The Florida legislature is considering expanding the state’s “stand your ground” law to encompass “threatened use of force.” Specifically, the bill is intended to shield those who brandish a gun or fire a warning shot in self-defense from the state’s 10-20-Life law, which imposes mandatory minimum sentencing guidelines for felony crimes involving a firearm.
Wow, that is some weapons grade stupid… It defies the basic, common sense, rules of firearms safety and the laws of physics. I can understand, and probably support shielding law-abiding citizens from prosecution for brandishing, but not discharging a firearm in self-defense. But the warning shot provision which states “the discharge of a firearm for the purpose of a warning shot, does not constitute the use of deadly force…” is monumentally bad idea.
Lets review the four basic rules of firearm safety:
- All firearms are always loaded.
- Never let the muzzle cover anything you are not prepared to destroy.
- Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on the target and you are ready to fire.
- Clearly identify your target, what is in line with it and what is behind it. Never shoot at anything that you have not positively identified.
Bullets don’t suddenly become less deadly just because politicians say so — a bullet fired as a warning shot is going to go somewhere.
It doesn’t matter if that bullet is fired into the ground, into a wall, or into the air… bullets can ricochet of rocks, they can go through walls, and what goes up must come down. Bottom line; that bullet is going to go somewhere with potentially deadly results.
This is really simple: if you are not justified in using deadly force, you are not justified in firing warning shot… and if you are justified in using deadly force you’re not going to be firing a warning shot.
This is simply a bad piece of legislation aimed fixing another piece of bad piece of legislation, namely Florida’s “10-20-Life” law, that has come under fire again after Marissa Alexander was sentenced to 20 years for firing a “warning shot” at her husband’s head.
Sadly, politicians on both sides of the isle seem intent on passing this foolishness.
Edit: I’ve been sitting on this story for a couple of days while trying to confirm some of the details… it appears the current draft of CS/HB 89 removes the “warning shot” provision.