Mandatory background checks and restricted private sales in store for Florida gun owners, nationwide?

How do you get mandatory background checks on ALL firearms sales, including private sales without passing a background check law? You regulate the sales themselves. But like many firearms related proposed gun laws, this has nothing to do with reducing crime or saving lives. It is simply an emotionally driven do nothing law that will cost law-abiding citizens (they are the only ones that will follow it) money they should not have to spend.

Here is something I want you to think about while reading this article: What percentage of criminals who used firearms in crimes got their guns from private sales to include gun shows? I will answer that later on here.

After the Parkland School murders there was an outcry for ‘more gun control” from many groups. Even though the murderer in that case was already illegally possessing and using the firearm in a prohibited place and committing murder. A push for more laws, new laws was heard nationwide. This is called an emotional response to a non-existent problem. That’s right, looking to pass laws that would have zero effect on a mass murderer is basically doing something just to say they did something. So in Florida they raised the age for anyone to buy a long gun (rifle or shotgun) from 18 to 21. They banned bump-stocks (documented to have been used in one crime nationwide), created a “red flag” law to remove guns from citizens who have been accused of mental illness, and on a positive note, they created armed school safety officers.

Now even after doing all that Representative Margaret Good, (D) Sarasota, submitted on December 21st, 2018 a Bill (HB 135) in Florida that as described on the Florida House website: “Requires transfers of firearms when neither party is licensed dealer to be conducted through licensed dealer & requires processing by licensed dealer”. This bill wants to require any sale of a firearm to go through a federally licensed firearms dealer, requiring a background check processing, and a fee on top of the cost of the firearm itself. Anyone who would violate this would be committing a felony. So just exactly what problem does this address? What criminals are they trying to target by making all sales of firearms, even private ones, go through a firearms dealer and requiring a fee?

Back to my statement earlier that I wanted you to think about while reading this: “What percentage of criminals who used firearms in crimes got their guns from private sales to include gun shows?” The Bureau of Justice Statistics Survey of Inmates in State and Federal Correctional Facilities, 1997-2004” found that 0.8% (that’s less than one percent) of criminals bought their firearms at a gun show. Also they found that about 12% bought or traded for the firearm with a family member or friend. Just how would this new proposed law stop that from happening? Who in their right mind thinks for one minute that a criminal that wants to acquire a firearm will go through any kind of sale that requires a background check? Anyone that thinks that is just kidding themselves. What that same survey found was that in over 77% of the cases the criminals obtained their firearms illegally anyway. And this new law is supposed to stop that?

This is the problem with the “gunsense” or “guncontrolnow” movements. They continually try and pass more and more laws restricting the rights of law abiding citizens to purchase, possess and carry firearms, since they are the only ones that will follow any new laws. Criminals as the name implies do not follow laws. We outlawed many drugs and just see how well that has stopped the illegal drug trade right?

I alluded earlier that the firearms crisis is not really a crisis. Many who have been fed the sensationalized headlines of the anti-right mainstream media will become apoplectic at this statement. But all one has to do is look at the facts (numbers) to see it. According to the FBI’s annual report “2017 Crime in the United States” murders with a firearm declined 1.4% from 2016 to 2017. This includes a 2.4% decrease in murders using a handgun. The NRA-ILA ran the numbers and found “Murders involving a rifle of any kind increased 6.6% due to the horrific attacks in Las Vegas and Sutherland Springs. Outside of those two attacks, the number of rifle murders decreased 15.9%. The number of people killed with their attacker’s fists, hands, or feet increased 4%. There were 696 people killed in such a manner – more than 72% more than killed with a rifle of any kind.” Yes you read that correctly, more people are killed by hands and feet than by rifles in any given year. Looking over a preliminary study of 2018 crime numbers from police departments in the 30 largest U.S. cities projected the 2018 murder rate to be 7.6% lower than the 2017 rate. That’s right down not up, you would never believe that given the way the news media feeds the hysteria nationally.

What about other violent crimes where guns may be used? Robbery decreased from 332,797 in 2016 to 319,356 in 2017. Down 4% overall. Robberies that used a firearm were down 5.4%.

