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Legislature moving forward with "Warning Shot" bill

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Posted at 10:13 PM, Mar 19, 2014
and last updated 2014-03-19 22:13:00-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) - A bill that would protect people who fire warning shots from serving prison time is gaining support in the legislature.

House Bill 89, currently making its way through the Florida House, is partially inspired by the case of Marissa Alexander.  The Jacksonville woman fired a warning shot at her estranged husband during an argument, and was sentenced to 20 years in prison.  A re-trial has been ordered, and the State Attorney's office may seek an even stiffer sentence. 

 On Wednesday legislators made new changes to the bill, including a provision that would allow anyone who successfully uses a "Stand Your Ground" legal defense to subsequently petition to have their records expunged. 

Republican Representative Matt Gaetz of Fort Walton Beach supports the measure, saying a person who successfully gets their charges dropped does not deserve to "have their life ruined" by the stigma of an arrest record.