Rep. Rich Nugent (R-FL) introduces national concealed carry reciprocity law

There are over one million Florida concealed carry permit holders. Many live in other states or travel across America conducting business, visiting family and friends or to vacation. Many bring along their firearm and their state issued concealed carry permit for personal protection when on the road in a strange place.

Currently not all states recognize Florida’s, or one anothers, concealed carry permits. Herein lies the problem for law abiding citizens. For a list of the 34 states that recognize a Florida concealed carry permit click here.

Florida Dash reports:

Few Americans are aware that just because they may have a concealed weapons license in the respective state they live in, concealed weapons license reciprocity does not exist throughout the United States, as it does for state issued driver’s licenses.

Former Sheriff and current Congressman Rich Nugent (R-FL) wants to change that, filing a bill in the U.S. House of Representatives that would recognized concealed weapons licenses across the country, and “create some common-sense capability for law-abiding citizens to move about a free country without a patchwork of conflicting statutes.” 

Following introduction of his legislation to provide reciprocity for individuals holding concealed-carry licenses, Rep. Rich Nugent (R-FL District 11) issued the following statement:

“If I have a driver’s license issued by the state of Florida and I drive all the way across the country to California, my driver’s license is valid the entire way. Even though the requirements for obtaining a driver’s license may vary from state to state, we have a system that recognizes the need for reciprocity.

Currently, that sort of reciprocity does not extend to concealed carry licenses for firearms.

If a lawful and duly licensed person travels from one state into another, whether accidentally or on purpose, they can be in violation of serious gun control laws. The goal with this legislation isn’t to tell states what their laws have to be. In fact, a concealed carry license holder from Florida is still required to obey the concealed carry laws of the particular state that he or she is entering.

The goal with this legislation is to create some common-sense capability for law-abiding citizens to move about a free country without a patchwork of conflicting statutes.

“The Second Amendment states that the right to keep and bear arms ‘shall not be infringed’. This legislation is a common sense measure that will ensure that as free Americans travel from one state to another, their Constitutional rights are not infringed. “I am proud to be the leader on this issue and this legislation. As a former law enforcement official with the proper credential, I am permitted to carry a firearm in all 50 states. I can certainly understand the practical frustration that many law-abiding gun owners feel with our current patchwork system.

The previous version of this legislation passed by an overwhelming bipartisan majority in 2011 and I look forward to seeing it pass again during this Congress.”

George Zimmerman rescues family of four from vehicle accident

It seems that George Zimmerman is destined to be there at the right time. Multiple media outlets are reporting on how Zimmerman helped rescue four people from an overturned vehicle last week, just days after he was cleared of all charges in the now famous Sanford, FL case.

ABC News reports:

Zimmerman was one of two men who came to the aid of a family of four — two parents and two children — trapped inside a blue Ford Explorer SUV that had rolled over after traveling off the highway in Sanford, Fla. at approximately 5:45 p.m. Thursday, the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement.

The crash occurred at the intersection of I-4 and route Route 46, police said. The crash site is less than a mile from where Zimmerman shot Martin.

By the time police arrived, two people – including Zimmerman – had already helped the family get out of the overturned car, the sheriff’s office said. No one was reported to be injured.

The prosecutors in the self-defense case disparagingly called Zimmerman a “wannabe cop”. It looks like Zimmerman may also be a wannabe paramedic. The family of four is most grateful.

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Self-Defense Immunity Laws: Florida protects you best

There are over 1 million concealed weapon carry permit holders in the state of Florida. The concealed weapon or firearm program is administered by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Section 790.06 (1), Florida Statutes, defines concealed weapons or firearms as those carried in a manner that conceals them from the ordinary sight of another person. This includes: handguns, electronic weapons or devices, tear gas guns, knives and billies.

According to Adam H. Putnam, Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services, “Applying for a license to carry a concealed weapon or firearm for self-defense is a right of law-abiding Floridians. However, you must remember that a license to carry a weapon or firearm concealed on your person does not authorize you to use that weapon. Use of a concealed weapon or firearm is regulated by other provisions of Florida law. It is my hope that you will exercise your lawful right to carry a concealed weapon or firearm responsibly, properly, and safely.”

Florida statute 776.032 covers the uses of a weapon in Florida for self-defense.

 from Legal Insurrection did a comprehensive analysis of stand your ground laws and reports:

Now that the Zimmerman criminal trial has concluded, much attention has focused on the prospects for Zimmerman seeking protection under Florida’s self-defense immunity statute from any possible civil action against him.

