Florida lawmaker wants to dismantle 'Stand Your Ground' law

Florida state Sen. Shevrin Jones wants to restore "duty to retreat" before deadly force can be used.

There is nothing quite like a gunfight — nothing.

They happen so fast it almost seems like they’re over before they’ve even begun.

You don’t have a lot of time for analysis and decision making.

Your body punches out a massive jolt of adrenaline, which you have to manage while you’re reacting to the threat.

Good muscle memory and training are key to your survival, but even well trained shooters make mistakes, which can prove fatal.

That’s why I’m a big proponent of Stand Your Ground laws.

If there’s a threat to your life or the life of another, you can react immediately with the force needed to stop the threat.

You don’t have to screw around.

No mental gymnastics are required.

Before Stand Your Ground laws were enacted, the victim bore a horrible burden — a “duty to retreat.”

This meant that if you and your spouse were confronted by an armed assailant, you had a duty to run to safety rather than instantly stopping the threat with deadly force.

Imagine that — trying to push your spouse out of harm’s way while you’re retreating, while there’s a pistol pointed at the both of you, while you’re praying not to get shot in the back.

It was, unfortunately, a recipe for disaster.

The Stand Your Ground laws changed all that.

They’re good, needed legislation, but I’ve never seen anything so misinterpreted by anti-gunners. Every legislative session the nincompoops push bills to weaken these laws, and the next session is no exception.

Florida state Sen. Shevrin Jones has already introduced SB 1052: Use or Threatened Use of Force, which would restore the duty to retreat, kind of.

Jones’ bill prohibits “persons from using deadly force in accordance with specified provisions of law if such persons know that they can avoid the necessity of using deadly force with complete safety by retreating.”

Let’s return to our armed assailant scenario — the one who’s pointing a gun at you and your spouse. If Jones’ bill becomes law — and that’s very unlikely because it’s nonsense — you would have to quickly determine if you and your spouse could make a clean getaway without getting shot before you would be legally allowed to shoot the bad guy.

That’s a lot of mental gymnastics to force on anyone — especially when there’s a pistol pointed at them.

However, the worst part of the bill is that it would open the door for a jury to determine — months or years later — whether you knew you could have safely retreated instead of using deadly force. If they so find, you’ll likely be charged with murder.

As you can imagine, Jones’ bill is already receiving a lot of top cover from local journalists and other self-anointed tactical experts.

Caroline Light, a columnist at the Tampa Bay Times wrote: “We cannot bring back the loved ones killed by vigilantism disguised as ‘self-defense’ under the purview of Florida’s stand your ground law. But 16 years later, we can at least restore the duty to retreat when a person can safely withdraw from a threat.”

I’m guessing that neither Ms. Light nor Senator Jones have ever been in a gunfight.

If they had, they’d understand that gunfights happen at the speed of life.

They’re not like a chess match. You don’t have a lot of time to plot your next move.

As always, thanks for your time.

Lee