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Hillsborough Prosecutor Says Change in Gun Law Will Make Communities Less Safe

Andrew Warren | HIllsborough State Attorney | Courts

Andrew Warren says changes to the Stand Your Ground law make it harder to prosecute violent crime and cost millions.

TAMPA – The Florida Legislature passed a measure last week that shifts the burden of proof to prosecutors in cases in which shooters claim they “stood their ground.”

Under the state’s so-called Stand Your Ground law, anyone being attacked can defend their life by shooting and killing the attacker. The person who is claiming the defense has the initial burden of proof to show they were acting under the law.

That burden could shift to prosecutors to prove someone was not acting in self defense if the new legislation is signed into law by Gov. Rick Scott. It’s a measure that legislators passed over the objections of the state’s prosecutors and others, such as Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.

Andrew Warren, the state attorney for the 13th Judicial Circuit, Hillsborough County, has added his voice to the opposition. He issued a statement asking Scott to veto the “irresponsible legislation”:

We are disappointed that the Florida Legislature passed unnecessary and counterproductive changes to the Stand Your Ground legislation on Friday [May 5]. As my fellow state attorneys and I conveyed to our elected representatives, this new legislation will make our communities less safe and disrupt our criminal justice system while doing nothing to protect those who legally own guns.  

“Although we appreciate that the Legislature listened to us in amending the bill to include a lower burden of proof for prosecutors to bring charges against violent offenders, the fact remains that the new law will make it harder to prosecute violent crime and take law enforcement officers off of the street. 

“Additionally, the Legislature has wrongly claimed that this bill would have zero cost to taxpayers despite undisputed evidence that this bill could impact up to 75,000 cases per year, at a potential cost of tens of millions of dollars, $3 million alone in Hillsborough County. We hope that the Governor places public safety above partisan rhetoric and vetoes this irresponsible legislation.

For information about the Hillsborough state attorney, go to

Andrew Warren | Stand Your Ground | Gun Law | Rick Scott | Tampa Bay News | TB Reporter

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