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Saturday, Dec 20, 2014
Steve Otto Columns

Otto: You don’t want to be around when ‘warning shots’ are fired

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No, it’s not true the Florida Legislature is working on a bill called, “Don’t shoot till you see the whites of their eyes,” but it’s early yet.

Meanwhile, we’ll just have to wing it, so to speak, with the Legislature’s newest piece of mumbo-jumbo that allows you to fire a warning shot if you figure your life is being threatened.

Actually, I don’t think the bill specifies one shot. I’ve read discussion that you can possibly fire off as many “warning” shots as you want, hopefully not wounding too many others in the process.

I suppose you can understand the intent of the bill that came through the Senate and the House.

It’s supposed to protect victims who are faced with deadly force by allowing them to defend themselves without being charged with a felony; sort of a companion piece to “stand your ground.”

The idea is that you now would have the option of firing a warning shot across the bow, or I guess somewhere in the vicinity of the alleged attacker.

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I don’t have a problem with that as long as I’m not within a half-mile of the warning shot.

Handguns, as the statistics show, are not toys. They aren’t something you can just drop in a handbag or stick in your belt and start blazing away with any chance of actually striking what you are aiming to hit.

I’m a gun owner, and I know how to shoot and handle weapons.

During a stint in the military years ago, our group was required to periodically qualify on several types of weapons.

When it came to handguns, the novices generally hit the wall or the bunker behind the targets more than anything else. And those were in controlled environments where the shooters had some training.

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These days we live in a culture where pretty soon all of us are going to be packing heat, partner.

There are going to be guns in restaurants and in churches. We won’t leave home without one.

When you head to the mall, you will make sure you have your cellphone with you and your pistol strapped to your shoulder holster.

There will not only be guns in the schools, you can be confident your algebra teacher is going have nothing less than a Smith and Wesson just waiting in her desk drawer next to that protractor.

Now, assuming the governor goes along with the Legislature, you will have the added protection of taking a warning shot or two into the air or just over the bad guy’s left ear, or maybe going for a knee cap.

There is a feeling among some, including me, that legislation such as this would tend to encourage you to start shooting in the belief that nobody is really going to get hurt.

Chances are the wrong people are going to get hurt, maybe killed.

Who you don’t want to be is anyone else in the theater or mall or restaurant or anywhere else within range of you firing that gun you’ve never fired before in your life as you try to get off a “warning shot.”

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