TALLAHASSEE, Fla. Shooting at someone could land you 20 years behind bars, but legislation expanding Stand Your Ground could soon make warning shots legal.
Marissa Alexander got 20 years for firing a gun at her now ex-husband. A bill waiting for the governor’s signature could change that.
“This is about self defense," Greg Evers of Pensacola said. "This is about the right thing to do.”
The bill allows for equal use or threatened use of force. The House sponsor, Rep. Neil Combee of Polk County said it’s not designed to allow people to take to the streets with guns blazing.
“It will get some people in some serious trouble if they can’t convince a judge that they fired a shot because they felt their life was threatened," Combee said.
The bill received only 7 no votes. Some of the Senators that voted ‘No’, like Arthenia Joyner of Tampa, were worried that warning shots could turn deadly.
“Everybody’s going to get armed and say well I’ll have a warning shot and my feeling is that they’ll be shooting each other!” Joyner said.
“The proliferation of bullets and gunfire is overly problematic,” Sen. Dwight Bullard of Miami said.
The NRA’s Marion Hammer says that it’s more about protecting people. And it could help Marissa Alexander, who’s currently awaiting a retrial.
“Under retrial, the prosecutor said she’s going for 60 years," Hammer said. "That’s abuse, that’s wrong, that’s what this bill is designed to stop.”
Alexander wasn’t allowed to use Stand Your Ground during her trial because of current law mandating 20 years in prison if a gun is fired during a crime.
An amendment was proposed that would track successful Stand Your Ground claims, which are currently expunged if a person is found innocent. The amendment was voted down.