Forget What I Said Last Time; Now There'll Be A Bloodbath

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So Florida has now enacted a law saying you can legally stand your ground and fight rather than run away, as long as you're someplace you're legally allowed to be. As you might expect, Disarm America, Inc., isn't too happy about this:

MIAMI -- Clark Ramm said he sees shades of the Wild West in Florida's new law giving greater legal protections to people who shoot or use other deadly force when threatened or attacked.

"It seems like everybody ought to be packing a piece," said Ramm, a visitor from Ukiah, Calif., who found out about the law Monday from a gun control group handing out leaflets at Miami International Airport. "I don't know if that's the right thing to do."

Ramm was one of dozens of people at the Miami airport who were given the leaflets beginning with the words "An Important Notice to Florida Visitors" in bold red type by the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, which has also taken out ads in major Detroit, Chicago, Boston and London newspapers about the new Florida law.

"There is no other state in the nation -- and no other civilized nation on Earth -- that has a law like this," said Brady Campaign spokesman Peter Hamm. "It could cause the most aggressive people in society to overreact."

Florida's "stand your ground" law, which took effect Saturday, removes a duty on the part of citizens to retreat in the face of an attack as long as they are in a place they have a legal right to be, including a public street or their place of business. It also gives immunity from criminal or civil charges to a shooter as long as the person shot is not a police officer.

What Guns Are Bad, Inc. doesn't want you to remember is that when Florida enacted a law in 1987 making it much much easier for law-abiding citizens to get a permit to carry a concealed weapon (known as a "shall issue" law), they said exactly the same thing:

David Kopel has noted, "Whenever a state legislature first considers a concealed- carry bill, opponents typically warn of horrible consequences. Permit-holders will slaughter each other in traffic disputes, while would-be Rambos shoot bystanders in incompetent attempts to thwart crime. But within a year of passage, the issue usually drops off the news media's radar screen, while gun-control advocates in the legislature conclude that the law wasn't so bad after all." ("The Untold Triumph of Concealed-Carry Permits," Policy Review, July-August 1996, p. 9.)

. . .

Opponents waged a fear-based campaign, claiming crime would increase if law-abiding citizens carried guns. Anti-gun politicians predicted Florida would become the "GUNshine State." The news media forecast vigilante justice and "Wild West" shootouts on every corner. One newspaper said "(A) pistol-packing citizenry will mean itchier trigger fingers. . . . South Florida's climate of smoldering fear would flash like napalm when every stranger totes a piece, and every mental snap in traffic could lead to the crack of gunfire."

It didn't happen then, and it won't happen now. But that won't stop the Personal Disarmament lobby in their quest to make guns go away. Good luck with that.

3 Comments

A lawyer friend of mine told me about this sort of law back when he was cramming for the bar (some ten years ago now)... the legal profession refers to them collectively as the "John Wayne Rule".

I think back then he even mentioned something about the few states adopting the JWR saw significant drops in violent crimes during the first few years after...go fig.

Interestingly, Florida is also one of the most liberal (so to speak) state for issuing concealed weapons permits to non-residents, and their permits are also one of the most-recognized by other states. So if you live in a state whose CCW permits aren't recognized by enough states, or by desired states, it's relatively common to be able to apply for a Florida non-resident permit and gain the desired recognition.

Not really sure why this is, or what it means, but I thought I'd just mention it.

pretty much the same circumstances in texas. despite what the article says about florida being unique.

break into my home, get shot.

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This page contains a single entry by Chris published on October 3, 2005 6:05 PM.

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