Florida's New Self-Defence Law

Winter 2005 CSANews Issue 57  |  Posted date : May 25, 2007.Back to list

On October 1, 2005, the state of Florida passed a legislation that will allow people to justly "meet force with force" if they are threatened or attacked in a place in which they have the legal right to be (i.e. dwelling, residence, vehicle or public place). Some anti-gun groups are now engaging in ad campaigns that discourage tourists from visiting Florida, as they believe that it is no longer a "safe" destination for travellers. However, this condemnation does not take into account the fact that any proclaimed self-defence act is thoroughly investigated by the police. Immunity is not given where excessive force is used or if the force is applied under the guise of self-defence. Also, Florida is not the only state to enforce this type of legislation. The majority of U.S. jurisdictions support the act of meeting force with comparable force, if deemed necessary to preserve human life. There is absolutely no reason to suspect that this new law, which received 100 per cent approval in the Florida legislature, will have any negative impact on travelling snowbirds.

Florida law defines "forcible felony," in which force may be used, as including:

  • Aggravated assault
  • Home-invasion robbery
  • Aggravated battery
  • Kidnapping
  • Aggravated stalking
  • Manslaughter
  • Aircraft piracy
  • Murder
  • Arson
  • Robbery
  • Burglary
  • Sexual battery
  • Car-jacking
  • Treason
  • Unlawful throwing, placing, or discharging of a destructive device or bomb
  • Any other felony involving the use or threat of physical force or violence against any person