So just what are these background check, gun storage, sales, age restrictions, banning of certain firearms supposed to accomplish? Murder and firearms victimizations are already much lower than 25 years ago, by >45%, in the number of murders nationwide. We already have over 30,000 gun laws on the books, not to mention laws against firearms being on school grounds, federal laws against certain people possessing firearms, and of course not to be forgotten that MURDER is already illegal and carries some of the stiffest penalties in the nation (as it should).

So I challenge anyone that supports more gun laws or restrictions on citizens possessing firearms. Please explain in simple language just how any of these new laws will stop a murderer bent on killing someone. Taking away guns will not work, they will just get them on the black market and remove the ability of law abiding citizens from being able to defend themselves from these criminals. I contend that any more restrictions on firearms ownership and possession will only result in more victims. Why and how you ask? Because you will be removing the firearms from those that follow the law, not break it, making them unarmed helpless victims to those who care less what laws you make.

So what should we do you ask? I say allow law abiding citizens to carry lawful firearms at places that are now designated “gun free zones” since they really are only “law abiding citizen self-defense restricted areas” now anyway. Murderers call these areas “target rich” environments. We have seen how well those areas stop attacks and murderers. Stop putting more restrictions on those who follow the law. Enhance penalties on crimes already on the books committed with a firearm, maybe actually prosecute those who break the federal firearms laws already on the books. Better mental health treatment and evaluation for those that need it. Hold people responsible for their actions, including kids and young adults. Hold criminals accountable, hold parents responsible for their kids. Enough is enough. Stop blaming things that have no bearing on the results. Freedom is not pretty or safe, it’s actually not supposed to be, it’s supposed to make you appreciate when you have it, and yearn for it when you don’t.


AFT rules “bump stocks” are now “machine guns” and illegal to own.

So it has started. The Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker announced yesterday that the Department of Justice has amended the regulations of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), stating that bump stocks fall within the definition of “machinegun” under federal law.

What I find really sad is that the AG and group received 119,264 comments in support of the new rule and only 66,182 comments were received that opposed the rule. Of those that opposed it, over 40,000 were form letter submitted by National Association for Gun Rights (NAGR) on behalf of its members. A little over 25,000 submitted by individuals. That is just downright sad. That Americans who believe in the right to bear arms, and did not see this ruling for what it was, the first step in more to come, could not be bothered enough to send in a comment? All it takes for evil to flourish is for good people to do nothing.

Many that did comment made many valid points that the “Department” responded to. One of the most interesting that I read was the argument that if bump stocks are made illegal then other things that can accomplish the same type of firing of a firearm must be made illegal also, such as rubber bands, belt loops and even just trigger fingers. The Departments response was very interesting:

The Department has detailed in the NPRM and this rule the distinction between bump firing with a bump-stock-type device and using belt loops or rubber bands. Although a shooter using a belt loop, string, or other manual method utilizes recoil energy to bump fire, the shooter is responsible for constraining the firearm, maintaining the correct finger pressure, and regulating the force necessary to fire continuously. This is clearly distinguishable from a bump-stock-type device, as ATF has explained that such a device functions “as a self-acting and self-regulating force that channels the firearm’s recoil energy in a continuous back-and-forth cycle that allows the shooter to attain continuous firing after a single pull of the trigger so long as the trigger finger remains stationary on the device’s extension ledge.

Does that make any sense to anyone other than maybe the ATF?

So what will this new rule cost you? That’s right even if you don’t own a bump stock, it will cost you. Well, first there is the cost to the Government (You the taxpayer) as stated in the new rule “ATF estimates the total undiscounted cost of this rule at $312.1 million over 10 years.” So they are instituting a rule that very few if any will follow, and it will cost the taxpayers 312 MILLION dollars!

Then there is the not so small fact that the ATF estimates “the number of bump-stock-type devices held by the public could range from about 280,000 to about 520,000“. And they estimate the value of these at about $139,000,000. Meaning they are going to cost the public in personal property over 139 million! Now just how does the ATF propose that all of these new illegal devices be accounted for?

You see again we must look at simple history for things like this. NJ enacted a high capacity magazine ban about a year ago, and they called for owners of them to destroy them or turn them in or face becoming felons. Guess what happened? No one turned any in. Simply put it’s an unenforceable law that does nothing but make law abiding citizens into felons and accomplishes nothing for public safety. In other words a complete waste of time, money and effort. Typical for our government these days.

