Florida lawmakers approve ‘warning shot’ bill revising self-defense laws

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Florida Senate on Thursday approved the so-called warning shot bill, moving to significantly revise the state’s self-defense laws for the first time since the shooting death of Trayvon Martin.

The bill, which was partly inspired by the case of a Jasonville woman sentenced to 20 years in prison after firing a shot near her estranged husband during an altercation, passed the chamber 32-7. The woman, Marissa Alexander, is out on bail awaiting a new trial.

The bill, which earlier received backing from the Republican-controlled House, now goes to the desk of Republican Gov. Rick Scott.

Alexander had tried to assert a “stand your ground” defense, but a judge rejected her claim. She was sentenced under a 1999 law called “10-20-life” in which mandatory sentences are imposed for using a gun in certain cases.

That law requires that anyone who shows a gun in the commission of certain felonies receive an automatic 10 years in prison. If a gun is fired, it’s an automatic 20 years under that law. Shoot and wound someone and the mandatory sentence is 25 years to life.

5 Comments - what are your thoughts?

  • CforUS says:

    Perps don’t fire warning shots. Why should I? Sorry, enter my property in the commission of a crime, you’ll get what you get. Does a “wounding” or “maiming” qualify as a warning shot?

    1. Keith says:

      Three shots, center of mass. Why did you shoot him three times? “Because that’s how I was trained your honor”. The most important point to remember is only one story, yours. Never shoot to wound. You might miss. Otherwise fall back on the answer for: Why did you shoot him 15 times? “I was afraid for my life your honor, the next thing I knew the gun was empty and I had run out of ammunition” I rest my case.

  • felgercarb says:

    I agree that people shouldnt be prosecuted IF they feel firing a warning shot is going to be effective instead of using deadly force. I just don’t think that a warning shot is a good idea in most cases. Don’t unholster unless you need deadly force.. At least this isnt like one that was proposed in Kalifornia, where they wanted to make it mandatory to fire a warning shot (ala Joe “Ida Know” Biden’s suggestion that you let off a blast from a shotgun). Then of course they realised that Komrade Feinstein’s gun ban would mean that only criminals would have firearms, so they didn’t push that law through.

    1. George says:

      Don’t unholster? I will always believe that having the criminal looking down a barrel, wondering when something is going to come out of it, is the best approach. Don’t move or freeze can’t work when your gun is in the holster and the criminal has his gun in his hand.

  • JONDO says:

    Thats the only law this Government will enforce To make sure you cant defend your self.Who has the edge ,the crook wont worry about the laws but the victim has to figure out what his punishment is going to be for defending him or her self, by then your already raped or shot.They pulled the same stunt on our Military also, dont shoot unless your shot at first. Don’t shoot if thr not carrying a gun, How many seconds by law do you have to look. I think the Military appeased them to.They started arresting them for murder during a war.

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