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The "Warning Shot" Law.....What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

By The Reverend Published: April 10, 2014

John Legg is a Republican state senator in Florida. He is the only Republican in Florida's state senate who voted recently against the new "warning shot" bill.

What's the "warning shot bill?"

The state Senate passed a bill Thursday that grants immunity to people with clean criminal records who fire a warning shot or threaten to use deadly force in self-defense. It also seals court records of those charged with firing a weapon but later have those charges dropped.

Why is the "warning shot" law necessary?

The so-called “warning shot” bill is backed heavily by the NRA and other gun groups like Florida Carry, who see it as a way to better protect members facing prosecution or who had been convicted for aggravated assault for firing guns in cases that didn’t involve injuries.

“This is about self-defense,” said the Senate’s sponsor, Sen. Greg Evers, R-Baker. “It’s one more step forward for people to protect themselves.”

State Senator John Legg, the lone GOPer to vote no, was pressured by his Republican colleagues to vote for the corollary bill to Florida's "stand your ground" law. It seems that voting no meant that you rejected the 2nd amendment....

“They're asking me why I’m compromising the 2nd Amendment,” Legg said. “But it has nothing to do with the 2nd Amendment. It’s about a bill that could harm more than it can help.”

Sensible Republicans.....and especially in Florida....are a rare find.

The "warning shot" bill is a cynical ploy by Florida elected officials to kiss the derrierre (again) of the NRA and was...."partly inspired by the case of a Jasonville woman sentenced to 20 years in prison after firing a shot near her estranged husband during an altercation."

If the new law goes into effect, then not only can a person legally use lethal force in Florida if he/she feels threatened....as in George Zimmerman's case....but a person who is feeling threatened can now fire warning shots without legal repercussions as well.

Far be it for me to doubt the Yoda-like wisdom of Florida legislators....but here's what implementing "stand your ground" has meant in Florida......

Homicide rates in Florida increased by 8 percent from the period prior to passing the (stand your ground) law (2000-04) to the period after the law (2006-10). By comparison, national homicide rates fell by 6 percent over the same time period.

It would seem that when you give gun carriers the right to use lethal force when they simply feel threatened......more people get murdered.

But what about the brilliant new idea of giving gun carriers the legal right to fire warning shots if he/she feels threatened? That can't be so bad, right?

Just this Monday in Benton County, Oregon,...."Gale Fogelstrom was walking down a rural street for about half a mile to her newspaper box when she reported hearing about 40 rounds of ammunition being fired. Hearing shots in the area is fairly common...

As she continued down the road, Fogelstrom told deputies she was struck twice by bullets, entering both her lower left back and her left buttocks. Folgestrom was eventually picked up by a motorist and given a ride to her home, where her boyfriend called 911."

It just so happened that two men were, you know, target practicing with their guns in close proximity to where Fogelstrom was walking. And stray bullets being like they are.....not discriminating....found there way into Ms. Fogelstrom's body.

Sure, this was not a case of two guys "standing their ground" while feeling all threatened and so forth, but i think that's the point. If random gun shot accidents can occur just from shooting targets......how many more will happen if, while feeling afraid and threatened, "warning shot shooters" send stray bullets hither and yon?

Stand your ground, and now the warning shot law, are both obvious manipulations of Florida law that were partially intended to enrich gun manufacturers and sellers.....remember, profits before people. But fear, based on ignorance, has also played a role....

Despite a sharp decline in the United States' violent crime rate since the mid-1990s, the majority of Americans continue to believe the nation's crime problem is getting worse, as they have for most of the past decade.

But don't bother Florida lawmakers with any pesky facts or figures....or basic common sense.....Florida conservatives are taking their state back.....to the glory days of the Wild West.

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