Florida Governor Rick Scott signed into law Friday an extension of the state’s controversial “Stand Your Ground” law, which would cover warning shots.
According to Newsy, the bill was written with the case of Marissa Alexander in mind. Alexander, 33, was found guilty of aggravated assault and sentenced to 20 years in prison after firing what her defense claimed was a warning shot at the husband during a domestic dispute. An appellate court later overturned her conviction and ordered a retrial.
In a statement, Alexander’s lawyers said they “are grateful for the governor’s actions,” according to ABC News. Prosecutors say the law won’t help Alexander because it won’t be applied retroactively, and there’s evidence that suggests the shot she fired was not a warning.
“The new law, as it stands now, allows you to claim immunity from prosecution if you used or threatened deadly force,” Attorney Anthony Rickman told WTVT. “The problem was that under Florida’s Stand Your Ground laws, as it was originally, it only allowed you to use that defense if you used actual deadly force.”
But gun owners interviewed by the station expressed concern that the law will allow people to pull out their guns and start shooting whenever they feel threatened.
“Bullets have to go somewhere,” Jason Collazo told WTVT. “It’s going to endanger people whether they’re firing into the air, into the ground, at a tree, they don’t know if that surface is going to ricochet, so it’s just not well thought out.”
Alexander is awaiting a retrial.