Brady Bunch. How low can they go?
Just when I thought they couldn't go any lower, they prove me wrong :mad:
Group opposed to new gun law targets tourists
Gun-control advocates will warn visitors to Florida that a new state self-defense law that starts Oct. 1 puts them in jeopardy. Gov. Jeb Bush's spokeswoman called the campaign `ridiculous.'
By MARY ELLEN KLAS
TALLAHASSEE - Enter Florida at your own risk. That's the message supporters of gun control are sending in an ad campaign designed to warn visitors about Florida's new law allowing victims to shoot first in self-defense without fear of prosecution.
The law, passed by the Florida Legislature in the spring and signed by Gov. Jeb Bush, takes effect Oct. 1. That's the day the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence will start its newspaper ad campaign in London, Chicago, Boston and Detroit and hand out fliers to arriving passengers at Miami International Airport.
The new law ''may lead to the reckless use of guns on the streets of Florida cities,'' the one-page flier reads. The ads will warn that after Oct. 1, visitors ''face a greater risk of bodily harm in Florida,'' said Peter Hamm, spokesman for the Washington-based advocacy group.
The fliers urge tourists to take precautions, such as: ''Do not argue unnecessarily with local people,'' and ''keep your hands in plain sight'' if you are involved in a traffic accident or a near-miss.
Under the law, which was passed at the urging of the National Rifle Association, Floridians may use deadly force against an attacker, even if they could have fled, and requires prosecutors to presume that they acted in self-defense.
''We are not trying to scare people, the Florida Legislature scared people,'' Hamm said.
The Brady Coalition is urging the Legislature to repeal the law, but short of that, ''we think people need to be aware of this new law,'' Hamm said. ``They need to act accordingly and they need to make their decision to come to Florida accordingly.''
The governor's office blasted the campaign as a gimmick to inflame public opinion with false information.
''We think this is ridiculous,'' said Alia Faraj, the governor's spokeswoman. ``Florida's crime rate has reached a 34-year low and the 80 million visitors who came to our state can attest to that. It's tragic that they would use gimmicks like that to scare people.''
The measure expanded Florida's ''castle doctrine'' law -- named after the philosophy that ''a man's home is his castle'' -- which holds that a person has a right to shoot first in self-defense in his home.
The previous law required anyone attacked in a public place to retreat first before using deadly force in self-defense, but the new law removed the obligation to flee. Gun-rights supporters say the change will serve as a stronger deterrent against crime.
Lawmakers adopted the proposal 94-20 in the Florida House, unanimously in the Senate and the governor signed it into law at a special ceremony with the NRA.
Some prosecutors warned the law would legalize duels, by allowing bar fights and neighborhood squabbles to escalate into gunfights. Other law-enforcement officials supported the measure, saying it did little to alter the practical effect of existing law.
The NRA exported the measure to others states as model legislation. A bill with identical language is now pending before the Michigan legislature, and Brady's group is determined to halt its progress.
The group's main concern is that the law will be abused to defend people who shoot in the emotional rage that often accompanies domestic violence, when people are under the influence of alcohol or during incidents of road rage, Hamm said. He said the law has already been used as a defense in at least one case -- a Sarasota man who shot a driver he thought had slashed his tires -- and is likely to be used again.
''We want to start a genuine conversation about repealing this law and the sooner the better because, unfortunately, there will probably have to be some unnecessary violence before the Legislature takes notice,'' he said.
Miami Heral Link