Florida’s statute 776.032, is among the broader self-defense immunity statutes, in that it possesses all four qualities of an optimal statute of this type.

First, it is not limited to particular settings or circumstances (e.g., such as to self-defense encounters in and around one’s home).

Second, it prohibits even the arrest of the person who acted in self-defense, in the absence of probable cause for such arrest.

Third, it immunizes against criminal as well as civil liability.

And, fourth, it provides for the defendant who successfully obtains immunity to recover all reasonable legal expenses (and, in the case of Florida, even compensation for lost income) from the plaintiff.

Fully 32 states provide some degree of limitation of liability for the individual who has genuinely acted in self-defense, but there is considerable variety in terms of the scope and manner of protection provided.

Property-centered Immunity

Five states provide self-defense immunity only in the context of a defense of dwelling. Conceptually, this is very similar to the Castle Doctrine, in which you are relieved of any generalized duty to retreat if you are defending yourself in your home. These states include Colorado, Georgia, Hawai’i, Maryland, Ohio, and Wisconsin.

No Arrest In Absence of Probable Cause

Three states provide that the person who acted in claimed self-defense may not even be arrested unless their exists probably cause to believe that their use of force was not legitimate self-defense. As a practical matter, the use of deadly force in self-defense routinely results in the arrest of the person who used that force. Typically the person who used the force either clams up when confronted by investigating officers, or they admit to the use of force but claim it was done in self-defense. All this in the context of a “victim” who is either complaining bitterly about a gun having been pointed at him, or perhaps bleeding out in the street.

Under these circumstances the officers usually conclude that there is at least probable cause that there exists reasonable evidence in support of a potential crime having been committed, and an arrest is made. Whether the act was done in self-defense is, from the officer’s perspective, to be determined by others further down the criminal justice “pipeline”. (For a detailed explanation of the criminal justice “pipeline” and what to expect at each step of that pipeline, see Chapter 1, “Criminal Law: What to Expect,” in “The Law of Self Defense.”).

The five states that prohibit arrest unless there is probably cause that the use of force was not done in legitimate self defense–Alabama, Florida, Kansas,  Kentucky, and Oklahoma–essentially require that the police look at both sides of the question–both the use of force as a potential crime and the justification of self-defense.

Immunity Protection from Both Criminal and Civil Liability

Ten states provide immunity protection against criminal prosecution as well as civil lawsuits. These include: Alabama, Colorado, Florida, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Washington. Note, however, that where a state limits the scope of its self-defense immunity statute generally–as Colorado limits its statute to use of force around one’s home–this limitation applies in the context of both criminal and civil liability.

Recovery of Attorneys Fees, Trial Expenses If Sued Anyway

If a person who used force in self-defense is nevertheless sued, and they successfully argue their claim to self-defense immunity at trial, the party suing them is subject to having to pay the defendant’s attorney’s fees and other legal expenses. This rule applies in sixteen states, including Alaska, Florida, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina,  Tennessee, and Washington.

In fifteen of those states the statute provides that the court “shall” award such expenses where the defendant has successfully argued self-defense immunity. This gratifyingly takes the reimbursement of these expenses out of the hands of the trial court’s discretion. In Maryland, however, the statute only provides that the court “may” order the reimbursement of such expenses.

Odd Twists

I did come across a couple of odd twists in looking at the various states’ self-defense immunity statutes, and thought I share a couple with you.

First, Delaware appears to provide for immunity for the use of force in protection of property, but not for the use of force in self-defense. Indeed, the statute specifically references defense of another person’s property. My sense is that this statute was actually written to protect persons such as armed guards against civil liability for their use of force against robbers. Perhaps a lawyer from Delaware could provide greater context.

Second, New Jersey’s self-defense immunity law is written specific within the context of the use of a “chemical substance in self-defense” . . . and that’s it. So, if you use pepper spray or mace or something equivalent in legitimate self-defense, you seem to fall under the protection of the statute. Any other means of self-defense, whether deadly or non-deadly, would seem to place you outside that umbrella of protection.

Self-Defense Immunity Statutes of the Various United States:

Alabama
13A-3-23 Use of force in defense of a person.

Alaska

09.65.330. Immunity: Use of defensive force.

Arizona
AZ 13-413. No civil liability for justified conduct

Arkansas
5-2-621. Attempting to protect persons during commission of a felony.

