Today, Florida Governor Rich Scott will name members of a task force responsible for looking into Florida’s “Shoot First” law – following national outrage over the death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin and the mishandled investigation that followed. As Governor Scott said last month, "After listening to many concerned citizens in recent days, I will call for a Task Force on Citizen Safety and Protection to investigate how to make sure a tragedy such as this does not occur in the future."
Unclear if this is a PR stunt by the radical right-wing Governor or an honest effort to assess the risks associated with shoot first laws. But if it is an honest effort – then he doesn’t have to look much farther than the numbers. In 2004 – the year before the Shoot First law was signed by then Governor Jeb Bush in Florida – there were 31 so-called justifiable homicides in the state.
But by 2009 – four years after the law was signed – the number of so-called justifiable homicide had spiked to 105. It’s pretty clear – Shoot First laws don’t make us safer – they just give cover to the trigger-happy and paranoid among us. Oh – and they also give legal cover to corporate gun sellers like Wal Mart.