TALLAHASSE – Both the Senate and the House in Florida are considering bills that would amend the state’s “Stand Your Ground” law to allow for the display or firing of a firearm in self-defense. The law currently only applies when someone is actually shot in self-defense when in fear of their life.
The sponsors of the bill decided that this was necessary because of the case of Marissa Alexander, who was recently sentenced to 20 years in prison for firing a gun at a wall during a dispute with her husband. Supporters of the bill say there are dozens of similar cases where people tried to defend themselves, only to end up receiving a decade or more behind bars.
Part of the reason behind these long prison sentences are laws in Florida that require mandatory sentencing when a crime is committed when using a gun. Similar to a “three strikes” provision, a first offense gets 10 years. Then a second offense gets 20 years, while a third offense is a mandatory life sentence. These 10-20-Life laws are being applied in instances of self-defense simply because the defendant tries to warn them away instead of shoot them.
“The threat of force in self-defense should have the same protection as actually shooting someone in self-defense,” Marion Hammer, a local lobbyist for the NRA, wrote to legislators as reported by The Ledger. “The issue is not about warning shots. It’s about protecting people from the abuse of prosecutorial discretion.”
The bills are expected to advance this week.
Courtesy Of The Gunington Post © 2014.
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