Just when I think the politicians down in Florida can’t get anymore insane than they already are they prove me wrong by passing legislation that allows people to open fire whenever they see a threat.
MIAMI (AFP) – Florida’s legislature has approved a bill that would give residents the right to open fire against anyone they perceive as a threat in public, instead of having to try to avoid a conflict as under prevailing law.
Outraged opponents say the law will encourage Floridians to open fire first and ask questions later, fostering a sort of statewide Wild West shootout mentality. Supporters argue that criminals will think twice if they believe they are likely to be promptly shot when they assault someone.
Republican Governor Jeb Bush, who has said he plans to sign the bill, says it is “a good, commonsense, anti-crime issue.”
Current state law allows residents to “shoot to kill if their property, such as their home or car, is invaded by an unknown assailant.”
But it also states that if a resident is confronted or threatened in a public place, he or she must first try to avoid the confrontation or flee before taking any violent step in self defense against an assailant.
I haven’t seen the full text of the law yet so it’s hard to say just what the legal definition of a “threat” is, but given the fact that I tend to intimidate people with my shaved head and Amish biker beard I think I’ll have to make up some t-shirts for my next visit to Florida that say “Please don’t shoot me. I’m not a terrorist. I’m just a tourist and I mean you no harm.”
Not surprisingly the bill was backed by the NRA and passed easily in both Republican controlled houses. I guess those jokes about how the Florida heat will affect your brain are true after all.
Thanks to JPV for emailing me the news item.