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Florida Legislator Wants People to Be Allowed to Fire Warning Shots

Polk City Rep. Neil Combee wants to let people fire warning shots if they are threatened, without fear of getting arrested for it. So, he filed a bill to make that a law.

Combee's bill is a response to Marissa Alexander, the 32-year-old African American mother of three who was sentenced to 20 years for firing a gun into the air to ward off her abusive husband. She recently had her conviction overturned and is getting a new trial.

See also: Marissa Alexander Must Be Pardoned By Rick Scott

Combee, a Republican, filed bill HB 89 on Thursday.

The bill would let people defend themselves, like Alexander did, without consequence of jail.

It would, in theory, save a person from the state's "10-20-Life" law if they show their gun or fire a warning shot to detract an attacker.

In August of 2010, Alexander and her then-husband, Rico Gray -- who has a documented case of domestic abuse -- got into a heated dispute.

Frightened for her safety, Alexander fired a warning shot into the wall to ward him off.

Alexander then cited "stand your ground." But the 10-20-Life law derailed her defense and a judge ruled that Alexander was not eligible to use "stand your ground" as a defense because he saw her as the aggressor.

The case got national attention, and even got us to call on Gov. Rick Scott to pardon Alexander.

An appeals court ordered a new trial for Alexander, and prompted Combee to file the bill.

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Chris Joseph
Contact: Chris Joseph

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