So to those who think that we should make felons out of more than 280-520,000 Americans because of the actions of one evil murderer, you just got your wish. But even though I do not own a bump stock myself (and would tell you anyway if I did) I think you are a bunch of idiots. If that is the rationale used then why did we not outlaw box cutters when they were improperly used to kill not hundreds but thousands? You can’t answer that so don’t even try, you will look foolish.

To those who do own a bump stock, the Government has deemed you unable to act like lawful Americans that you are, you are a criminal and felon 90 days from now. If you fail to destroy or turn in your bump stock, you are violating this new rule and federal laws. But then again, they have no idea you have it, they cannot come to your home and search it without cause and a warrant (we at least still have that right for now) and like in NJ, when no one turns any of these in, and no one destroys them (except for a few who probably got them second hand to do it for publicity) we will all see this new rule for what it was, the possible start of more restrictions and laws to make law-abiding firearms owners into criminals.

Have we just gotten closer to that “Crossroad” I was speaking of in my last article? I think so, and I think the anti-rights and government are driving us faster and faster in that direction.

You can read the new rule, the public comments (summarized) and related things here:

My Fellow Americans, have we come to a crossroad yet again?

We must take an honest look at where we are and where we may be heading in order to make sure that our country does not collapse around us, and become that very thing many Americans have fought and died so selflessly to prevent.

Many valiant Americans have fought both on American soil, in the formative years of our country, and during conflicts many thousands of miles away, to prevent the loss of the very freedoms that our country was founded to ensure for “we the people”. Shall we allow the very fabric of that to be torn and thrown to the winds to go where it may fall? I pray not.

I feel we are coming to a crossroads again in our country. We have come to these before, during the Revolution, during the Civil War, and during the wars that enveloped most of the world, and we have endured. All fought to preserve the United States in the form that would stand the test of time. All fought by brave Americans who believed that they were standing up for something bigger than themselves, something so important that their lives were put on hold, they traveled away from family, and some paid the ultimate sacrifice of their very lives. What could hold that type of meaning to an American?

I say to you that it is that very thing, FREEDOM, that is what they and many before and now hold so dear. We grasp at it, cherish it, and yearn for it because we know that without it, we are not truly Americans but may as well be part of the very countries subjects we fought to win our freedoms from.

True Americans believe reverently in those iconic words written by Thomas Jefferson so many years ago, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”. This was such an important part of why we became the country that we are they wrote those very words down when declaring their independence from others! We fought a war amongst ourselves, and hundreds of thousands of Americans died, fighting to make all men free and citizens. Racism has no place in America that I see. ALL are created equal, and all have the rights we share.

But the meaning of that word that was so important to our founders seems to be losing it’s meaning and it’s worth to many today. And therefore, we find ourselves at the crossroads today. What is freedom and what did it mean, and should it mean to us today? Should it mean anything different than it did to Jefferson, Adams, Washington and the rest? I say NO! It is no different now than before and, in the future, that none can see, it should be the same.

A citizen is free because they are just that a citizen. As those wise Americans said, EVERY citizen must be able to pursue life, liberty, and happiness. And as long as those things do not harm or restrict another’s same rights, it is then an individual thing, this freedom we have. This is where many today fail to see what freedom really meant then and should mean now.

Freedom is that choice of choosing between what is right and what is wrong. Choose wrongly and you may have consequences, some of which could be forever and affect you for the rest of your life. Who decides what is right and wrong? That is already set in the fabric of our founding documents, and our Basic principles as outlined in our Constitution.

Freedom was so important to our countries founders they codified it in our most precious of founding documents, the Constitution of the United States of America. They felt that freedoms all citizens should share were so important that they listed some that they did not even want the very government they were forming to be able to take away. This became known as the Bill of Rights. Many today have never even read this iconic document, yet they call for it to be changed because it is “outdated” or “does not apply” to today’s America. I say to them you are ignorant of the meaning of the document and its entire purpose. I say that you who think that way are not only wrong, but the very kind of threat that the authors were worried about rising up in this great nation and made that very document to stand against.

We have the freedom to choose. We have the freedom to decide our own fates. We have the “Bill of Rights”. No more should one desire to give up their rights than their very lives. As without those rights are our lives any better or for the worse? The founders wrote in the preamble to the Bill of rights these very telling words: “The Conventions of a number of the States, having at the time of their adopting the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added…” declaring that they wanted to make sure that the Government DID NOT restrict the very thing they were voting on and passed, the rights of the citizens.

