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.