Floridians could “meet force with force” without fear of prosecution, under a bill passed by the legislature, says the Orlando Sentinel. Gov. Jeb Bush plans to sign the measure. Opponents contend it amounts to legalized dueling that could lead to simple arguments escalating into fatal fights. The bill was a top priority of the National Rifle Association. It erases what is commonly known as a person’s “duty to retreat” from an attack and instead allow that person to “stand his ground” without fear of criminal prosecution or a civil lawsuit. Rep. Dennis Baxley, a sponsor, said the bill allows a person to punch someone if he or she is being punched or to shoot at someone if he or she is being shot at. “You can only do what somebody does to you,” Baxley said.
Bill Gross, who prosecutes homicides in Lake County, said, “This is going to make us less safe because it’s going to discourage all restraint by citizens.” Rep. Dan Gelber complained that the bill “legalizes dueling.” NRA lobbyist Marion Hammer said, “The bill says that when you are attacked you may meet force with force to defend yourself. It does not condone fighting.”