So how have we drifted so far away from where we were to where we are today that one may strip the rights from this group or that? By the use of the courts and the controlling parties. America was meant to be a land of the free. A land where citizens ruled themselves and when they had common interest the Government could aid them not restrict them. The Government was established to help make the United States stronger, not more divided, to make the country wealthier not poorer. We have lost the vision of our founders.

I say to you that we are free Americans. We have basic rights that the Constitution does not create but were given to us at the beginning of time, and are PROTECTED by the Constitution. Lest we allow those rights to be given away and restricted by the very government we the people founded we must decide what road we take.

We must choose carefully. If we give up one right what is to stop the rest from falling along with it. Do we want a Government that is all powerful? One that can disregard the rights we have now and say enter you home whenever they wish? Maybe incarcerate you for a crime without a trial of your peers? How about seizing your property or land because they think that they are better stewards of it? And of course one that is hotly debated today, the right to defending yourself and your family and property from lawless criminals.

Do we become that country of the subjects to a government that is our provider of all or do we work to become that country that the citizens work to provide for themselves and have the right to become whatever they wish and can achieve? I say the later.

I will leave you with this. Freedom is never pretty or safe. It has always had its dangers and perils. Yet it is the very reason we are here where we are and in this wonderful country we are part of, the United States of America. My ancestors came here and fought to free this country. Some of them fought to maintain it, and in the future should it become necessary we must be willing to defend it again. Freedom is not safe, it should not be, it should be hard fought and cherished like the prize that it is.

God Bless you and keep you safe, may he watch over you and your family. God Bless the United States of America.

By Chris Wagoner

Those terrible death machines called “bump stocks”.

Well, I finally got to read the official Las Vegas Mass Murder report. It is 187 pages long and a lot of it is simple documentation of evidence and statement of things we already knew.

But a few interesting things came to light. Probably the most interesting being that it is documented that bump stocks were used in that shooting. Yes it has been documented that bump stocks were used in exactly 1 (one) crime in the entire United States, yet we have a national push to ban them and they have been in 11 states already. Think about that for a minute.

Here is a firearm accessory that when looked at in all honesty is nothing more than a novelty, a “fun” item to shoot with. It definitely is not used for accurate fire. Nor does any serious shooter use one for self-defense as it cuts the accuracy of your shot placement way down. If you know firearms and know how to shoot a rifle, you can fire very quickly (as fast as a bump stock if not faster), with far more accuracy without one.

The Las Vegas murderer used bump stocks on 12 of the 14 rifles that he fired before he killed himself. He fired over 1050 rounds. What became interesting and obvious to anyone with knowledge about firearms is that most of the rifles used had 100 round magazines and when he ran them dry (ran out of ammo) rather than reloading, he just switched rifles. Even though he had multiple loaded magazines ready to go. Also interesting was the fact that many of the rifles used had no optics or sights on them at all. What does that mean? He was not aiming at anyone but just spraying rounds at the crowd. Some of those he did have optics on had red dot style sights. Shooting one of those with a bump stock is not very accurate at all either. And at the distance he was from the crowd, would have been useless.

What does this lead one to think about the shooter and shooting? He was not very experienced with shooting the firearms he used. Had he been, well without giving copycats out there ideas, he could have done much more damage shooting differently. Let’s leave it at that. In fact, I will go out on a limb and say had he not used bump stocks he would have caused many more deaths or injuries as his accuracy would have been much greater.

Now before you go off on a tangent and think I am defending bump stocks, I am not. Personally, I think they are just a novelty item and serve no real purpose other than maybe being fun to waste ammo with. BUT I will say that I also do not support any bans of them. Especially based on the fact they have been used in just one (1) document case of murder. Again we must revisit the fact that it’s not the tool that is at fault it’s the person using the tool.

So why the bump stock bans and cry for a national ban? Because they need something to blame that they can target. It’s is to hard to target human behavior and it’s causes. The real problem in these cases. So let’s target something that really had nothing to do with the causation and may have actually contributed to fewer lives being lost. Let us blame the tool, not the user. Does that make any sense at all? I say no.

