Florida’s ‘Stand Your Ground’ Law:
It Ain’t What the Bradys Say It Is
Most readers of this website will not be surprised that some anti-gun advocates have serious difficulties with facts, truth, logic and the derivatives thereof. Still, Brady bunch* attacks on Florida’s new self-defense law, which took effect on October 1, are so viciously misleading as to eliminate any credibility the group has or ever again will have, even among the more responsible of their own kind. Given the brevity and simplicity of the law, so clearly distorted by the Bradys, the cynical calculation of the group has to be that no one will actually read it.
On its website, in newspaper ads and in flyers handed out in Florida airports to inbound tourists, the Bradys repeatedly label the law as the “Shoot First” law and warn visitors not to argue with, shout at or make threatening gestures to “local people.” A Florida map is made to resemble a handgun. There’s more misrepresentative, hyperbolic scare-mongering.
The Florida law is not a gun law. Period. It contains zero references to guns or shooting, unless you feel propagandistically compelled to count one of those ubiquitous legislative “Whereases” that references the Florida Constitution’s “right of the people to bear arms…”
The Florida law is a self-defense, self-protection law. It has four key components:
Florida’s law, like countless others from legislative sausage grinders, could have been better drafted. It unquestionably will be challenged in court, over and over again, by those who abhor even the concept of applied individual self-defense or by legal gadflies with nothing better to do with their time.
It is a tough law — on those with criminal intent. As is often the case, its ultimate goal is as much to deter as to be used. Whether it ever results in much change remains to be seen. But by removing ambiguities regarding legal responses to imminent threats to life and property and removing an obligation to retreat, the law attempts to rebalance justice on behalf of innocent, law-abiding Floridians, as well as the state’s numerous law-abiding visitors, specifically included. Whether those visitors are comforted or frightened by the law should be based on accurately understanding it, not blatant attempts by a faltering advocacy group to harm Florida tourism.
* The group is one of those with a propagandistic official name which we cantankerously won’t repeat.