This bill seems to be to be some duct tape added to the giant ball of fail that is Florida’s criminal law, so in that sense I tend to agree with Bob Owens of Bearing ArmsÂ that “[t]his is bad legislation piled up on top of bad legislation, instead of legislators admitting that they made a mistake.” Florida’s criminal laws seem particularly nutty and laced with unintended consequences from legislators showing how they are “tough on crime.” But having read this post at Legal Insurrection, and read the HB89 bill, the characterization of this as the “Warning Shot” Bill is greatly overblown by the media.
The bill in no way, shape or form authorizes warning shots, and the media is grossly irresponsible for suggesting it does. Why? Because when it passes, there will be people who have an entirely false belief they have state sanction to fire warning shots. This matches the media’s gross irresponsibility of characterizing elimination of the duty to retreat as a “shoot first” bill that lets you blast away at anyone you feel a little scared of. When you spread this kind of nonsense, there are certain people who are going to believe it. It makes a culture of violence more likely, not less. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. But I suppose they don’t care about the body count, as long as it advances their agenda of reinstitution the duty to retreat from your attacker before resorting to use of deadly force to protect yourself.
All this bill says is that if you’re justified in using deadly force, you’re justified in also threatening to use deadly force. Could that be a warning shot? Maybe. But this bill never mentions warning shots. As Legal Insurrection points out, even under this bill, Marissa Alexander would still be in jail.