Colorado
18-1-704.5. Use of deadly physical force against an intruder

Delaware
466. Justification — Use of force for the protection of property.

Florida
FL 776.032 Immunity from criminal prosecution and civil action for justifiable use of force.

Georgia
51-11-9. Immunity from civil liability for threat or use of force in defense of habitation

Hawai’i
663-1.57. Owner to felon; limited liability

Idaho
6-808. Civil immunity for self-defense

Illinois
7-1. Use of force in defense of person.

7-2. Use of force in defense of dwelling.

7-3. Use of force in defense of other property.

Iowa
707.6 Civil liability.

Kansas
21-5231. Same; immunity from prosecution or liability; investigation.

Kentucky
503.085 Justification and criminal and civil immunity for use of permitted force

Louisiana
2800.19. Limitation of liability for use of force in defense of certain crimes

Maryland
5-808 – Civil immunity for defense of dwelling or place of business.

Michigan
600.2922b Use of deadly force or other than deadly force by individual in self-defense; immunity from civil liability.

600.2922c Individual sued for using deadly force or force other than deadly force; award of attorney fees and costs; conditions.

Missouri
563.074. Justification as an absolute defense, when.

Montana
27-1-722. Civil damages immunity for injury caused by legal use of force.

New Hampshire
627:1-a Civil Immunity.

New Jersey
2A:62A-20. Immunity from civil liability for use of chemical substance for self-defense.

North Carolina
14‑51.3. Use of force in defense of person; relief from criminal or civil liability.

North Dakota
12.1-05-07.2. Immunity from civil liability for justifiable use of force.

Ohio
2305.40 Owner, lessee, or renter of real property not liable to trespasser.
Added: 2307.60 Civil action for damages for criminal act.

Oklahoma
Added: 21-1289.25 Physical or deadly force against intruder

Pennsylvania
8340.2 Civil immunity for use of force

South Carolina
16-11-450. Immunity from criminal prosecution and civil actions; law enforcement officer exception; costs.

Tennessee
39-11-622. Justification for use of force — Exceptions — Immunity from civil liability.

Texas
83.001. Civil immunity.

Washington
Added: 9A.16.110. Defending against violent crime — reimbursement.

Wisconsin
895.62  Use of force in response to unlawful and forcible entry into a dwelling, motor vehicle, or place of business; civil liability immunity.

Wyoming
6-1-204. Immunity from civil action for justifiable use of force.

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Blacks across Florida march for unequal rights?

Oakland, CA protest with Rev. Lennox Yearwood, Jr. and Oakland Mayor Jean Quan. Photo courtesy of AP. For a larger view click on the photo.

Protests were held across Florida and the nation on Saturday, July 20th, to protest the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the shooting of Trayvon Martin.

The Sarasota Herald-Tribune reported on Saturday’s protest, “Their chant said much the same thing: ‘No justice, no peace.’ We’re not going to stand by and let this man go free,’ said Trevor Harvey, president of the Sarasota County chapter of the NAACP, which is lobbying the Department of Justice to charge Zimmerman with civil rights violations.”

GulfNews.com reports, “In Miami, more than 200 people gathered for a vigil. ‘You can’t justify murder,’ read one poster. Another read ‘Don’t worry about more riots. Worry about more Zimmermans’.”

KIRO TV reports, “In Miami, Tracy Martin spoke about his son. ‘This could be any one of our children,’ he said. ‘Our mission now is to make sure that this doesn’t happen to your child.’ He recalled a promise he made to his son as he lay in his casket. ‘I will continue to fight for Trayvon until the day I die,’ he said. Shantescia Hill held a sign in Miami that read: ‘Every person deserves a safe walk home’. The 31-year-old mother, who is black, said, ‘I’m here because our children can’t even walk on the streets without fearing for their lives’.”

Are the protesters calling for unequal rights rather than equal justice under the law?

BizPac Review noted, “Shortly after President Obama surprised reporters Friday with a 20-minute statement on George Zimmerman, Trayvon Martin and race relations in the U.S., Zimmerman’s defense team responded with a statement of their own.”

The Zimmerman defense team response states in part:

“This case has given the nation an opportunity to have a candid conversation about race. We would like to contribute to this discourse. Our President has clearly indicated he is willing to contribute to the discourse. As we begin this conversation, we want to say this: we cannot talk about race in sound bites. Before you cast an opinion about what the President said, be sure to listen to his comments in full. Before you judge George Zimmerman or disparage the verdict of the citizen jury, understand the facts in full. Agree not to listen to just what meets your predisposition, but to accept what exists.”

