Why Now?
Thursday, April 28, 2005
Back when Blogger was really having spasms I threw out a post called Florida Update that included a note that the Florida legislature had passed a gun fighting bill. John Ellis has signed it into law.

In most states you have the right to defend your house against intruders. It is the "a man's home is his castle" concept from Common Law. Other than that special case, you are expected to withdraw from a confrontation whenever possible. This new law says you don't have to back down and you can use deadly physical force if you feel threatened.

My Dad was in the military and I have been around guns all my life. When we lived in Germany, my Dad was required to have his weapon, a fully automatic M-2 carbine, in the car at all times in case of war. When I went in the military I became a Combat Crew Member, and carried a .38 caliber revolver when I had my classified with me. When I went into law enforcement I had a .357 magnum revolver and a 12-gauge shotgun around. I later traded the .357 for a .38 caliber Colt Detective revolver when I went into investigations.

I was trained and qualified with every one of those weapons, and the M-16 when I was in the war zone. This is deadly serious business. I would average 100 rounds a month on my own maintaining my proficiency and I had to qualify at the range every 6 months.

In the Air Force the revolver was carried with 4 rounds. The chamber under the hammer and the next chamber were empty to prevent accidents, and even in the war zone, if you were inside the wire at a base you turned in your M-16 to prevent accidents.

In law enforcement there was constant training on the rules for using your weapon, and that training emphasized when you didn't use it.

Anyone reading the newspapers knows that police officers don't always make the right decision, even with all of their training, and there's no need to go into the thousands killed by military use of force that was wrong. It is a given that the military and police make mistakes and people die. With that in mind, why does it make sense to allow people with no training to make life and death decisions on the street?

I know a firearms instructor who had walked into a bar after work just as two guys came out of the rest room with what turned out to be a pellet pistol and attempted to rob the bar. The instructor emptied a Browning High Power 9mm pistol, 14 rounds at two targets 20 feet away and missed. This guy would shoot 200 rounds a day into paper at 50 yards with a total spread of 3 inches, but in a real situation he didn't hit either man. In a comment I mentioned a bank shoot-out in which another officer and robber exchanged at least 18 rounds and the only people endangered were the tellers. These were revolvers and both parties reloaded while standing within "Dodge City" range of each other.

A police officer is required to look to see where his bullets will go if he/she misses, will a civilian do this? A police officer knows that a round can travel a mile, does a civilian? It's dangerous enough with the "professionals" using weapons on the streets, do you really want to trust your neighbors, especially those that really need to go to an "anger management" refresher?

If an armed civilian gets involved in a crime, they stand an excellent chance of being killed by the police officers who respond. Undercover police officers are shot at every year by other officers at crime scenes, and some of them are killed. Merchants chasing robbers have been killed by police officers. Two people, neither a police officer, homeowner, or business owner blazing away in a parking lot are going to be gunned down by responding officers, and the shooting will be justified as the two individuals are putting bystanders in danger of death.

If someone threatens you with deadly physical force, you have always had the right of self-defense. You can't always get away and it is reasonable to defend yourself, but changing the rules so that you no longer have to even consider withdrawal, is just stupid.

Police officers and prosecutors in Florida spoke out against this bill, to no avail. People are going to die needless deaths because of this bill and police officers are going to be sued because they couldn't tell that Billy Bob was defending his honor when he started blazing away and got shot by the first officer on the scene.

During this whole mess I have been trying to find the reason for this bill: where was the anecdote of the innocent person who was harmed because this bill didn't exist? I haven't found it. This thing was bought and paid for by the National Rifle Association.

Is this the "Culture of Life" these people are always talking about?


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