The OK Corral That is Florida

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Reuters) - Florida Gov. Jeb Bush signed a new anti-crime law on Tuesday that allows people to kill in self-defense without first trying to flee.

Critics of the new law, called the "Stand Your Ground" bill, have few objections to allowing people to protect themselves in their homes but say the bill will create a "Wild West" mentality in public, where residents may shoot first and ask questions later.

"There are going to be a lot of repercussions," said Rep. Eleanor Sobel, a Democrat. "You could have someone reaching into their pocket and if the person felt threatened he could shoot."

"All this bill will do is sell more guns and possibly turn Florida into the OK Corral," Rep. Irv Slosberg, a Democrat, said during recent debate on the bill.
Sounds an awful lot like the rhetoric that was being spewed years ago when Florida began the shall-issue program for residents applying for carry concealed permits. A professor of mine and renowned criminology researcher Gary Kleck collecting editorials that warned "blood will run in the streets." But we never saw that blood and the FBI's Uniform Crime Reports showed that after Florida adopted its concealed weapons law, granting roughly 300,000 permits by 1995, the handgun murder rate dropped by 27 percent.

Meanwhile, states with A- grades from Brady Campaign are showing an increase in homicides while states like Florida continue to decline.