Let’s Try a Gun Control Experiment! Let’s Make These Laws…

Ok with the continued cry for stricter gun control and the call for the removal of assault weapons, adding magazine limits and more, let’s try those and a few more new laws as an experiment and see what happens to the murder rate! As a supporter of the 2nd Amendment and individual rights, I confess that we have to do something to help make people safer right? So let’s try what those calling themselves #gunsense or #guncontrol want.

Let’s start out by enacting laws that require the following:

  • universal background checks
  • gun registration requirements
  • Gun Violence Restraining Orders
  • a ten-day waiting period for gun purchases
  • an “assault weapons” ban
  • one-gun-per-month limit on handgun purchases
  • minimum age of 21 to purchase a firearm
  • ban carrying firearms on campuses
  • “good cause” restriction for concealed carry permit issuance
  • limit the buying of ammunition to state-approved vendors
  • gun free zones mandated for anywhere that sells alcohol

Those should be a good start right! If we can only enact all of those new laws we should be able to curtail and maybe even reduce the number of murders by a significant amount I hope. You see many are clamoring for “common sense gun control”, yet they fail to say just what that is. I have asked many a gun control supporter just what they want and they almost always look at me with a vacant look. Like they had not thought out just what they have been led to believe is the answer. To them, gun control of any kind is what they want. Anything that will help. So I suggest the above as a start to see what happens. (bear with me and read to the end)

I mean we have an “epidemic” of gun violence in the US right? That’s what the Doctors told me when I read their posts, tweets, and articles. We have a crisis of gun murders right? That’s what Mom’s Demand Action, Everytown, and Micheal Bloomberg have told us right? The media tells us all the time that we have a huge problem of gun violence in the US. We have a crisis/ epidemic of school shootings in the US now right? That’s what they have blasted all over the media and social networks. So something has to be done about all this right?

OK, so what if I told you a state has already enacted those laws that I listed above? And guess what happened? Well, the murder rate went up 18%. WHAT!?!? That is right, the state of California already has enacted those things (all of them) and the murder rate in that state went up 18%. How is that possible? We have been told over and over that restrictions and new laws will help curb the murder and shooting epidemic. I guess not.

And as for those claims of a national epidemic or crisis of firearms shootings, murders and school shootings being a crisis or epidemic, I had to look at the numbers just to see how bad it was. Imagine how surprised I was (not really) when I discovered that instead of increasing sharply or even being higher than in the past, murder and firearms victimizations have dropped dramatically over the last 25 years or so. And not by a few percentage points, but by more than 45% each! That’s right, according to the FBI Crime database (FBI Crime Statistics) murder and firearms victimization has dropped by almost half over the last 25 years. So what about our crisis and epidemic?

Now I do not profess to be a linguist or language scholar, but even I know that when something drops by almost half it is not anything close to an epidemic or crisis. In fact by anyone’s standards that would be called a very positive trend. So why are we being told it’s a crisis, epidemic or problem? Maybe because if it was known that it’s not, those people would have no basis for these restrictions and laws? So why don’t people point out these facts to those calling for these new laws and restrictions? We do, but of course are told we are lying, or making stuff up, even with the numbers available to all.

And what about the school shooting epidemic? We all can agree that is real right? Well, let us look at the numbers again. NPR (National Public Radio) not known to be a very conservative media outlet, published an article titled “The School Shootings That Weren’t“. In this very interesting article they say:

“This spring the U.S. Education Department reported that in the 2015-2016 school year, “nearly 240 schools … reported at least 1 incident involving a school-related shooting.” 

Now that is alarming! 240 school shootings in just one year. Anyone can agree that is terrible and should be investigated farther. So NPR did just that and looked into that further. And they reported, “We were able to confirm just 11 reported incidents, either directly with schools or through media reports.” They report that two-thirds of the reported school shootings reported by the DOE NEVER HAPPENED. Now that is just downright scary that the U.S. Department of Education would report things that are in such error. But they do. And it is picked up and run with by many who support any kind of firearms restrictions that it takes on a life of its own, even when it’s false. If it’s on the internet it has to be true right?

We hear it over and over that firearms are the problem. Murders, firearms victimization and other gun related things are a crisis. Why do we hear this when the numbers do not support these claims? Because the world has changed. The internet has made the ability to post and have spread around the nation or world in minutes any claim that anyone wants to make. Even if it’s not true. And many people today are just plain too lazy to do any research for themselves. They rely on others, even when those others may not have the facts, or may have an agenda, to tell them what they should think.

