Florida Lawmakers Consider Warning Shot and Brandishing Bill
Florida lawmakers are currently considering a bill that would make both warning shots and brandishing a firearm illegal under state law.
Supporters of the law say it will help cut down on the number of people who are sent to prison for long sentences for relatively minor gun crimes. Florida currently has a 10-20-Life mandatory sentence for all gun crimes.
However, opponents of the bill, myself included, feel that this is just adding even more complexity to Florida’s self defense laws.
Victims of crimes may be less likely to use a firearm in self defense if they are worried about legal repercussions. Split second hesitations like that can be deadly in a self defense encounter.
Also, the bill would outlaw “brandishing” a handgun in many situations. If you read our self defense stories here, you know that the most common type of defensive gun use is when no shots are fired. In most cases the mere presence of a firearm is enough to stop the incident.
Supposedly, this bill is supposed to protect people who use a gun from those stiff mandatory sentences we mentioned earlier. I’m personally not a fan of mandatory minimum sentences as I think they remove a lot of common sense and flexibility from the court system. However, passing new gun control laws in order to get around laws that this very same state legislature passed is probably one of the dumbest things I’ve heard in a long time. If the issue really is the mandatory sentences, then vote to repeal the mandatory sentencing law, not introduce new gun control under the guise of protecting citizens.
At least on Florida official agrees with me. According to WEAR,
State Attorney Bill Eddins and other prosecutors say the “warning shot” bill is unnecessary.
Bill Eddins, State Attorney: “If you’re in a position where someone’s threatening to kill you or cause you serious bodily harm and you threaten them or threaten to use deadly force, we aren’t gonna prosecute you.”
The full text of the current version of the bill can be found at the Florida House website.