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Life In Prison For Using A Gun In Self-Defense
prolibertate.usRonald Williams fired his gun in what he described as self-defense without injuring another human being – yet he was sentenced to 80 years in prison. Williams fired five gunshots well above the heads of four gay men he believed were threatening him. His intention was to scare them away, not to injure them. Nevertheless, six years ago, he was convicted of four counts of aggravated assault with a firearm, each of which carried a mandatory sentence of 20 years in prison. Even if one assumes that Williams committed a crime, it’s not clear that his offense could be construed as assault, rather than reckless endangerment or unlawful discharge of a firearm. Furthermore, even if the assault charge were considered valid, nothing in Florida statutes requires that the sentences be served consecutively, rather than concurrently. If the latter option had been chosen, Williams would be facing twenty years in prison. Williams is not the only Florida resident serving prison time for an act of armed self-defense. Marissa Alexander is currently serving three concurrent 20-year terms for firing a warning shot over the head of a man who had abused her. Cases of this kind illustrate how the US wound up with the largest prison population in history.
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