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 Post subject: No Warning Shot
PostPosted: Tue Jul 16, 2013 1:49 pm 
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It’s true. Florida is one of the worst places to fire a gun into the air, even as it appears to be one of the best places to actually shoot at a person.

Here’s the story: In 1999, Florida’s “tough-on-crime” lawmakers passed one of nation’s harshest gun laws. Known as “10-20-life,” the law stipulates that a person who commits a felony with a gun gets an automatic 10 years in prison. A person who fires that gun gets an automatic 20 years. And a person who injures someone or kills someone with the gun gets 25-to-life.


“The law was intended for direct, blatant acts of crime, like someone robbing a liquor store,” former state senator Victor D. Crist, the author of the law, told me in a phone interview. “Circumstances where Grandpa goes out on New Year’s Eve and fires a gun in the air . . . that wasn’t the intent.”


But over the years, the law has netted scores of people Crist never imagined. Since the act of pulling out a gun and firing it can be considered “aggravated assault,” people who fire warning shots into the air risk a 20-year prison sentence.

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 Post subject: Re: No Warning Shot
PostPosted: Tue Jul 16, 2013 1:49 pm 
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Alexander, whose ex-husband admitted that she was afraid of his abuse, is not the only one in prison for shooting at nothing.

Ronald Thompson, 62, a disabled veteran, fired two shots into the ground to protect an elderly woman from her violent 17-year-old grandson. State Attorney Angela Corey — the same prosecutor in the Zimmerman case — charged him with four counts of aggravated assault. Thompson was sentenced to 20 years in prison, a punishment that the judge in the case called a “crime in itself.” (He is currently awaiting a new trial.)

Orville Lee Wollard, a former auxiliary police force member, shot a bullet into the wall to scare away his daughter’s abusive boyfriend. Prosecutors offered him probation. But he wanted to be exonerated at trial. Now he’s serving 20 years.

Erik Weyant, 22, fired shots in the air to disperse a group of drunk men who accosted him in a parking lot outside a bar and blocked his car. No one was hurt. But he’s in for 20 years.

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 Post subject: Re: No Warning Shot
PostPosted: Tue Jul 16, 2013 1:50 pm 
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In many cases, the fact that they chose to fire a warning shot, instead of aiming to kill, was used as evidence against them at trial, said Greg Newburn of Families Against Mandatory Minimums. If you were truly in fear of your life, the logic goes, you would aim at the chest, not the wall.

Florida lawmakers, in their infinite wisdom, began to notice that a lot of people were getting severely punished simply for defending themselves. But instead of repealing the Draconian measure, they passed another one: the “stand your ground” law.

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 Post subject: Re: No Warning Shot
PostPosted: Tue Jul 16, 2013 1:52 pm 
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“The intent was to provide assurance and safety that if you are protecting yourself, you don’t get caught up in any statute,” Crist, who is also a co-sponsor of “stand your ground,” told me.

Just as 10-20-life was meant for criminals — the robber at the liquor store — “stand your ground” was meant for victims — the person who shoots a carjacker. The idea was that the criminal should get 20 years, and the victim should walk free.

So in the sick logic of Florida’s gun laws, the message is clear: If you are going to shoot, shoot to kill. You stand a better chance of walking free.

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 Post subject: Re: No Warning Shot
PostPosted: Wed Jul 17, 2013 2:04 pm 
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Bills are passed that result in one person going to prison for 20 years for firing into a wall while another who actually kills somebody is let off under a dubious self-defense claim.


Never, never fire a warning shot in Florida or anywhere else.

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 Post subject: Re: No Warning Shot
PostPosted: Sun Jul 21, 2013 11:50 pm 
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Location: Banff AB
Warning shots belong in old western movies and no where else.

Anyone discharging a firearm in the air belongs in prison unless they are hunting birds or shooting sporting clays, there is no justification for sending lead skyward. It's going to come down somewhere and the shooter doesn't know where. Shooter is responsible for where the bullet lands.

Firearms are not noise makers they are lethal force you pull the trigger to eliminate the threat not to warn people you mean business. I'm okay with people that pull the trigger with no regard as to where the lead ends up spending the next 20 years being afraid to shower.

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