House Bill 89, Threatened Use of Force, introduced by Representatives Neil Combee (R-Auburndale) and Katie Edwards (D-Sunrise) was favorably amended and passed the Florida House Criminal Justice Committee by a bipartisan vote of 12-1. The bill currently has 29 cosponsors and with the number growing.
According to NRA-ILA, “HB-89 is a bill to stop abusive prosecutors from using 10-20-LIFE to prosecute people who ‘threaten to use deadly force’ against an attacker as a means of self-defense and to stop an attack. Some anti-gun, anti-self-defense prosecutors have been abusing the 10-20-LIFE law to prosecute average citizens who displayed a weapon or gun in self-defense to make an attacker back off.”
“Average citizens who never would have been in the system if they had not been attacked and in fear for their own safety, are being prosecuted for defending themselves. Because citizens took responsibility for their own safety, some prosecutors treat them like criminals and make them victims of a judicial system that is no longer about justice but rather about the whim or politics of prosecutors. 10-20-LIFE was passed to be used against criminals who use guns in the commission or attempted commission of crimes — NOT average citizens who rightfully defend themselves against threats of force,” notes NRA-ILA.
Voting In Favor of HB-89 were Florida Representatives Matt Gaetz, Ray Pilon, Irving Slosberg, Randolph Bracy, Mike Clelland, Dane Eagle, James Grant, Gayle Harrell, Dave Hood, Travis Hudson, Dave Kerner and Charles Van Zant.
Kionne McGhee voted Against HB-89.
FOLLOWING IS THE TESTIMONY OF MARION P. HAMMER:
HB-89 by Rep. Neil Combee & Rep. Katie Edwards
House Criminal Justice Committee
Thursday, November 7, 2013 3:00pm – 8:00pm
Thank You Mr. Chairman and Committee Members. The NRA and Unified Sportsmen of Florida support the Proposed Committee Substitute.
The simple truth is the intent of the 10-20-Life law is being violated.
10-20-Life was intended to lock up criminals who use guns during the commission or attempted commission of a crime.
10-20-Life was designed to put criminals behind bars and keep them off our streets – and to stop plea bargaining and sentence reductions for gun wielding criminals.
It was designed to stop prosecutors and judges from slapping gun-toting criminals on the wrist so they could quickly clear cases.
Folks, I was here in 1999 when we passed 10-20-Life – and NRA was a part of helping pass the law. I know what was intended and why.
10-20-Life was never intended to be used against citizens who, in an act of self-defense, threatened the use of force to stop an attacker.
It was never intended to be used on citizens who, in fear for their own safety, threaten to use force to stop an attack.
Yet that’s how some prosecutors are using it. Depending on the seriousness of the threat, they’ll try to put you in prison for 10 years or 20 years for threatening to use deadly force to protect your own life or the lives of your loved ones.
So the message from those prosecutors seems to be, if you actually use force in self defense — the law protects you But threaten to use force in self-defense, and they’re going to put you in prison for 10-20 years.
That is the cold hard reality of how some prosecutors are treating law-abiding people who never would have been in the system if they had not been attacked and in fear for their own safety.
There are people sitting in prison today who should not be there – but they are because prosecutors abused their discretion and violated the intent of 10-20-Life. This bill will stop that. Please support it.