This past week the Florida Senate Criminal Justice Committee voted 5-0 to advance SB 448, commonly referred to as the “warning shot” bill. I address the substance of this bill (and its House counterpart, HB 89) in some detail over at legal insurrection: Florida “Warning Shot” Bill Advances.)
So far I’ve posted up rough transcripts and video of:
Florida Representative Neil Combee, the sponsor of the parallel bill in the House, HN 89: VIDEO: On “Warning Shot” Bill, Addresses Verbal Defensive Threats, Marissa Alexander Scenarios.
Eric represents Florida Carry, the largest group of gun owners in Florida who actively litigating these issues on behalf of gun owners. (Florida Carry can be found at www.floridacarry.org.)
Eric stated that Florida Carry supports SB 448
because they had seen cases where “people are being prosecuted and subjected to mandatory minimums for nothing more than defending themselves or a friend or a family member.”
(Back in November Eric also spoke eloquently in support of HB 89 in the Florida House; see Repeal of “Stand-Your-Ground” voted down in Florida House Committee over at Legal Insurrection.)
He went on to note:
Prosecutors in some circuits have decided that every time someone fires a shot it needs to be a 10-20-life case.
The 3rd DCA just had to issue an opinion in the last couple of weeks to correct a trial court that actually suggested that the person should not have immunity for the simple reason that the person did not warn their attacker that they had a firearm and did not fire a warning shot.
When we have trial courts suggesting that people should warn when possible, and refusing to grant immunity when didn’t warn, and at the same time have prosecutors prosecuting people for defensively displaying firearm, something needs to be done.
At the prompting of criminal justice committee chairman Senator Greg Evers’ prompting, Eric also spoke to two issues raised by other Senators on the committee.
Senator Dean had inquired whether a person who merely verbally informs a potential attacker that they are armed and prepared to defend themselves could potentially face an aggravated assault charge. Eric replied he’d seen no case where that had occurred.
Senator Gibson, the only Democrat present (and who also voted in favor of advancing the bill), had asked about Marissa Alexander type situations, where the defender has successfully achieved a position of safety but then arms themselves with a gun and returns to the conflict.
Eric indicated that where they were returning to secure the safety of another innocent person from harm, say a child that had been left behind, that would be fine under Florida’s self-defense law. Otherwise, it would be inappropriate to arm oneself and return to the fight. (For what it’s worth, I concur.)
Anyway, take a look at the video below, It’s less than 6 minutes long, and guys like Eric are truly doing warrior’s service on behalf of us gun owners and legal bloggers who merely sit at home and type about his exploits.
Andrew F. Branca is an MA lawyer and the author of the seminal book “The Law of Self Defense, 2nd Edition,” available at the Law of Self Defense blog, Amazon.com (paperback and Kindle), Barnes & Noble (paperback and Nook), and elsewhere.
In addition to the book, Andrew also conducts Law of Self Defense Seminars all around the country. Seminars for 2014 are currently being scheduled, if you’d like to see one held in your area fill out the comment box on the LOSD Seminar review page, where you can also see reviews of recently completed seminars in New Hampshire, Maine, Texas, Massachusetts, Ohio, Virginia, Florida, South Carolina, Georgia, and elsewhere.
Andrew is also a contributing author on self defense law topics to Combat Handguns, Ammoland.com, Legal Insurrection, and others.