Here is a fun experiment to try. Find someone that wants to have stricter gun control laws or restrictions. Ask them simply why they want them. If they say because of all the murders or school shootings simply ask them how much have these things gone up over say the last 25 years or so. Ask them to tell you what the increase in numbers has been. When they can’t, simply ask them then why do you want restrictions? If they point to bogus made up numbers, point them to the FBI Violent Crime Statistics and ask them to again prove their claim. They can’t.

We live in the instant information age, even if that information may be misleading or worse, made up. Information takes on a life of its own and becomes fact because so many people read it and tweet it and post it, it must be true right? The answer? No.



2020 Florida Amendment Petition Drive to Ban “Assualt Weapons” Will do Nothing Except make Felons out of Law Abiding Citizens.

Recently a group calling themselves “Ban Assault Weapons Now” proposed a Florida Constitutional Amendment that bans assault weapons and requires registration be added to the 2020 Florida election ballot.

Now in order to put it on the ballot in 2020, they will have to get upwards of over 750,000 valid signatures on the petitions. Then they must get 60% of Florida voters to vote in favor of it. While we like to think that is unlikely, stranger things have happened. Just look at the recent elections and some of those elected like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and you will see just how far away from the middle of the road we have gone.

Looking into this lunacy further we find the definition that they want to use for “assault weapon”: “Assault Weapons – For purposes of this subsection, any semiautomatic rifle or shotgun capable of holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition at once, either in a fixed or detachable magazine, or any other ammunition feeding device. This subsection does not apply to handguns” 

Read that carefully. If you know anything about firearms this would apply to most semi-automatic rifles, even some shotguns. If that was not bad enough, what the “Limitations” states should make you cringe: “If a person had lawful possession of an assault weapon prior to the effective date of this subsection, the person’s possession of that assault weapon is not unlawful (1) during the first year after the effective date of this subsection, or (2), after the person has registered that weapon by make, model, and serial number with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement or its successor agency, as designated by the legislature. Registration records shall be available to local, state and federal law enforcement agencies for valid law enforcement purposes but shall otherwise be confidential.” So, in other words, they want to grandfather in already owned firearms, but you have to register them within one year.

So what is the punishment or penalty for not doing this? You become an instant FELON! Here are the penalties: “Criminal Penalties – Violation of this subsection is a third-degree felony. The legislature may designate greater, but not lesser, penalties for violations”. So if you fail to register your assault weapon within a year you are a felon. If you buy or take into your possession an assault weapon (by their definition) you are a felon.

So let us look at this logically. Just exactly what would this do to reduce the crime rate or shootings or mass shootings? Nothing. You see MURDER is already against the law. Taking a firearm onto school grounds is already illegal. Harming someone without a lawful reason is illegal. So the only thing this proposal will do is make felons out of hundreds of thousands if not millions of Floridians. There is NOT ONE SHRED OF EVIDENCE that this would reduce anything.

Then there is the little problem of resistance to this proposed amendment/ law. I for one will go on record saying that I will not comply with this if it becomes part of the constitution. You do not legislate through Constitutional Amendment, you make laws through the Florida House and Senate. The reason for that is to prevent exactly what this group is trying to do. Prevent the possibility of a majority taking away the rights of a minority. As James Madison once said: “The purpose of the Constitution is to restrict the majority’s ability to harm a minority”.

Florida has the highest number of concealed carry permit holders in the US. Currently, it is at 1,941,097 as of October 31st, 2018! While not all of those may be rifle owners, I would be willing to bet a good number are. These are people that have shown less propensity to commit a crime than even the police in Florida, yet they want to restrict them even more. In what reality does that make any sense?

So I guess I should close by going on the official record. As a 35+ year veteran law enforcement officer in Florida and U.S. Army veteran, I will not comply with this should it pass. I am sorry but there comes a time when the purpose of the 2nd Amendment becomes obvious, to protect the citizens from the over-reaching of the government they elected. They tried to take firearms from the citizens of the United States once before, it was in 1775, and we ended up shooting those that tired and kicking them out of the country. Think about that.

Here is a link to the petition.

Florida’s Justifiable Use of Force Laws…

OK, I think it’s time to educate the public on something that they have been so misled on in the media and from the anti-firearms, gun control, and other anti-rights groups.

