GAINESVILLE, FLA. – FAMM (Families Against Mandatory Minimums) Florida Project Director Greg Newburn today applauded a bill aimed in part at correcting the unintended consequences of Florida’s “10-20-Life” gun sentencing law. HB 89, filed by Representative Neil Combee (R, Polk City), is designed to restore the rights of Floridians to protect the “Defense of Life, Home, and Property.” Representative Katie Edwards (D, Sunrise) is the bill’s prime co-sponsor.
“Representative Combee has shown true leadership in advocating a common sense reform that will restore some sanity to our sentencing laws,” Newburn said. He added that, “The Castle Doctrine and Stand Your Ground show Florida’s commitment to standing with victims. Reforming 10-20-Life is the next step in affirming that commitment.”
Citing the cases of Marissa Alexander, Orville Lee Wollard, Ronald Thompson and several other cases where defendants fired “warning shots” but were given 20-year mandatory minimum sentences, Newburn claims the law is being used in ways far removed from what the authors of the law originally intended. “10-20-Life was intended to apply to criminals who commit clear crimes. No one anticipated it would be used against people defending themselves and their families,” Newburn said.
The 10-20-Life reform in HB 89 was one of the recommendations made by Governor Scott’s “Task Force on Citizen Safety and Protection.” According to Newburn, “The Task Force included prosecuting attorneys, chiefs of police, and Sheriffs, and not a single member objected to the recommendation to reform 10-20-Life. Everyone agreed that this reform makes sense.”
Newburn argues that gun sentencing reform is more important now than ever. He added that, “People have just a few seconds to decide whether they want to be the victim of a violent attack, or whether they want to defend themselves. Law-abiding citizens should not face two decades behind bars because a State Attorney disagrees with their decision not to be a victim.”