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New Law Could Make It Legal To 'Shoot First, Ask Questions Later'
Defense Lawyer Says Law Could 'Cause Chaos'

NBC 6 | March 24, 2005

The Florida state Legislature is considering a "shoot first, ask questions later" law.

The potential Florida law would extend people's right to defend themselves not only in their homes but on their porches, in the street or in the car without fear of being charged criminally or civilly.

The Story In Pictures: Legislature Considers New Law

Trial lawyers say it is bad law, but victims say it would help to stop criminals not only in people's homes but on the streets.

"I think it is absolutely horrible," defense lawyer Andy Haggard said. "To pass a law like this is vigilante law. It is going to cause chaos."

Five years after he was shot during an invasion of his home, Edmond Cody, who uses a wheelchair, said the law is necessary.

"I'd be for it. I am a living example (of) the reason it has to be passed," Cody said.

Two versions of the "shoot now, ask questions later" law are winding their way through the state Legislature. Florida law now allows people to defend their homes from within. Haggard said the new bills would take these rights much further.

"That young guy that is dating my ex-wife, I go to his office. I will agitate him. I will provoke him and he is going to do something and I am going to shoot him. That's self-defense, and you won't be charged civilly or criminally," Haggard said.

But, Edmond Cody said he sees the bill differently. His son, Derrick, shot two home invaders and killed one of them while Edmond Cody lay bleeding in the front yard.

Edmond Cody calls Derrick his hero.

Lawmakers were set to vote on two versions of the bill Wednesday but got bogged down in the development of the Terri Schiavo issue.

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