Read the full statement here.

Have race relations come full circle under America’s first black President?

Florida has a history of tragic events following the death of Blacks. Some have lead to riots. The City of Miami, in1980, saw blacks riot there and again in January 1989 and October 1995. The cause of the riots by local Blacks were against alleged cases of police brutality by the Miami Police Department and competition with Cubans, Haitians and other Latinos. Riots during 1991 in Overtown, Miami occurred in the heavily Black section against Cuban Americans, alike earlier riots there in 1982 and 1984. Finally, in 1995 citizens of St. Petersburg, Florida witnessed a riot caused by protests against racial profiling and police brutality.

Are Saturday’s protests not unlike what Florida has experience before? Historical themes in Florida are: Hispanics vs. Blacks,  Blacks vs. the law and Blacks vs. profiling.

In each case the protests, some turning violent, are founded on the idea Blacks need special protection. Is this the resurgence of the “politics of retribution“? Former Detroit Mayor Coleman A. Young once characterized riots in the city as “Not riots, but ‘rebellion’.” Are we raising a new generation of Black demagogues like Young?

Tamar Jacoby, author of Someone Else´s House: America’s Unfinished Struggle for Integration (1998), argues that since Martin Luther King, Jr., although blacks have made enormous economic, political, and social progress, a true sense of community has remained elusive.

Does the politics of retribution make our communities better or worse?

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Jesse Jackson: Florida is an “apartheid state” (Video)

Breitbart writes, “First the left tried to boycott Arizona over an immigration law whose substantive core was upheld by the Supreme Court. Now the left is trying to stir up hatred against Florida over the verdict in the Zimmerman trial, with Jesse Jackson likening Florida to apartheid South Africa in a CNN interview with Jake Tapper. Jackson blamed the fact that the prosecutors were white, and that there were no blacks on the jury, for the fact that Zimmerman was found not guilty in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin. By his logic, only white can judge whites, blacks can judge blacks, and so on–the opposite of…” Read more.

While Jackson was making his racially inflammatory comment Florida Governor Rick was calling for a day of prayer.

On July 18th Governor Rick Scott met with the leaders of a group of protestors at the Florida State Capitol. Governor Scott released the following statement following the meeting this evening:

“I asked to meet with the protestors this evening to personally hear their concerns following the jury’s verdict in the Zimmerman case. I expressed my own sympathies for the Martin family and all those affected by Trayvon’s death. Earlier this evening, I also spoke to Sybrina Fulton, Trayvon’s mother, to again give my condolences on the loss of her son and let her know that she and her family remain in our thoughts and prayers.

“Tonight, the protesters again asked that I call a special session of the Legislature to repeal Florida’s Stand Your Ground law. I told them that I agree with the Task Force on Citizen Safety and Protection, which concurred with the law. I also reminded them of their right to share their views with their state legislators and let them know their opinions on the law.

“I also told them that I plan to call for a Statewide Day of Prayer for Unity in Florida this Sunday, July 21st. We have a great state with wonderful, resilient people that rise to meet any challenge. While emotions run high, it is even more important that we join together to strengthen and support one another.”

Watch his comments via Breitbart here:

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Zimmerman Aftershock: NBC lawsuit, calls to investigate State Attorney Corey

The name George Zimmerman is sending aftershocks across the state of Florida and the nation.

Since his acquittal on all charges stemming from the self defense shooting of Martin many actions and counter actions are anticipated. Among them: the lawsuit against NBC for “yellow journalism” and calls to investigate Florida State Attorney Angela Corey‘s misleading affidavit of probable cause, which had not disclosed significant exculpatory details.

Both are interrelated and deal with telling the truth.

In the first instance NBC employees (recently fired) selectively edited the 911 call that aired.

The Washington Post’s Erik Wemple reports Zimmerman attorney James Beasley stated that he and his team were eager to resume the [NBC] suit, which had been put on hold due to the beginning of the criminal trial. With that out of the way, they now intend to proceed. “We’re going to start in earnest asap, we just have to get the stay lifted which is a ministerial act,” Beasley said via email. Beasley did acknowledge that while Zimmerman’s victory in his criminal trial could be helpful to this civil suit, it was not a guarantee that he would win his defamation case.