With the recent shooting in Clearwater, the media and many others seem to be misquoting and misunderstanding Florida’s “Justifiable Use of Force” laws. So maybe a bit of simple education is in order.

First Florida does not have any law titled “Stand Your Ground Law” or “Castle Doctrine” law. Those are names given by the media and anti-self-defense legislators to a very simple, and for a law, easy to read law that governs when you can and cannot use force to defend yourself or another person. It also spells out when you can and cannot use force in defense of property and gives immunity from arrest and prosecution when self-defense is lawful. So, let’s break it down for everyone.

Florida’s self-defense law is Chapter 776 of the Florida statutes and is titled “Justifiable Use of Force”. The first subsection is “776.012 Use or threatened use of force in defense of person.” In subsection (1) it discusses when you can use physical force (but not deadly force) to defend yourself against another using illegal force against you.

“(1) A person is justified in using or threatening to use 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. A person who uses or threatens to use force in accordance with this subsection does not have a duty to retreat before using or threatening to use such force.”

It says that you can threaten to use (make verbal threats or raise and shake your fist for example) or use physical force against another when that person is using illegal physical force against you. And that you do not have to run away or try and flee before doing so. Pretty simple. But it specifically says you cannot use deadly force to do this. That comes next.

“(2) A person is justified in using or threatening to use deadly force if he or she reasonably believes that using or threatening to use 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. A person who uses or threatens to use deadly force in accordance with this subsection does not have a duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground if the person using or threatening to use the deadly force is not engaged in a criminal activity and is in a place where he or she has a right to be.”

Now subsection (2) spells out when you can threaten to use or use deadly force. And this is the whole thing that the recent shooting in Clearwater was viewed under. You can threaten or use deadly force (that includes shooting someone, stabbing them, even running them over with a car if that is all you can do) to stop or prevent someone else from killing you, causing you great bodily harm, or to stop or prevent the commission of a forcible felony. So let’s break those down. Killing you, I think most people understand that one, but what many do not know is that what does it take to kill you? Can being shoved hard to the ground kill you? Yes, it can. If you Google it you will find many examples of it already happening. And the law allows you to prevent this from happening if you think the criminal is about to try this, they do not have to already have tried and failed or try a second time.

While the term “great bodily harm” is not defined in Florida Statute it is in many cases citing’s taken as “face value” meaning that it is talking about an injury that causes great harm. Or more importantly “imminent” great bodily harm, meaning it does not have to already have occurred, you can use force to stop it from happening if you feel it is going to happen unless you do something.

The last part of that subsection is the forcible felony part. This is where the law spells out crimes that it considers so serious that you can use deadly force to stop them if they are being committed against you, or another person (person not property). Those forcible felonies must be committed against a person and are spelled out in:

776.08 Forcible felony.—“Forcible felony” means treason; murder; manslaughter; sexual battery; carjacking; home-invasion robbery; robbery; burglary; arson; kidnapping; aggravated assault; aggravated battery; aggravated stalking; aircraft piracy; unlawful throwing, placing, or discharging of a destructive device or bomb; and any other felony which involves the use or threat of physical force or violence against any individual.

If you are having any of those crimes committed against you, or another person, you may use the threat of, or actual deadly force to prevent them. The important part to remember is that those crimes must be committed against a person not just a piece of property. So the burglary listing must be a burglary of an occupied house, not an empty one. You can’t shoot someone for stealing property, although in some states you can!

In both subsections, the law states that you have a right to not flee your attacker as long as you are legally where you are allowed to be. That is the entire “stand your ground” part. As you see a very small part of the law itself.

So, in summary, you can use non-deadly force to stop a non-deadly attack on you. TASER’s, pepper-spray, and other devices are non-lethal and can be used. You may use deadly force ONLY if you fear that you are going to be seriously (great) injured or possibly killed by the attack. And you may use it to stop the attack once it has started or even to prevent it from happening, like someone threatening you with a knife and trying to rob you.

Next lesson will be on the law allowing the defense of your home. If you like this and find these lessons helpful, please leave a comment so I know they are useful to people to help them understand the practical application of Florida Law.

NOTE! Of course, I must state that I am not a lawyer, and this is not legal advice, but I have a fair amount of experience teaching this law to police officers (almost 28 years’ worth, and also using the law myself as a LEO for 35 years).