When Florida’s lawmakers passed the Deadly Force Law last year, critics were worried it would create a wild-west mentality among some people.
That worry is hitting home here in Bay County. This week a Lynn Haven family’s home was burglarized. And the homeowner took advantage of the new deadly force law.
Late at night the family was greeted with an unwelcome visitor coming into their home.
Assistant Police Chief Dennis Kiah says, "He heard his dog barking and when he rose to find out what it was he saw a man’s leg."
The Lynn Haven man fired a round of shots at the intruder. The burglar left the house and hasn't been seen since. It’s not known if he was hit by the shots.
Assistant Chief Kiah said this is the kind of scenario that lawmakers had in-mind with they passed the deadly force law last year.
"In this event, by the way the law reads, he was well within his rights because fear for his safety and safety of his family, this man coming in not know what was going to happen."
The deadly force law allows anyone to use deadly force on intruders virtually anywhere you have the 'understandable' right to be safe.
Not only can you defend yourself against unwanted intruders in your home, you can defend yourself from a personal attack even if you're out on your street, say, checking your mail.
With all its advantages, Assistant Chief Kiah urges the public not to be too anxious to shoot.
"An undercover officer going to make an arrest and the arrestee thinks he's being threatened and he might shoot the officer not knowing he's an officer thinking he's coming to threaten his life."
This is Lynn Haven's first case involving the new deadly force law. Panama City police report no cases.
This new law not only protects Floridians who defend themselves from criminal prosecution, but also from civil actions brought by the attacker or their relatives.