To understand NBC’s alleged “yellow journalism” perhaps the following quotes from from a former Monitor/NBC Radio reporter are useful. The comments were sent to WDW – FL by Don Blair, former Monitor/NBC Radio news commentator and Florida resident. Blair’s last broadcast for Monitor/NBC Radio was in 1989. Blair was responding to a column posted by WDW – FL and wrote in a series of exchanges referring to Zimmerman: “Probably that a cold blooded murderer has been set free.” … “Is he immune from a drive-by shooting?  I don’t think this man can look forward to a long…or longer life from here on out.  I will drink to his death…hopefully a painful one.” … “I’ll say it again.  I will drink a toast the day that miserable bastard is gunned down.” Similar comments were made by others on social media sites. One of the defense attorneys referred to the media as “mad scientists“. Some in the media “cry foul” on the verdict.

While Blair’s comments do not reflect on the current management or employees of NBC or its affiliates, there is a lesson to be gotten from his mind set regarding the Zimmerman case.

Florida State Attorney Angela Corey

The second issue are calls for an investigation of State Attorney Angela Corey for the misleading affidavit which lead to charge of second degree murder against Zimmerman.

Multiple emails to WDW – FL state, “Please write to Governor Scott and request that he immediately order a full and comprehensive investigation into the actions of State Attorney Angela Corey during the entire George Zimmerman arrest and trial.”

William A. Jacobson from Legal Insurrection reports:

In early April 2012, Florida State Attorney Angela Corey decided not to take the George Zimmerman case to a Grand Jury, opting for the filing of a Criminal Information which then was presented along with an Affidavit of Probable Cause.  The Court found probable cause for the charges.

It turned out, once pre-trial discovery was exchanged, that the affidavit upon which probable cause was found had not disclosed a lot of significant exculpatory details.  There was no mention of the significant injuries to Zimmerman, or of John Good’s eyewitness account that Martin was on top of Zimmerman hitting him Mixed Martial Arts style.  All the Affidavit said on the subject of the physical confrontation was that there was “a struggle.”

Read more.

Eliott C. McLaughlin from CNN reports:

The George Zimmerman investigation was hijacked “in a number of ways” by outside forces, said the former police chief of Sanford, Florida.

Bill Lee, who testified Monday in Zimmerman’s second-degree murder trial, told CNN’s George Howell in an exclusive interview that he felt pressure from city officials to arrest Zimmerman to placate the public rather than as a matter of justice.

“It was (relayed) to me that they just wanted an arrest. They didn’t care if it got dismissed later,” he said. “You don’t do that.”

Read more.

The shock waves from the Zimmerman acquittal are just now being felt. Stay tuned, it will be a bumpy ride.

RELATED VIDEO: Prosecutors address the media after the verdict. Corey states Zimmerman “profiled” Trayvon Martin. Listen carefully to the media questions and statements by Corey.

Zimmerman: Not Guilty

George Zimmerman, who put his faith in the legal system, is now vindicated.

The fundamental question in this case was: Does a person have a right to carry a gun and defend themselves when attacked?

Under Florida’s stand your ground laws they do. There are over 1 million Floridians with a concealed carry permit. The right to self defense is inalienable and codified in both the Florida and the US Constitutions as a right to life. There are those who believe differently. That is what this was case all about. The law has prevailed.

CNN reports, ” George Zimmerman never denied shooting Trayvon Martin, but he said he did so in self defense. Late Saturday night, a Florida jury [made up of six women] found him not guilty in the teenager’s death. The verdict caps a case that has inflamed passions for well over a year, much of it focused on race and gun rights. The six jurors — all of them women — deliberated for 16½ hours. Five of the women are white; one is a minority.” Racism entered the equation for political reasons, not legal ones. Florida’s stand your ground laws are clear. Zimmerman should never have been arrested or charged.

Below are Florida’s stand your ground statutes:

776.012 Use of force in defense of person.

A person is justified in using force, except deadly force, against another when and to the extent that the person reasonably believes that such conduct is necessary to defend himself or herself or another against the other’s imminent use of unlawful force. However, a person is justified in the use of deadly force and does not have a duty to retreat if:

(1) He or she reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony; or(2) Under those circumstances permitted pursuant to s. 776.013.

