Florida is considering a bill, HB 89, that would protect citizens who defensively display firearms or who fire warning shots, from being victimized by the law for the act of defending themselves. The genesis of the law is the fact that most people are able to defend themselves by merely showing the attacker that they are armed. This defuses the situation in the vast majority of cases: people do not want to be shot. There’s apparently no truth to the rumor that, should it be enacted, the law will be known in the Sunshine State as Jill Biden’s Law . . .
The problem the bill attempts to address is that a person who defensively displays a firearm or fires a warning shot may well be prosecuted under current Florida law. It is not uncommon for criminals to accuse people who thwart their crimes of being the aggressor. The same situation led to the passage of a similar defensive display law in Arizona. The rationale is that it’s better to allow the defensive display of a firearm to prevent a crime and prevent someone from being shot, than it is to require that the gun remain hidden until it *must* be fired in self defense. Here is the opening paragraph of the proposed Florida law:
An act relating to defense of life, home, and property; creating s. 776.001, F.S.; providing legislative finding and intent; providing that the defensive display of a weapon or firearm, including the discharge of a firearm for the purpose of a warning shot, does not constitute the use of deadly force; providing immunity from prosecution for persons acting in defense of life, home, and property from violent attack or the threat of violent attack through certain displays of or uses of force; creating s.76.0011, F.S.; providing definitions; creating s.776.033, F.S.; providing for the justifiable defensive display of a firearm or weapon in certain circumstances; amending s. 776.06, F.S.; limiting a provision authorizing use of deadly force by law enforcement or correctional officers; creating s.775.0878, F.S.; providing an exemption from minimum sentence requirements related to use of a weapon or firearm for persons acting in self-defense or defense of others; authorizing a departure from minimum sentence requirements related to use of a weapon or firearm for persons convicted of certain offenses who meet specified requirements; providing an effective date.
The bill appears to be modeled closely on the Arizona law. It is common sense legislation designed to promote safety. Who could oppose that?
©2013 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.