Holiday in Florida at your peril, gun control group warns

It is one of the most popular destinations with Britons looking for sunshine and glamour, but tourists thinking of going to Florida are being warned off by a US gun-control group.

The Brady Campaign to Control Gun Violence, named for a Reagan aide who was shot in the head during an assassination attempt on his boss, has released a series of adverts telling would-be tourists they could be putting their lives at risk because of new laws which come into force today, allowing Floridians to shoot an attacker in the street and face only a minimal risk of prosecution.

The adverts will appear in British newspapers this weekend, highlighting new laws affecting the state's six million gun owners. The ads read: "Thinking about a Florida vacation? Please ensure your family is safe. A new law in the Sunshine State authorises nervous or frightened residents to use deadly force.

"In Florida, avoid disputes. Use special caution in arguing with motorists on Florida roads. Police and prosecutors are concerned about the potential for unnecessary violence."

The Brady campaign is run by James Brady, who received a gunshot wound to the head in the attempted assassination of President Reagan in 1981. In 1993, his campaigning was rewarded by Bill Clinton, who signed the "Brady Bill" which imposed restrictions on hand-gun purchases.

Activists will also be handing out leaflets to Britons arriving at Miami and Orlando airports from next week, warning them to be cautious. About 1.5 million Britons visit Florida each year, attracted by its hot weather, coast and locations such as the Kennedy Space Centre and the theme parks in Orlando.

Sarah Brady, who heads the campaign, said: "We think people visiting Florida should be aware of this law, and act accordingly. Visitors should be very careful about getting into an aggressive argument with anyone during their stay."

The controversial new law, supported by the National Rifle Association, has been dubbed Shoot First by critics who fear it will lead to reckless gunplay on the streets. Before the law was passed, Floridians could carry concealed guns in public places but could only use them as a last resort when there was no other way to avoid injury.

The new law eliminates the need to avoid such threats by allowing the gun user to "shoot first".

Visit Florida, which promotes tourism in the state, branded the campaign a "scare tactic".

A spokesman said: "We believe that Americans and international visitors are smart enough to understand the political agenda behind the Brady Campaign and recognise that is not a real safety issue for visitors. In fact, Florida has a low crime rate, currently at a 34-year low, and it has been falling for 13 consecutive years. Florida is a very safe and secure destination that excels in caring for its visitors."

Keith Betton, a spokesman for the Association of British Travel Agents, said he did not think the adverts would have any impact.

"If they're trying to scare people, I think they've just wasted an awful lot of money," he said. "This law is not going to put people off travelling to Florida."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Recruitment Genius: Web Developer - Junior / Mid Weight

    £15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: To support their continued grow...

    Recruitment Genius: Transportation Contracting Manager

    £33000 - £38000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A global player and world leade...

    Recruitment Genius: Hotel and Spa Duty Manager

    £18000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you are friendly, sociable, ...

    Recruitment Genius: Payroll and Benefits Co-ordinator

    £22300 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This museum group is looking for a Payro...

    Day In a Page

    Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

    Is this the future of flying?

    Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
    Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

    Isis are barbarians

    but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
    The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

    Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

    Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
    Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

    'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

    Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
    Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

    Call of the wild

    How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
    Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

    'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

    If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
    The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

    The science of swearing

    What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

    Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
    Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

    Africa on the menu

    Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
    Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

    Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

    The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
    10 best statement lightbulbs

    10 best statement lightbulbs

    Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
    Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

    Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

    Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
    Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

    Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

    It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
    Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

    Dustin Brown

    Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
    Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

    Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

    Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test