While defense attorney Cory Strolla uses language from the Stand Your Ground law to move along what he hopes will be the acquittal of client Michael Dunn, the controversial legislation is about to see a major change.
Thanks to lobbying from the National Rifle Association, a state Senate panel considered a bill this week to expand Florida’s already expansive self-defense law. The move comes just as a jury deliberates on whether or not Dunn should be convicted of first-degree murder for the killing of unarmed teenager, Jordan Davis.
According to Think Progress:
The new bill has been dubbed a “warning shot” bill, and now a “threatened force” bill, and it would extend Stand Your Ground-like immunity from both criminal and civil charges to those who point a gun at an attacker or fire a gun as a self-defense threat or warning. The provision easily cleared a House committee in November, and went before the Senate Judiciary Committee Tuesday morning.
In anticipation of the vote, the Sarasota Herald-Tribune’s “The Gun Writer” blog posted an item Tuesday that, verbatim, published a National Rifle Association press release on the bill and accompanying op-ed. The National Rifle Association and Republicans backing the bill are capitalizing on provisions that roll back the state’s mandatory minimum sentencing scheme, known as “10-20-life” to garner support. “People make mistakes and do irrational things when in fear of death or injury. That doesn’t mean they should go to prison for 20 years when there was no injury or harm done,” reads the re-posted op-ed by past NRA President Marion P. Hammer.
If you recall, Florida’s Stand Your Ground law grants immunity from both criminal and civil charges to those who use deadly force anywhere they have a legal right to be without any duty to first attempt retreat, if they can show that they had a reasonable fear of imminent bodily harm or death.
In Florida alone, 26 children or teenagers have been killed under the law.
In Dunn’s case, the defense had to convince the jury that Dunn’s life was in danger and that there was a possible weapon in the vehicle Jordan was a passenger in. Police, however, never found a weapon.
A verdict is expected to be reached on Thursday or Friday. We’ll keep you updated with the latest.
SOURCE: Think Progress | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty