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    Florida “Warning Shot” Bill Signed Into Law

    Florida “Warning Shot” Bill Signed Into Law

    Governor Rick Scott signs HB-89 into law 11 weeks after it passed FL legislature

    Well, it’s about time. Today, Florida’s Governor Rick Scott finally signed the “Warning Shot” bill (HB-89) that had been passed by the state House and Senate and sent to his desk way back in early April (h/t Miguel, over at Gun Free Zone). I won’t go into all the ways that this bill is NOT a “warning shot” bill, because I’ve already done so, here:  Florida “Warning Shot” Bill Passes Senate, Heads to Governor’s Desk. One thing that might not be clear from that earlier post is that this bill does not so much create a new statute (although it does create a small one), rather it primarily serves to amend a wide variety of Florida’s existing self-defense statutes, including (note that all indented sections of this post are copied directly from the statute, hence the odd phrasing):

    Amending s. 775.087 “10-20-Life,” Possession or use of weapon; aggravated battery; felony reclassification; minimum sentence, prohibiting the court from imposing certain mandatory minimum sentences if the court makes specified written findings;

    Amending s. 776.012 Use of force in defense of person, applying provisions relating to the use of force in defense of persons to the threatened use of force; providing that a person who lawfully uses or threatens to use nondeadly force does not have a duty to retreat; providing that a person who lawfully uses or threatens to use deadly force does not have a duty to retreat if the person using or threatening to use the deadly force is not engaged in a criminal activity and is in a place where he or she has a right to be;

    Amending s. 776.013 Home protection; use of deadly force; presumption of fear of death or great bodily harm, applying presumption relating to the use of deadly force to the threatened use of deadly force in the defense of a residence and similar circumstances; applying provisions relating to such use of force to the threatened use of force; removing provisions relating to one’s duty to retreat before using force;

    Amending s. 776.031 Use of force in defense of others,  applying provisions relating to the use of force in defense of property to the threatened use of force; providing that a person who lawfully uses or threatens to use nondeadly force does not have a duty to retreat; providing that a person who lawfully uses or threatens to use deadly force does not have a duty to retreat if the person using or threatening to use the deadly force is not engaged in a criminal activity and is in a place where he or she has a right to be;

    Amending s. 776.032, Immunity from criminal prosecution and civil action for justifiable use of force, applying immunity provisions that relate to the use of force to the threatened use of force; limiting immunity provisions to civil actions by the person, personal representative, or heirs of the person against whom force was used;

    Amending s. 776.041, Use of force by aggressor,  applying provisions relating to the use of force by an aggressor to the threatened use of force; providing exceptions;

    Amending s. 776.051, F.S.; providing that a person is not justified in the threatened use of force to resist an arrest by a law enforcement officer;

    Amending s. 776.06, F.S.; clarifying that the provision relates to use of force by a law enforcement officer or correctional officer;

    Amending s. 943.0585, F.S.; requiring the Department of Law Enforcement to provide a certificate of eligibility for expunction, notwithstanding the eligibility requirements, to a person who has a written, certified statement from a prosecutor or statewide prosecutor indicating that the charging document in the case was not filed or was dismissed because it was found that the person acted in lawful self-defense pursuant to the provisions related to the justifiable use of force in chapter 776, F.S.; providing a penalty for knowingly providing false information on a sworn statement; providing applicability; requiring the department to adopt rules; providing an effective date.

    Indeed, the only genuinely new statute created under this “warning shot” bill is:

    Creating s. 776.09, F.S.; providing that a person is eligible to apply for a certificate of eligibility for expunction, notwithstanding specified eligibility requirements, if the charging document in the case is not filed or is dismissed because it is found that the person acted in lawful self-defense pursuant to the provisions related to the justifiable use of force in chapter 776, F.S.; requiring a prosecutor, statewide prosecutor, or court to document and retain such findings;

    If you’d like to read the entirety of HB-89 as signed into law by Governor Scott today, here it is: As an aside, Satuday, June 21,  I’m giving a North Carolina-specific Law of Self Defense Seminar in downtown Charlotte, NC, as well as speaking at the Grass Roots North Carolina Annual Meeting. Fellow dinner speakers include Dr. John Lott and Larry Pratt, two towering figures in the gun rights movement for decades now. It’ll be a fun time–if you’re in the vicinity, you can get more information by clicking here. (NOTE: This post was updated to make clear that all indented sections of this post are copied directly from the statute.) –-Andrew, @LawSelfDefense


    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 and Amazon.com (paperback and Kindle). He holds many state-specific Law of Self Defense Seminars around the country, and produces a series of Law of Self Defense Videocasts and Podcasts available on iTunes, Stitcher, and RSS).

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    Comments


     
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    platypus | June 20, 2014 at 11:36 pm

    Slow Joe BiteMe, call your office. Do not call while holding your shotgun.


     
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    randian | June 21, 2014 at 7:21 am

    If only we could get him to support an open-carry or school carry bill.


     
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    Andrew | June 21, 2014 at 2:22 pm

    Just a thought. Why have Marissa Alexander on this page, since the ‘warning shot’ could just as (perhaps more reasonably) been seen by the ‘reasonable man’ as a missed UDF, and the changes in statute changes nothing about the other legs that the self defense charge has to stand on (Other than allowing threatened use of force). I know that the media has attached her to the law, but should LI do the same?

    The Law, the Courts and Judges As Pettifogging

    In other words the Florida legislature prior to the signing of this bill did nothing to stop the sending of citizens to jail if they pulled their gun as a warning for an obvious criminal to stand down.

    So prior to this bill prosecutors charged people who pulled their guns to stop a criminal. Of course they argue they have to enforce the law and of course they pretend not to have had discretion when they do so.

    How a law which in appropriate circumstances would permit me shoot an attacker would punish me if I did not shoot him – this is the law as pettifogging.

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