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Warning Shot Bill Heads To House Floor

Florida Channel
Representatives Kionne McGhee (D-Miami) and Neil Combee (R-Polk City), the bill's sponsor, during the measure's last House hearing Thursday.

A bill aimed at allowing someone to show a gun or fire a warning shot in self-defense without fear of prosecution is now heading to the House floor. It’s a bill inspired by a Jacksonville woman who fired a warning shot in an alleged domestic violence dispute and received a lengthy prison term.

The measure intended to get rid of the unintended consequences of Florida’s 10-20-Life Law passed its final panel, the House Judiciary Committee, with two Democrats opposed.  That includes Miami Democratic Representative Kionne McGhee, who called the bill’s language vague.

“I’m not sure if this language clarifies that a person can shoot into a shooting vehicle. I’m not sure this language clarifies or not whether or person can shoot into a home,” said McGhee.

Other lawmakers wondered about a new provision introduced Thursday that expunges the record of someone cleared of the charges, instead of just sealing those records. Bill author and Polk City Republican Representative Neil Combee promised he’d look into that, adding he’s glad the bill has gotten even this far.

“It’s awesome. I’m thinking that we’re doing pretty well, and a lot of people understand the issue, and I think it’s something we need to do for the people of Florida,” said Combee, following the favorable vote.

Meanwhile, a measure with similar changes has stalled in the Senate Judiciary Committee, after it was put on hold during a recent hearing.

For more news updates, follow Sascha Cordner on Twitter: @SaschaCordner.