That's the message of this maddening op-ed over at The Washington Times, penned by FAMM's president, Julie Stewart.
It shares the story of Orville Wollard, a Florida father now serving a 20-year mandatory minimum for protecting his daughter from her abusive boyfriend.
Orville Wollard did not think he had committed a crime by protecting his family. He rejected a plea deal that would have given him probation and a felony record and instead took his case to court. Prosecutors charged Wollard with various crimes, including shooting into a dwelling (his own house), child abuse (because the boy was under 18) and aggravated assault with a weapon. A jury convicted Wollard of possessing and discharging a firearm, which triggered Florida’s mandatory minimum sentence for aggravated assault with a weapon. Wollard was sentenced to the mandatory prison term of 20 years without parole. At sentencing, the judge said, “This [sentence] is obviously excessive … if it weren’t for the mandatory minimum … I would use my discretion and impose some separate sentence, having taken into consideration the circumstances of the event.” For his part, Wollard told the court, “I’m amazed. I’m stunned. I have spent my life pursuing education [and] helped the community. [T]hen one day this person breaks into my house … he continues to do this, he assaults my daughter, he threatens me, I protect myself. [N]o one is injured in this whole thing, and I’m going to prison. … And again, with all respect to [the court], I would expect this from the former Soviet Union, not the United States.”