TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - Floridians who threaten to use a gun, or even fire a warning shot, could avoid criminal prosecution under a law signed by Gov. Rick Scott.

Scott on Friday signed the bill (HB 89) partially inspired by a Jacksonville woman initially sentenced to 20 years in prison after firing a shot near her estranged husband during an altercation. The woman, Marissa Alexander, is awaiting a new trial.

Alexander had tried to assert a “Stand Your Ground” defense, but a judge rejected her claim. She was sentenced under the state's “10-20-life” law that requires mandatory sentences for using a gun.

The new law, however, would allow for instances of threatened use of force without falling under the rule of “10-20-life.” It marks a significant change to the state's self-defense laws.

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