Florida Gov. Rick Scott knows his citizens need the right to defend themselves.
No one should ever feel like they can’t pull the trigger in self-defense because they might be prosecuted.
Scott signed into law new legal protections for just those individuals.
Senate Bill 128 shifts the burden of proof requirement from the accused to the state prosecution during legal proceedings in the case of someone firing a gun in self-defense.
The law, which goes into effect immediately, will require the prosecutors to present evidence to overcome the claim that the defendant used justifiable force.
If they fail to show “clear and convincing evidence” that the accused did not shoot in self-defense, the case will not go to trial.
“If the State of Florida is going to accuse a citizen of committing a crime, the State of Florida should have the burden of proof at each and every part of the proceeding,” Florida Senate President Joe Negron (R) said in a statement.
“This legislation requires the state to meet the standard of clear and convincing evidence to overcome an immunity claim. I am grateful to Governor Scott for signing this huge step towards better protection of the constitutional freedoms guaranteed to all citizens.”
“A defendant always has the presumption of innocence and the state always has a burden of proof,” said State Senator Rob Bradley (R) in a statement.
“This fundamental premise is guaranteed in our Constitution and understood intuitively by all Floridians. Fidelity to the Constitution is our most important responsibility as legislators, and I am pleased to see this legislation earn the support of Governor Scott today.”
The NRA and the United Sportsmen of Florida have praised the bill’s signing.
Marion Hammer, former NRA president and current lobbyist, said in an email to supporters:
“With no legislative authority, they created a special ‘Stand Your Ground’ hearing and reversed the burden of proof from the state to the victim.
“Through case law, they changed a legislative law they didn’t like. They effectively created the presumption of guilt for the exercise of self-defense.
“This bill fixes it. It places the burden of proof back on the state where it belongs. And it restores the right of the presumption of innocence and the right of self-defense.”
What a great day for the Second Amendment!