Florida gun safety debate: Lawmakers debate warning shot bill

Firing a warning shot could be become law if some Florida lawmakers have their way, and it's triggering fresh debate about guns, safety and crime.

Having to make late night house calls, Doctor Al Tomaselli brings his nine millimeter along for protection.

As gun owner, Tomaselli stays current on events surrounding use of force -- especially the case involving Marissa Alexander.

She's the woman who was sentenced to 20 years in prison for firing her gun into the air during a heated argument with her estranged husband.

"To lose 20 years of your life for just a warning shot, that seems pretty excessive," said Tomaselli. Many Florida lawmakers agree.

The new bill pushes to legalize warning shots and make it legal to flash a gun in protection.

"It's one more layer of protection for an honest, sober minded, clear headed individual to protect themselves in a difficult situation," said Tomaselli.

Palm Beach County State Attorney Dave Aronberg says it won't change anything when prosecuting cases.

"There are people who will misread this law and think that it gives them the ability to wave a gun around at all times if someone looks at them funny. That's not what it's about," said Aronberg.

Aronberg says it's already a part of the current "Stand Your Ground" law -- the bill just codifies it.

Aronberg says it's a heavily pro-gun Tallahassee responding to the Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman shooting.

"The legislature is expressing it's belief that the problem in Florida is that there are too many guns. If anything, the legislature wants more gun ownership. They want looser gun laws and this is an example of that," said Aronberg.

Aronberg says he can't predict how the passing of the bill could impact people's behavior, but says it could be misinterpreted.

"If a situation can be resolved without killing someone, by all means it sounds like a good idea," said Dr. Tomaselli.

Legislators will take up the bill once session resumes this spring. 

Print this article Back to Top