Could Florida Gun Law Bring Wild West To Region 8? - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Jonesboro, AR -- Heather Flanigan Reports

Could Florida Gun Law Bring Wild West To Region 8?

April 27, 2005 – Posted at 4:02 p.m. CDT JONESBORO, AR – A new Florida law gives gun owners in the Sunshine State much more leeway to use deadly force.

The measure passed Tuesday says Florida residents who feel threatened have the right to shoot to kill. Both Missouri and Arkansas already have concealed weapons laws, but could this be the next step?

Opponents say it used to be a jury who decided who was guilty in a shootout and with this new law in Florida; it could be a matter of who is a better shot.

“Anybody that takes it upon themselves to threaten with deadly force deserves whatever they get,” said Trent Rowe of Trent’s Rental Center.

It may be the adage of what goes around comes around. Region 8 supporters of the law believe it's a good idea.

“If your life is in danger, and you have no choice, you should have a right to defend yourself,” said Rowe.

Florida residents already have the right to legally defend themselves with deadly force in their homes. The bill will take place October 1st, and when that happens they will have the right to defend themselves in public spaces, including streets and even places of business.

“People have the right to defend themselves, but they also have a responsibility to avoid those situations if they can and to not put themselves in that position where they have to use deadly force,” said Captain Mike Coy of the Arkansas State Police.

Police officials are often in the same situation....drawing a fine line knowing when and when not to use deadly force.

“You can’t just use deadly force on any situation. Or just because you maybe feel like you might be in a bad situation is not grounds to use deadly force,” said Capt. Coy.

But both sides agree that it's a law that carries heavy responsibility.

“As long as a person is not threatening you. If they're leaving, if they are trying to get away, if they see you with a gun and they've got enough sense to run, I believe they should have an opportunity to get away. I don't believe that you should just blast someone because it's legal,” said Rowe.

Critics of the new law say it is going turn Florida into a tropical version of the Wild West. The National Rifle Association insists the law will be applied reasonably by reasonable people and they say now that it has passed in Florida, they intend to push to make it the law in every state in the nation.

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