florida

Florida ‘Defensive Display’ bill needed says concealed carry proponent

by Lee Williams, Herald Tribune  |  published on March 20, 2013

Florida Carry wants to insure that if someone pulls a firearm and stops a violent attack without firing a shot, they do not put themselves in legal jeopardy.

The proposed legislation, SB 1446 and its companion bill HB1047, would decriminalize the act of displaying a firearm – showing, holding or pointing a weapon at a bad guy to stop a threat.

Sean Caranna, founder and CEO of Florida Carry, Inc., says under Florida law if an armed citizen “displays” a firearm to an attacker – stopping the threat without firing a shot – there is a chance they could face aggravated assault charges.

“Unfortunately, some Florida prosecutors have decided that drawing a gun is equivalent to the use of lethal force, which justifies aggravated assault charges,” Caranna said. “When someone comes under a violent attack, the bill clarifies that just drawing a gun to stop the attack is a use of force, but not lethal force.”

The new legislation also defines “criminal activity,” a definition that can be used throughout Florida’s self defense laws. As it stands now, a Floridian cannot act in self defense if they are engaged in unlawful activity.

“Jaywalking or selling Avon from your home could be unlawful activity,” Caranna said. “The bill clarifies what unlawful activity means – not petty crimes.”

If aggravated assault charges are filed, the bill would also create an “safety valve” to allow a judge to depart from the mandatory sentences contained in Florida’s 10-20-life law, which imposes mandatory minimums for the use of a firearm during the commission of a forcible felony.

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