776.013 Home protection; use of deadly force; presumption of fear of death or great bodily harm.

(1) A person is presumed to have held a reasonable fear of imminent peril of death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another when using defensive force that is intended or likely to cause death or great bodily harm to another if:

(a) The person against whom the defensive force was used was in the process of unlawfully and forcefully entering, or had unlawfully and forcibly entered, a dwelling, residence, or occupied vehicle, or if that person had removed or was attempting to remove another against that person’s will from the dwelling, residence, or occupied vehicle; and

(b) The person who uses defensive force knew or had reason to believe that an unlawful and forcible entry or unlawful and forcible act was occurring or had occurred.

(2) The presumption set forth in subsection (1) does not apply if:

(a) The person against whom the defensive force is used has the right to be in or is a lawful resident of the dwelling, residence, or vehicle, such as an owner, lessee, or titleholder, and there is not an injunction for protection from domestic violence or a written pretrial supervision order of no contact against that person; or

(b) The person or persons sought to be removed is a child or grandchild, or is otherwise in the lawful custody or under the lawful guardianship of, the person against whom the defensive force is used; or

(c) The person who uses defensive force is engaged in an unlawful activity or is using the dwelling, residence, or occupied vehicle to further an unlawful activity; or

(d) The person against whom the defensive force is used is a law enforcement officer, as defined in s. 943.10(14), who enters or attempts to enter a dwelling, residence, or vehicle in the performance of his or her official duties and the officer identified himself or herself in accordance with any applicable law or the person using force knew or reasonably should have known that the person entering or attempting to enter was a law enforcement officer.

(3) A person who is not engaged in an unlawful activity and who is attacked in any other place where he or she has a right to be has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly force if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.

(4) A person who unlawfully and by force enters or attempts to enter a person’s dwelling, residence, or occupied vehicle is presumed to be doing so with the intent to commit an unlawful act involving force or violence.

(5) As used in this section, the term:

(a) “Dwelling” means a building or conveyance of any kind, including any attached porch, whether the building or conveyance is temporary or permanent, mobile or immobile, which has a roof over it, including a tent, and is designed to be occupied by people lodging therein at night.

(b) “Residence” means a dwelling in which a person resides either temporarily or permanently or is visiting as an invited guest.

(c) “Vehicle” means a conveyance of any kind, whether or not motorized, which is designed to transport people or property.

776.032 Immunity from criminal prosecution and civil action for justifiable use of force.

(1) A person who uses force as permitted in s. 776.012, s. 776.013, or s. 776.031 is justified in using such force and is immune from criminal prosecution and civil action for the use of such force, unless the person against whom force was used is a law enforcement officer, as defined in s. 943.10(14), who was acting in the performance of his or her official duties and the officer identified himself or herself in accordance with any applicable law or the person using force knew or reasonably should have known that the person was a law enforcement officer. As used in this subsection, the term “criminal prosecution” includes arresting, detaining in custody, and charging or prosecuting the defendant.

(2) A law enforcement agency may use standard procedures for investigating the use of force as described in subsection (1), but the agency may not arrest the person for using force unless it determines that there is probable cause that the force that was used was unlawful.

(3) The court shall award reasonable attorney’s fees, court costs, compensation for loss of income, and all expenses incurred by the defendant in defense of any civil action brought by a plaintiff if the court finds that the defendant is immune from prosecution as provided in subsection (1).

776.041 Use of force by aggressor.

The justification described in the preceding sections of this chapter is not available to a person who:

(1) Is attempting to commit, committing, or escaping after the commission of, a forcible felony; or

(2) Initially provokes the use of force against himself or herself, unless:

(a) Such force is so great that the person reasonably believes that he or she is in imminent danger of death or great bodily harm and that he or she has exhausted every reasonable means to escape such danger other than the use of force which is likely to cause death or great bodily harm to the assailant; or

(b) In good faith, the person withdraws from physical contact with the assailant and indicates clearly to the assailant that he or she desires to withdraw and terminate the use of force, but the assailant continues or resumes the use of force.

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Florida Firearm Owners’ Privacy Act Under Judicial Review

On June 29, 2012 a federal district court in Florida blocked enforcement of several provisions of the state’s Firearm Owners’ Privacy Act, resulting from the case Wollschlaeger v. Governor State of Florida.

The 2011 law was enacted to stop activist doctors from pushing an anti-gun agenda upon the residents of Florida by unnecessarily inquiring about patients’ gun ownership, and to protect patients’ privacy by making sure doctors cannot record gun ownership information in a patient’s medical file. Under the law, medical professionals and insurance companies are also not allowed to discriminate against patients based upon gun ownership. The law also makes clear that patients have a right to refuse to answer health practitioners’ questions about gun ownership. The legislation was inspired by the experiences gun owners have faced while receiving medical treatment from anti-gun doctors.

