Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Deadwood, Florida

From the New York Times:

Gov. Jeb Bush signed a bill on Tuesday giving Florida citizens more leeway to use deadly force in their homes and in public, a move that gun-control groups and several urban police chiefs warned would give rise to needless deaths.

The measure, known as the “stand your ground” bill, lets people use guns or other deadly force to defend themselves in public places without first trying to escape.


Governor Bush, a Republican, said he supported the measure because when people faced life-threatening situations, “to have to retreat and put yourself in a very precarious position defies common sense.”

But John F. Timoney, Miami’s police chief, called the bill unnecessary and dangerous. Chief Timoney, who has successfully pushed his police officers to use less deadly force, said many people, including children, could become innocent victims. The bill could make gun owners, including drivers with road rage or drunken sports fans who get into fights leaving ball games, assume they have “total immunity,” he said.

“Whether it’s trick-or-treaters or kids playing in the yard of someone who doesn’t want them there or some drunk guy stumbling into the wrong house,” Chief Timoney said, “you’re encouraging people to possibly use deadly physical force where it shouldn’t be used.”

Chief Chuck Harmon of the St. Petersburg police and Sheriff Ken Jenne of Broward County also publicly opposed the bill. The Florida House of Representatives voted 94 to 20 in favor of the bill earlier this month, while the Senate passed it 39 to 0.

But Jeb! signed it anyway because packin’ heat makes his balls clank, and he wants to show the hard right that he’s got a pair after being such a big law-abiding wussy in the Terri Schiavo case. Meanwhile, they’re going to be staging a new version of Gunfight at the O.K. Corral on the Palmetto Expressway.

I feel safer already.