Florida Senate passes 'warning shots' bill

The Senate kicked off Thursday's session and got right to it – voting early on a highly debated bill.

Already approved in the house, the senate took up HB 89 – Threatened Use of Force. The bill adds warning shots within the state's self-defense laws and amends the 10-20-Life policy.

"This bill addresses that issue," said Sen. Audrey Gibson of Jacksonville.

Several senators dissented, but overall the support for the measure was there and passed 32-7.

Senator Greg Evers, a republican from Pensacola, sponsored the senate version of the bill.

"The motivation was to see that folks that exercise their right of self-protection would not be sentenced to prison," Evers said.

Warning shots became a national conversation due to the Marissa Alexander case in Jacksonville. She was arrested and convicted of firing a warning shot at her estranged husband during a domestic dispute. She's now out of jail and faces a new trial.

"If the governor signs this bill before her next hearing, the judge will have discretion and could and probably should dismiss that case," said Marion Hammer, former president of the National Rifle Association.

The bill now goes to Governor Rick Scott's desk. If he signs it, it becomes effective immediately.


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