Florida's stand your ground law arms citizens with crucial rights

August 1, 2013 

There is much confusion concerning the concealed firearms law and the so-called "stand your ground" law. I happen to be one of millions of law-abiding citizens in the state of Florida and across the U.S. who have a license that allows me to have a gun in my possession.

In order to receive the license I had to take the required class work (which isn't free). I also had to show proficiency in shooting a gun.

I was required to submit my finger prints and a form to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. The fee for the finger-print check and license is $112.

Obtaining a license to carry a weapon comes with specific requirements and responsibilities. Of course, the common criminal bypasses these steps.

It used to be that if someone were pointing a gun at me, threatening me with a knife, baseball bat or was beating me to a pulp with their fists or some object, my first response had to be to retreat. Under these circumstances, I don't know how a person could do that.

Seeing the foolishness of expecting a person to retreat, the law was changed to allow a person to "stand their ground" -- in other words, not having to retreat.

The law is very specific. I can only pull my weapon if I am in fear of great bodily harm or that my or someone else's death is imminent.

I cannot pull my gun and shoot it in the air to stop an argument or to scare someone. I can't display it to another driver in some road-rage incident. To do any of these and more would likely send me to jail.

The thief who may try to rob me in a grocery store parking lot or on a street corner will do so at the risk of losing his or her life. The criminal element has had the upper hand way too long. Now it is time for the law-abiding citizen to take control.

George Mendez

Bradenton

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