Jeb Bush signs "no retreat" into FLA law
Jeb Bush just signed into law the Florida no-retreat bill, which provides that a person need not retreat from an attack, may "stand his ground" and use deadly force if he reasonably believes he or another person is threatened by death or serious physical injury. (The retreat requirement imposes a restriction on self-defense: in addition to a threat of death or serious injury, the defender had to show they had tried to retreat, or that retreat exposed them to greater danger. Court decisions had already removed that requirement within the defender's home or business).
What's remarkable is the press coverage. It's ... actually pretty balanced. Am I the only one noticing a certain change from the days 10-20-30 years ago, when Brady Campaign or Nat'l Coalition to Ban Handguns could make any claim it wanted and have it favorably reported (Forget having their press releases reprinted as news stories: there was one hiliarious case where it went the other way, an AP story was so one-sided that one gun control group cut-and-pasted it to make it their press release).
Here's a summary of some news articles, relayed by Marion Hammer.
Associated Press (in Gainesville Sun):
Supporters of the bill had touted it as a way not only to protect the rights of those who are assaulted, but a measure meant to deter crime.
''If law-abiding citizens are able to protect themselves and have government stand behind them, you will have less violent crime,'' said Rep. Dennis Baxley, R-Ocala, the sponsor of the bill in the House.
Opponents of the bill warned during debate on the issue that it will lead to a ''wild west'' atmosphere in Florida, where gun-toting people in public places will have shootouts because they can. No one will ever back down, opponents argued.
The Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel:
Critics decried the measure, saying that by encouraging people to stand up to attackers instead of running, the state has essentially legalized dueling, which will lead to more deaths.
The law gets Florida closer to the "Wild, Wild West," said Rep. Eleanor Sobel, D-Hollywood.
Former NRA president Marion Hammer, who watched Bush sign the legislation, called those arguments "silly."
"Existing law is on the side of the criminal," she said later in a statement. "The new law is on the side of the law-abiding victim."
About the only echo of the Old Days is the Palm Beach Post, which has blurbs such as "Floridians already have the right to carry concealed weapons and can circumvent background checks when buying weapons at gun shows," and
But gun-control proponent Sarah Brady called the bill a "terrible, terrible mistake" that will revert the state to "an almost uncivilized society."
Brady is the wife of former White House press secretary James Brady, who was permanently disabled when shot in an assassination attempt in 1981 along with then-President Ronald Reagan and two Secret Service agents. The Bradys launched the Brady Campaign, an effort to curb gun violence, in the wake of his assault.
"The Florida law has gone so far that it almost encourages people to see a necessity to do this," Brady said in a telephone interview Tuesday. "Having my husband a victim and seeing how it destroys families, what's happening in Florida is there are going to be more innocent victims. What I'm worried about is an escalation in violence. It opens the door for that to happen."
But even the Palm Beach paper wound up inserting a few favorable facts, such that Florida's homicide rate fell by almost 50% since enactment of liberalized conceal carry permits.