According to the NRA, “The law is not an outright ban on doctor-patient speech, as has been portrayed in the media. It provides clear exceptions for gun ownership information that is ‘relevant to the patient’s medical care or safety,’ and for medical personnel to inquire about gun ownership or possession in an emergency. It also does not stop interested patients from inquiring with their physician about firearms.”

Following the ruling, the only protections remaining are the recognition that a patient may refuse to give gun ownership information to a medical professional, and the ban on insurers discriminating against gun owners.

In her opinion, Judge Marcia C. Cooke held that the law is a content-based restriction on speech that violates the First Amendment, rejecting arguments that the act was a “permissible regulation of professional speech or occupational conduct.” She rejected Florida’s argument that the law is valid because of the state’s interest in protecting the right to keep and bear arms, stating that the argument was a “legislative illusion” and that patients’ rights wouldn’t be adversely affected in absence of the law. Also dismissed is Florida’s argument that the State has an interest in removing “barriers to the receipt of medical care arising from discrimination or harassment based on firearm ownership.” Despite numerous accounts of patients facing hardships due to owning firearms, Judge Cooke shuns these cases as anecdotal.

On July 31, Florida Governor Rick Scott announced the State’s intention to appeal the case to the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit, noting, “This law was carefully crafted to respect the First Amendment while ensuring a patient’s constitutional right to own or possess a firearm without discrimination.”

Since July, the case has been taken up by the 11th Circuit and briefs have been filed by both sides. On October 1, the NRA filed a “friend of the court” brief in defense of the statute. In the brief, lawyers for the NRA explain that the legislation “simply recommends that practitioners ‘should refrain’ from asking questions about firearms unless related to medical care or safety,” noting that the act targets “discrimination and harassment, not speech.” The brief goes on to contend that even if the statute were to pose a remote restriction on free speech, it is well within the state’s authority as it “regulates speech only as part of the practice of medicine.”

Oral arguments are likely to be heard before the court later this summer.

Attacking the false narrative of gun control (+ Video)

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Some politicians continue their attacks on one of the minor instruments used in murders, guns, rather than deal with the “why” of the crimes committed against humanity.

Glenn Beck in his book Control: Exposing the Truth about Guns writes, “The evidence is indisputable that what is different in society now isn’t guns; its the person, the culture, and the cavalier way we treat violence.” Beck notes that “[G]un-related mass killings are, thankfully, still incredibly rare.” Beck points out, “Fifty-five people were killed by New York City subway trains in 2012…” Is anyone talking about banning subway trains, of course not.

The below video addresses the why, something that many do not want to do. Bill Whittle, playing the “virtual President” speaks about why politicians want to talk about gun control rather than crime control, and delivers the factual evidence and historical truths that make the case for the Second Amendment self-evident.

Beck makes the same key point in his book. Historically, when  gun control was, and today is, debated what matters is the how and not the why. To make any difference society must face the realities of insanity, murder and mayhem. Laws are in place to deal with them. Florida has a three strikes law. Three-strikes laws are statutes enacted by state governments in the United States which mandate state courts to impose harsher sentences on habitual offenders who are convicted of three or more serious criminal offenses. In most jurisdictions, only crimes at the felony level qualify as serious offenses. Twenty-four states have some form of habitual offender law.

Is it now time to focus on the human conditions that lead to violence, crime and mayhem? That is the key question.

Beck concludes by writing, “There are plenty of radical things we can do – and many of them have already been proposed – that will make no real difference. For some people, that’s okay. They would rather achieve a political goal or “do something” bold so they can sleep better at night, even if it means the underlying problem never gets solved.”

Are you one of those people?

New study on first-time gun buyers released

NEWTOWN, Conn. — A study commissioned by the National Shooting Sports Foundation® reveals that first-time gun buyers are largely active in one or more shooting activities and that women are motivated to purchase their first firearm predominantly for personal defense.

NSSF is the trade association for the firearms, ammunition, hunting and shooting sports industry.

The study, “NSSF Report: First-Time Gun Buyer,” was done to help determine the motivations for the first firearm purchase and how these firearms are being used. The online research was conducted in March — April 2013 and involved consumers aged 22 to 65 who bought their first firearm during 2012. InfoManiacs Inc., conducted the research.

