Florida Stand Your Ground law
Senate Bill sb0436 went into effect in Florida on October 1, 2005, creating a new law allowing individuals the right to use deadly force in the face of real or perceived danger to themselves or others. This is one of several such state laws in the United States generally referred to as "stand your ground" or "shoot first" laws.
1. The law amends three sections of Florida code, 776.012, 776.031, and 776.041, and creates section 776.032.
2. Although 776.041 does state that deadly force is only justified when defending a home or vehicle, 776.012 authorizes deadly force without that restriction (emphasis added):
"A person is justified in the use of force, except deadly force, against another when and to the extent that the person reasonably believes that such conduct is necessary to defend himself or herself or another against such other's imminent use of unlawful force. However, the person is justified in the use of deadly force only if he or she reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony."
3. 776.032 grants immunity from prosecution for "A person who uses force as described in s.776.012, s. 776.013, or s. 776.031" -- note the word "or".
That means if you "reasonably believe" that deadly force is "necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony", congratulations -- you can't be prosecuted.
Who determines what is "reasonably"? It can't be a court, because you won't ever see a courthouse if you can't be prosecuted in the first place -- a reverse-Catch-22 for anyone using a gun to shoot someone.
PDF of SB 436 at the Florida Legislature web site
- complete text at the Florida Senate Website Archive
- wikipedia:Shoot first law
- Shoot First Law web site by MADD