Firing a Warning Shot at an Attacker Deemed Legal in Florida
Building upon Florida’s “stand your ground” self-defense, Governor Rick Scott signed a law that allows citizens to show firearms and fire warning shots to would-be attackers. The law came about after a Florida woman was sentenced to 20 years in prison after firing a gun at her husband, who consistently abused her. Although the husband wasn’t injured, the woman still received a lengthy prison sentence.
Marion Hammer, a National Rifle Association (NRA) lobbyist in the state, declared that self-defense is a constitutional right and not a crime. She added that prosecutors have violated the rights of Florida citizens and that the new law would put an end to that. Today, those who “stand their ground” may choose to fire a warning shot to reduce the likelihood of an attack against them.
Public Support For Warning Shot Laws in Florida
Marissa Alexander was sentenced to 20 years in prison after firing a warning shot at her husband. She was convicted of three counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. The incident, which occurred in 2012, sparked an outcry from supporters who compared the treatment she received to George Zimmerman’s treatment after he shot and killed an innocent and unarmed teen. Zimmerman claimed “self-defense” and received an acquittal in spite of the victim posing no threat to him.
Instituted in 2005, Florida’s “stand your ground” law states that people may use deadly force when defending themselves. They don’t have to retreat to avoid a confrontation and can prevent prosecution if there is enough evidence to show the reasonable fear that their lives are in danger.
Results of Strengthening “Stand Your Ground”
Some supporters of gun rights voiced concerns that the bill includes confusing language that can weaken the already existing self-defense laws, but there is significant public support for this bill. Ultimately, Marissa Alexander appealed her case and the judge overturned her conviction. Fortunately, a judge postponed her retrial on the pretense that the new law was in process; however, prosecutors can still bring forth charges against her if they don’t believe her claim of self-defense.
Other Florida Gun Laws
Governor Scott later signed another bill that prohibits kids in school from molding a gun out of their snacks or blocks and pointing their fingers at fellow students while shouting “bang bang,” known as the “Pop Tart” bill. Ms. Hammer said that this measure is about children being unfairly treated by school administrators who don’t know how to deal with kids being kids.
Additional laws include “red flag laws” that have forced people with no criminal background to turn in weapons if police have believed them to be a threat to themselves or their communities.
Orlando Firearms Defense Lawyers
Throughout Florida, gun laws are fluctuating on an ongoing basis as gun rights groups and activist groups struggle to find a middle ground to keep students safe in school while protecting our Second Amendment rights. It is possible that during this confusing time, well-intentioned gun owners may attract the attention of law enforcement.
If you have had a petition filed against you to have your guns removed or are facing a criminal charge for a firearms offense, you deserve competent representation. At the Umansky Law Firm, our Orlando gun rights lawyers have decades of experience helping citizens throughout Central Florida maintain their gun rights and have helped restore gun rights to those who have served time. Call our office for a free consultation or reach out to us online.