NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


October 19, 2005

Anti-gun advocates are picking on the state of Florida for recently passing a law giving citizens more legal protection when they use deadly force for self-defense. But these critics are just trying to scare people, says columnist Steve Chapman.

When Florida passed a law in 1987 making it easier for citizens to carry concealed weapons, opponents predicted the streets would run red with blood. But such has not been the case, says Chapman:

  • Since the law was passed, Florida's murder rate has dropped by half.
  • People have carried guns responsibly; of the 1 million permits granted in 18 years, only 155 people have had their licenses revoked, which amounts to only one for every 7,000 permits issued.

The new law, which took effect October 1, permits citizens to use deadly force if facing "imminent death or great bodily harm." But contrary to what gun-control advocates believe, the law doesn't allow a person to shoot simply because they are annoyed by another person. It permits deadly force only if the person is attacked or threatened with violence, or the person has good reason to fear being killed or badly hurt.

Criminologist Don Kates says that the Sunshine State's new law is nothing new. "The majority of American states have always held that a person who is attacked anywhere in a manner that threatens death or great bodily harm is entitled to use deadly force to resist, rather than retreating from the attacker."

Source: Steve Chapman, "Safer with Guns: Critics of Florida Law are just Trying to Scare People," Dallas Morning News, October 17, 2005.


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