Gunning for Passage

By: Mike Vasilinda
By: Mike Vasilinda

Florida law requires people to retreat from fights and other dangerous situations, but legislation being pushed by the National Rifle Association says people will no longer have to go the other way.

The bill sparked some of the most heated debate of the legislative session, with opponents saying it will open Pandora’s Box.

Rep. Arthenia Joyner, (D) Tampa, says, "Inside the box will be death for some person."

Rep. Irv Slosberg, (D) Boca Raton, adds, "So all it’s going to do is sell more guns."

But supporters fired back.

Rep. Dennis Baxley, (D) Ocala, says, "Some violent rate will not occur because somebody felt powered by this bill."

Two weeks ago, the legislation passed the Senate unanimously with this vote. About half a million people in Florida already have permits to carry a concealed weapons. Now, all but 20 members of the Legislature have voted to say that if they use that concealed weapon it will be harder to prosecute them.

Jeb Bush is expected to sign the bill. The National Rifle Association says it gives law-abiding citizens an even chance.

Marion Hammer of the National Rifle Association says, "Right now the law favors criminals. It tells law abiding people you have to run away from criminals. It tells law abiding people that you can be sued by criminals if you hurt them when they attack you."

Even with a carry permit, guns can't be taken into a bar or a sporting event. To get a concealed weapons permit in Florida, gun owners must pass a two-hour safety course and send an application and $117 to the state.

Felons are excluded, and so is anyone with a violent past or a history of drug or alcohol abuse.


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