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"Warning Shot" legislation could become law

11:45 PM, Jan 8, 2014   |    comments
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Tallahassee, Florida - It's called SB488, a controversial bill moving through the Tallahassee legislature that could allow people to flash a weapon or even fire a warning shot if someone is threatening them.

The bill is sponsored by Republican State Senator Greg Evers, who said the possible legislation would allow cooler heads to prevail in an aggressive situation.

"It's whatever force is needed for a person to protect themselves, and however they need to protect themselves is what the bill's about," said Evers.

Currently, state law prohibits people from threatening someone with a weapon. Resorting to such can be considered aggravated battery. SB488 would prevent that charge.

The bill has gained traction in part because of the Marissa Alexander case. She is the Jacksonville woman who was given 20 years in jail for firing a warning shot at her estranged husband during an argument.

Evers says this is a common sense bill that would preclude a "stand your ground" charge.

"On stand your ground, you physically have to shoot someone or use physical force against that person. Why should you have to go to that extreme?" Evers asked.

The bill does have opponents, including State Senator Arthenia Joyner of Tampa, who, according to the Miami Herald, said legislators should give more discretion to judges rather than changing state gun laws.

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