Blog Network

About The Bloggers


Coming to a legislature near you? Florida's new self-defense law

The Volokh Conspiracy's David Kopel weighs in on a new Florida law created by NRA President Marion Hammer and signed by Gov. Jeb Bush.

Kopel thinks this "self-defense law" may be coming soon to a legislature near you:

"The NRA has announced that it plans to take SB 436 national, and urge other states to adopt similar measures. Previous Florida programs created by Marion Hammer have done very well in other states. In 1988, her lobbying led Florida to enact “Shall Issue” concealed handgun licensing legislation -- so that any law-abiding adult with a clean record and who passes a safety training class may obtain a permit to carry a handgun for lawful protection. Before 1988, only a handful of states had Shall Issue laws; now, only a little more than a dozen states do not have such laws."

What the law is and what it means for day-to-day life in Florida is also part of Kopel's lengthy post, one I recommend you read in full. Here are some highlights:

"... a person may use deadly force against someone who unlawfully and forcefully enters a person’s home or vehicle. A victim may also use deadly force against a criminal who attempts to force a person out of her vehicle or home. Thus, if someone kicks down your front door in the middle of the night, or attempts to carjack you, you can use firearm or other deadly weapon to protect yourself. You do not have to worry that a prosecutor might second-guess your decision, and claim that you should have used lesser force against the violent intruder.

"... Prior Florida law about self-defense allowed defensive deadly force only when the victim believed that no lesser force would suffice. The principle remains in effect in all self-defense situations in Florida, except when the attack takes place in the home or automobile; the legislative judgment was that attacks in a home or vehicle are so outrageous, and so threatening to the social order, that victims should be guaranteed that they will be protected from having their defensive decisions second-guessed in court."

"... Principled opponents of the Florida law can object to the bill because it allows deadly force against home invaders and carjackers, because crime victims are not required to retreat, or because criminals may not sue crime victims. In the United Kingdom, such objections would carry the day. Earlier this year, the Blair government defeated a move in Parliament to ease Britain's severe restrictions on self-defense in the home, because, in the British government's view, criminals also have a right to be protected against violence. Likewise, the British courts have allowed burglars to sue victims who used force against them. But in the United States, social attitudes tend to favor the victim's rights over those of the criminal. Most Americans would disagree with the idea that a mugging victim should be sent to prison because he didn't try to flee, or that violent predators ought to be able to sue victims who shoot them."

For more -- including exceptions to the bill and other essentials -- see here.

Posted by Product Team on May 19, 2005 at 01:39 PM | Permalink | TrackBack (0)


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Coming to a legislature near you? Florida's new self-defense law:

About ALM  |  About  |  Customer Support  |  Privacy Policy  |  Terms & Conditions