TALLAHASSE, Fla. - The bill that aims to protect Floridians who fire a warning shot or brandish a weapon is self-defense awaits action from Governor Rick Scott, who just received a letter from the First Amendment Foundation on why he should veto it.
The foundation is financed by Florida news organizations, and president Barbara Peterson says they didn’t have an issue with the bill (HB 89) until the House added an amendment to it.
The amendment allows people cleared by judges because they acted in self-defense to petition courts to have their records expunged.
Peterson told Scott that could “serve as a tool for obscuring law enforcement and prosecutorial misconduct, while also hindering the development of court precedence essential to understanding how and when the proposed use of force applies.”
She also says it would prevent the state from determining how well the new law is working because the court records would be gone.
“People when they’re accused of something doesn’t always mean they’re guilty of it, but that always tends to follow them,” Republican Representative Lake Ray tells WOKV.
Ray voted for the bill. He says the records should be expunged to protect the future of the person cleared in the self-defense case.
“Even if we wind up using force to protect ourselves, we still have a right to privacy,” he says.
Governor Rick Scott is expected to take action on the bill this week.