An American gun control lobby group is launching an advertising campaign in the UK warning potential visitors to Florida about the state’s new gun laws.
The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence is taking out newspaper ads and looking for billboard space in the UK and other European countries to warn tourists about Florida’s new “shoot first” law, which comes into force on October 1.
The law gives Florida residents the right to use “deadly force” as a form of self-defence if they feel threatened in public places. The lobby group says this could endanger the lives of tourists.
The ads warn: “Florida law now allows people to shoot to kill if they feel threatened – please be careful.” A flyer to be distributed to tourists arriving at airports in the Sunshine State also advises visitors not to argue with locals and to keep their hands in sight if they are involved in a car crash. It warns: “Do not shout or make threatening gestures.”
The organisation says that it has taken the unusual step to make sure that tourists are aware of the changed circumstances. It is handling the ad campaign in house, although design company The Focal Point has designed the billboard poster.
The move has been condemned as inflammatory and “ridiculous” by the office of state governor Jeb Bush, the brother of President George W Bush.