We urge you to protect the Right to Bear Arms for Self-Defense by supporting the following:
1. The US Supreme Court, in District of Columbia v. Heller (2008), held that the right to bear arms means "the individual right to possess and carry weapons in case of confrontation;" and subsequently in McDonald v. Chicago (2010) the Court held that this right warranted applicability against not just federal but also state regulation because bearing arms was "among those fundamental rights necessary to our system of ordered liberty."
2. Those who defend themselves lawfully should not be treated as criminals. The burden of proof should be on the state to prove that a citizen is not entitled to immunity from prosecution in prima facie cases of Self-Defense. Currently the court's procedures have turned the legislature’s grant of immunity on its head. The courts have in effect said that someone who acts in defense of themselves and their family are “Guilty Until Proven Innocent”. The burden of proof must be the state’s to bear if criminal and civil immunity are to be taken from a victim who is later prosecuted for their act of self-defense.
3. People who defensively display a firearm or weapon are being prosecuted and jailed for using deadly force even when they acted only to stop a criminal attack. Florida courts are finding people guilty of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon for merely displaying a handgun in order to stop physical attacks that the court did not feel were brutal enough to be deadly. Victims of a violent attack should not have to wait until a criminal has already bludgeoned them before determining if defending themselves by defensively displaying a lawfully possessed firearm or defensive weapon can be done lawfully. Victims who are under direct physical attack should not have to refrain from showing a firearm to stop the attack for fear of prosecution.
4. The unconcealed carry of holstered handguns used to be legal throughout Florida - it is an old right, not a new threat. In fact, 45 states allow the increasingly common "open carry" of handguns in public, in most states at age 18 without any permit; unfortunately, Florida is now one of only 5 states generally banning the open carry of defensive handguns. The ban should be repealed.
5. All too often crime visits our college and university campuses. Adult students should not have to choose between their education and their personal safety. Florida is one of the very few states that actually make it a crime for anyone to be on the grounds of a college or university if they are otherwise lawfully armed. Concealed Carry Licensees should not be made criminals when they set foot on our campuses.
6. No person should be required to turn their back on a criminal attack. We call on you to “Stand Your Ground” and protect the right of the law abiding people to defend themselves.