in Florida. It's not, but they'll call it that.
In fact, neither SB 448 nor HB 89 have any mention of “warning shots”
whatever. They are, in fact, really merely efforts to fix an apparent
glitch in Florida’s current self-defense law framework (hence their
A close reading of Florida’s various self-defense statutes — including
776.012 Defense of Persons, 776.013 Home Protection, and 776.031 Defense of Others, and 776.032 Immunity
— can result in the interpretation that they address only the actual
use of force against another, and not the mere threat of the use of such
This has resulted in cases where a person who has merely threatened
the use of force — e.g, displaying a defensive firearm to an attacker —
finds himself with less legal justification than if he had taken the
next step of actually using that force–e.g., shooting their attacker.
The seeming result would be to encourage the use of deadly force, even
in circumstances where the use of such force could have been avoided.
There have now been numerous Florida cases in which a
well-intentioned defender fired a “warning shot” in self-defense, found
himself charged with aggravated assault, convicted, and sentenced to a
mandatory 20-year-sentence. In many of these cases, there was clearly
no intent to cause anyone harm, and the defender sincerely believed the
firing of the “warning shot” was the best means of reducing the risk of
violence to all involved. It seems bizarre in such cases that the
defender could have potentially avoided legal liability entirely if
they had instead elected to shoot and kill their attacker rather than
fire a “warning shot.”
The parallel SB 448/HB 89 bills seek to correct this situation by
stepping through each of Florida’s self-defense statutes and replacing
each use of “use of force” with the phrase “use or threatened use of
Note that this would cover ANY threatened use of force, ranging from
mere verbal threats to — in theory — warning shots, although neither
bill makes any effort to define “threatened force” nor references
“warning shots” in particular. In particular, these bills DO NOT in any
way “authorize” the firing of warning shots.
Which means MDA and MAIG and all the others will be sending out fundraising/scare the people letters saying it DOES say that.