Key findings include :

  • The majority of first-time buyers (60.3 percent) tend to be active, using their gun once per month or more, with one in five reporting usage of once a week or more.
  • Target shooting is by far the most popular shooting activity among first-time gun owners, with 84.3 percent of respondents saying they used their firearms for this purpose, followed by hunting (37.7 percent) and plinking (27.4 percent). Practical pistol shooting (17.3 percent) and clay-target shooting (14.6 percent) were shooting sports also enjoyed by first-time buyers.
  • First-time gun owners who have participated in hunting (53.2 percent), practical pistol shooting (46.3 percent), clay-target sports (44.0 percent) and gun collecting (42.4 percent) said they want to increase their participation in these activities.

The top-ranking factors driving first-time gun purchases are home defense (87.3 percent), self-defense (76.5 percent) and the desire to share shooting activities with family and friends (73.2 percent). Women, in particular, are highly focused on personal defense and self-sufficiency.

Older first-time buyers–the 55 to 65 age group–indicated concern that firearms may no longer be available to them was one of many reasons for their purchase.

Most first-time buyers purchased their guns through local gun shops (43.6 percent) and mass retailers such as Walmart and Cabela’s (33.6 percent). First-time gun buyers spent an average of $515 for their first gun and nearly as much as for accessories ($504). Nearly a quarter of first-time buyers bought at least one more firearm within the first year after their first purchase spending more, on average, on the later purchase.

This report is exclusive to NSSF members and can accessed by logging in at www.nssf.org/members and selecting NSSF Industry Research. For additional information pertaining to NSSF industry research please visit www.nssf.org/research or contact NSSF Director Industry Research and Analysis Jim Curcuruto at jcucuruto@nssf.org.

About NSSF®

The National Shooting Sports Foundation® is the trade association for the firearms industry. Its mission is to promote, protect and preserve hunting and the shooting sports. Formed in 1961, NSSF has a membership of more than 8,000 manufacturers, distributors, firearms retailers, shooting ranges, sportsmen’s organizations and publishers. For more information, log on to www.nssf.org.

Time to teach our children how to safely use guns? (+ Video)

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NEWTOWN, Conn. — The National Shooting Sports Foundation® has launched its annual nationwide offer to schools nationwide to receive–free of charge–educational videos that teach children about firearm safety and wildlife conservation.

NSSF, the trade association for the firearms, ammunition, hunting and shooting sports industry, has been a leader in firearm safety and conservation education for decades.

The firearm safety videos teach students how to react if they should encounter a firearm in an unsupervised situation. The conservation titles educate students on how wildlife and wild lands are protected, and how hunters support this effort with contributions amounting to more than $1 billion annually.

WDW asked Florida Rep. Ray Pilon if he agrees that we should teach our children about gun safety in our schools. Pilon responded in an email, “No I do not approve. When I learned to shoot as a teenager it was a competition .22 rifle class conducted by a certified instructor who also taught gun safety for hunting, which my family was involved in as I was growing up. We have much better and more important things to teach in the classroom.” Pilon was a co-sponsor of the anti-Second Amendment legislation passed during the 2013 session. Pilon sits on the Judiciary Committee of the Florida House.

NSSF believes all teachers and their students, whether in public, private or home schools, can benefit from the important messages in the videos, which are contained on two DVDs. Both the Firearm Safety DVD and Conservation DVD can be ordered online. Each of the individual video titles can be previewed online.

The Firearm Safety DVD offers “McGruff the Crime Dog on Gun Safety” for students in kindergarten through grade 6, “It’s Your Call: Playing It Safe Around GunsSM” for students in grades 6 through 9 and “Firearms Safety Depends on YouSM,” which covers the ten rules of gun safety and is for audiences of all ages. The first two titles help teach students how to respond if should they encounter a firearm in an unsupervised situation at school, at home or at a friend’s home.

The Conservation DVD contains “Wildlife for Tomorrow®,” which is designed for students in grades 4 through 7, and two other videos, “The Unendangered Species®” and “What They Say About HuntingSM,” which are for students in grades 7 through 12. “Wildlife for Tomorrow” and “The Unendangered Species” tell the story of how game animals such as the wild turkey, white-tailed deer and Rocky Mountain elk were once endangered and have been restored to abundance. “What They Say About Hunting” takes a close look at hunting and its relevance today through a pro-and-con debate.

Teachers in more than 100,000 schools nationwide have shown these videos to students in their classrooms and praised them for handling the topics with sensitivity.

Preview the free videos online at by clicking here.