Stand Your Ground Law Now Includes Warning Shots

     Florida’s controversial “Stand Your Ground” law has now been extended to include Floridians who fire warning shots or threaten to use a gun in self-defense.
   The bill, recently signed into law by Gov. Rick Scott, was partially inspired by Marissa Alexander, the 33-year-old Jacksonville woman facing a retrial for firing an alleged warning shot at her abusive husband during a dispute. A number of activists have called the case into question, arguing that Alexander, an African-American woman, would not have been charged if she were white.
   “We learned today that Governor Rick Scott has signed the corrective Stand Your Ground Bill, which was advanced by the legislature as a result of concern about Marissa’s case among others,” read the statement from Alexander’s defense team. “We are of course grateful for the governor’s actions.”
   Alexander’s initial 20-year sentence was overturned by an appellate court in September 2013. Her next trial was pushed from July 28 to Dec. 1 to await action from Gov. Rick Scott regarding the bill.
   This update might or might not impact Alexander’s case. While Alexander’s defense team says the legislation was partially inspired by her and could apply, prosecutors have argued that the bill cannot be applied retroactively.
   “The new law, as it stands now, allows you to claim immunity from prosecution if you used or threatened deadly force,” Attorney Anthony Rickman told WTVT. “The problem was that under Florida’s Stand Your Ground laws, as it was originally, it only allowed you to use that defense if you used actual deadly force.”
   Some gun owners have concerns that the law will allow people to pull out their guns and start shooting whenever they feel threatened.
“Bullets have to go somewhere,” Jason Collazo told WTVT. “It’s going to endanger people whether they’re firing into the air, into the ground, at a tree, they don’t know if that surface is going to ricochet, so it’s just not well thought out.”

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