Florida Senate Passes the Threatened Use of Force Act

Post Date: April 3, 2014

TALLAHASSEE, FLA. – Today, the Florida Senate joined the House in passing the The Threatened Use of Force Act, a bill that provides a legal defense for Floridians who threaten to use force—such as warning shots—in situations where deadly force is already protected by law. 

“The Senate should be commended for addressing this glaring omission in Florida’s self-defense laws. Currently, a person who meets the standards necessary to argue that they acted in self-defense has more of a legal incentive to kill the person threatening them than they do to simply ward them away with a threat,” said Greg Newburn, Florida director of Families Against Mandatory Minimums. “HB 89 not only creates a much-needed legal defense for people who currently face onerous sentences under Florida’s 10-20-Life law, it also encourages people who have been sentenced to a mandatory minimum for threatening the use of force to apply for clemency.” 

The Threatened Use of Force Act has wide support from criminal justice advocates across Florida, including Families Against Mandatory Minimums, the Public Defenders Association, and the Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, as well as the NRA and Florida Carry. HB 89 passed the Florida House in March with broad bipartisan support.

“Today’s vote recognizes that 10-20-Life is a flawed policy, and that judicial discretion is essential to balancing public safety, justice, and fairness,” Newburn said. “FAMM is grateful to Senators Rob Bradley and Greg Evers for seeing this bill through the Senate. Together, along with House colleagues Rep. Neil Combee and Rep. Katie Edwards, they’ve taken a huge step toward reforming Florida’s mandatory minimum laws.” 

The bill now goes to Florida Gov. Rick Scott. 
 
For more information, contact Greg Newburn, Florida director of Families Against Mandatory Minimums, at gnewburn@famm.org