About a dozen years ago, pro-gun Florida lawmakers passed a “stand your ground” statute that allowed law-abiding gun owners to use deadly force in defense of themselves or others in the event they felt threatened, negating a previous requirement that a victim or potential victim make all efforts to escape a conflict first.
As expected, gun-grabbers wailed and moaned and gnashed their teeth over the new law — which they called the “shoot first” law — and launched an ad campaign to warn both American and European tourists to the Sunshine State of the new dangers they could face from purportedly itchy trigger-fingered Floridians, according to a 2005 post from Marketing Week.
Part of that ad campaign involved the placement of a billboard along a Sunshine State highway where tourists entering the state would be likely to see it. And though it was no doubt intended to further the message of gun control, it has had an opposite effect on some, especially as it’s reappeared on the internet over the years.
A Texas man named Andy Rutledge recently brought new attention to the image when he posted it to Twitter:
When you try to make a billboard campaign message sinister, but it comes off as American and awesome af pic.twitter.com/QQX9t2Z53r
— Andy Rutledge (@andyrutledge) June 8, 2017
As can be seen in the picture, the billboard reads, “Visitor Warning: Florida residents can use deadly force,” followed by the web address of the gun control advocacy group that sponsored the sign, the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.
And Rutledge’s take on it was definitely not what the gun grabbers were trying to get across.
“It’s a particular risk faced by travelers coming to Florida for a vacation because they have no idea it’s going to be the law of the land,” declared Peter Hamm, communications director of the Brady Campaign, in a 2005 interview with the Sun-Sentinel. “If they get into a road rage argument, the other person may feel he has the right to use deadly force.”
Hamm also gave short-shrift to gun rights arguments.
“The biggest myth in Florida is (that) this is about protecting people who use legitimate self-defense,” he said. “This law … sends a message to people who are potentially unstable and have an itchy trigger finger that as long as they can make a reasonable case they were in fear, they can use deadly force against somebody.”
Except that, common sense and an understanding of natural rights dictate that human beings have the fundamental right to defend themselves from harm, using deadly force if necessary.
Furthermore, despite many ominous predictions, Florida has not turned into the “wild, wild West” with rivers of blood flowing down the streets from constant gun battles stemming from road-rage and neighborly disputes, as Americans who hold concealed carry permits are actually among the most law-abiding citizens in the country.
This is pretty funny, as the citizen disarmers and gun controllers thought they would scare good people and tourists in regard to Florida’s gun laws, but instead have simply advertised that the good people in Florida are allowed to defend themselves from harm, as it should be.
Criminals and gun-grabbers should consider themselves warned that Floridians have the right to not only keep and bear arms, but to use them as well.
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