment pursuant to s. 775.087, Florida Statutes, for threatening to use force in a manner and under circumstances that would have been justifiable under chapter 776, Florida Statutes, had force actually been used.


It goes on from there to describe all the modifications, strike-outs, addendums and additions to current law, plus whatever new issues the bill may be providing for, but nowhere in that bill is the notion that "warning shots" being made legal articulated at all.

To the extent that "warning shots" inspired the authorship of the bill in the first place, it appears to be related to the case of Marissa Alexander, who was successfully prosecuted and sentenced to the mandatory minimum of 20 years in prison after she left the house that he husband was beating her in, went to her car and retrieved a gun, went back in and fired multiple shots (three I think), missing him, and then claiming later that she had fired "warning shots" when hubby advanced on her after reentering the home. She has lost at least two SYG hearings that I'm aware of, but has won a new trial (based on what, I have no clue) slated to start in July, at which the infamous Zimmerman prosecutor, Angela Corey, intends to try to triple her 20 year sentence to 60 years.

Personally, I think Alexander's case should've been charged as attempted murder, but whatever, mandatory minimums of 20 or 60 years for simply threatening force is outrageous! HB 89 is obviously not based solely on the Alexander case though, as it bases the need on "persons," but its intent is to repeal or clarify the 10/20/Life statutes and leave sentencing up to judges the way our system was originally structured.

So everybody can breathe a sigh of relief that FL isn't "legalizing" warning shots. They're trying to repeal the idiotic and lazy practice of imposing mandatory minimum sentences in lieu of actually shooting someone if/when the threat of shooting would accomplish breaking off the attack. If a warning shot is ever at issue in any trials after implementation of the law, it will be judged on the facts of the case according to the jury, not on a law that imposes prior restraint regardless of the facts, along with outrageously draconian mandatory minimums even if no one got hurt.

Let's get it right people. And links and attribution is always a good thing.

Blues
 
Thank you Blues. I was wanting to see the Bill being cited.

Thanks for noticing. Apparently others don't like having the truth shattering their "rationale" for hysteria. I found more too, also from the same paper/website as the OP story came from, but ramping up people over a phony issue of a "warning shots bill" was more fun I guess.

Most people know I'm not a fan of the N R A, but after searching for the bill last night, I ran across a former N R A President's editorial piece about HB 89, and for once I can agree wholeheartedly with a (former) high-level N R A myrmidon.


December 7, 2013|By Marion P. Hammer

Contrary to claims made in the Dec. 4 editorial, "Guns laws won't get fixed with warning shots," nothing in HB 89 or SB 448 allows warning shots nor do they promote or encourage warning shots.

Warning shots are not safe. Nonetheless, when people are in fear for their lives or the lives of loved ones, they might fire a warning shot rather than shoot someone. People make mistakes and do irrational things when in fear of death or injury. That doesn't mean they should go to prison for 20 years when there was no injury or harm done.

Warning shots are an unsafe result of the glorification of such conduct in movies and on TV. No one is recommending warning shots.

Nonetheless, a father should not be prosecuted under 10-20-Life for firing a warning shot. No harm was done yet a father was sent to prison for 20 years for firing a warning shot to stop an attacker from harming his daughter.

A mother should not be charged under 10-20-Life for firing a warning shot to stop an attack by an abusive ex-husband. It caused no injury and no harm yet she was prosecuted and sent to prison for 20 years. These are not isolated cases.

The simple truth is the intent of the 10-20-Life law is being violated. The law was intended to be used to lock up criminals who use guns during the commission or attempted commission of crimes.

It was intended to stop prosecutors and judges from slapping gun-toting criminals on the wrist so they could quickly clear cases.

The 10-20-Life law was never intended to be used against citizens who, in an act of self-defense, threatened the use of force to stop an attacker, including the unwise use of a warning shot. Yet, that's what some prosecutors are doing. They are willfully and knowingly violating the intent of the law.

The cold hard reality is that some prosecutors are treating law-abiding people like criminals. People who never would have been in the system had they not been attacked and in fear for their own safety are being prosecuted. Self-defense is not a crime, it is a right and prosecutors are trampling those rights.

The threat of force in self-defense should have the same protection as actually shooting someone in self-defense. You should not be required to shoot an attacker to have the protection of the law.

The issue is not warning shots, it's about protecting people from the abuse of prosecutorial discretion.

Marion P. Hammer is a past president of the National Rifle Association and executive director of Unified Sportsmen of Florida.


"Warning shot bill." Pffft.

Blues
 
I don't fire warning shots, if you cannot figure out the fact that you are confronting me or attempting to harm me, the business end of the weapon is self explanatory, if you continue, the bullet is also self explanatory.
 
This is a toughee even for a gun nut like me, but I just cannot get behind a warning shot law.....
That's good, because the law says absolutely nothing about warning shots.
.
Some of you guys need to write propaganda for the antigunners, because you're doing a great job of it here. This is a bill about self defense, nothing more. It isn't about warning shots and it never mentions warning shots. It is specifically designed to remove minimum mandatory sentencing for acts committed in self defense because judges have been using that rule to send innocent people to prison. The media is calling it a warning shot law because it was inspired by the case of Marissa Alexander. She was given three 20 year sentences in prison when she lawfully defended herself against her estranged husband. She defended herself by firing three warning shots. Marissa wasn't allowed to use Florida law governing self defense where she can claim a threat to her life. The mandatory sentencing law the judge used classified her as a dangerous criminal and placed the burden on her to prove beyond any doubt that her life was in danger. That of course is incredibly difficult to do because it's almost impossible to prove a state of mind. But Marissa Alexander is far from the only person caught up in this unfair practice, and it involves much more than warning shots. Any use of a firearm, including simply showing it, can get you a minimum mandatory sentence under the current Florida guidelines if a judge decided to apply them to you like the judge did in Marissa Alexander's case. That's what this legislation is designed to stop. It does one simple thing. It changes the law so that minimum mandatory sentencing cannot be used in cases of self defense. So this bill doesn't say "warning shots" are okay. It says "self defense" is okay.
.
If some of you guys want to keep parroting the antigunner propaganda line, that's your right. But could you please do it somewhere else? It's a little hard to stomach here.
 
I suppose a warning shot would be okay if it can be done safely, but too many people would be inclined to shoot up in the air like our super intelligent, "gun friendly" veep recommends, but where will that bullet land? The gun owner is responsible for that bullet, so he must insure that there is a safe place to fire it. I think it is better, though, to keep the gun holstered unless it is actually needed. All that aside, a law decriminalizing firing a warning shot or flashing your gun seems reasonable, and there are probably times when such practices might help defuse a bad situation. The part about expunging the person's record sounds like a good idea, too.
 
Blues Stringer,

You truly are an A-s Hole. All I did was copy and paste a news article to put it out there for a discussion and once again you take a cheap shot. You truly need to grow the F--k up. I didn't research the bill or read it. I just copied a story off the Sun Sentinal a news paper in south Florida. Please re frame from attempting to make yourself, ONCE AGAIN, sound as if you are some expert in any of the topics. You are no law enforcement officer, a lawyer, a law student, or have any specialized military training at all, etc., you are just a poser and a wana be, and was probably passed up for a real law enforcement job, or your could not hack it in the military and this is your only avenue of trying to feel as you matter. You do not fool me for one second. You are just some guy who lives on this site, probably some fat as_ who cant even see his pecker anymore and than you get off on trying to sound as if you are some expert. Over 4,000 posts, Get a Life already!
 

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