Governor Scott signs “warning shot” and “pop tart” bills


Along with 57 other bills, Historic City News learned that Florida Governor Rick Scott has signed into law the controversial “warning shot” bill; giving Floridians some protection from criminal prosecution if they threaten to use a firearm, or even if they actually squeeze off a warning shot while defending themselves from a credible threat.

Florida’s “stand your ground” self-defense law is modified by the new so-called “warning shot” bill, to allow people to display a firearm, fire a warning shot, and make threats to use force with immunity from prosecution.

Rep. Neil Combee, R-Polk City, who sponsored the bill in the House, said the bill was inspired by the case of Marissa Alexander, a Jacksonville woman who faces 60-years in prison under the 10-20-Life sentencing law for firing a warning shot during a domestic dispute.

Democrats in both chambers tried unsuccessfully to amend the bill to remove a provision allowing records to be expunged if people who claim “stand your ground” are found innocent. They said keeping open the records would make the law’s success or failure easier to track. But, Republicans successfully argued that people who are forced to defend themselves shouldn’t have a criminal record as a result.

Also signed Friday, another gun bill with a nickname, the “Pop Tart” bill; so called because of its connection to reports of a Maryland 7-year-old who was suspended from school for chewing his breakfast pastry into the shape of a gun.

The bill (HB 7029) is aimed at preventing schoolchildren from being disciplined for simulating guns while playing or for wearing clothes that depict firearms. Supporters of the bill, including the National Rifle Association, said it would bring “common sense” to school zero-tolerance disciplinary policies.

The governor has nearly completed the work of deciding which measures from the spring legislative session to approve.