It will soon be legal for Florida residents to open fire on anyone they perceive to be a threat. This may be the civil version of a pre-emptive attack. On Yahoo News. MIAMI (AFP) - Florida's legislature has approved a bill that would give residents the right to open fire against anyone they perceive as a threat in public, instead of having to try to avoid a conflict as under prevailing law. Outraged opponents say the law will encourage Floridians to open fire first and ask questions later, fostering a sort of statewide Wild West shootout mentality. Supporters argue that criminals will think twice if they believe they are likely to be promptly shot when they assault someone. Republican Governor Jeb Bush, who has said he plans to sign the bill, says it is "a good, commonsense, anti-crime issue." Current state law allows residents to "shoot to kill if their property, such as their home or car, is invaded by an unknown assailant." But it also states that if a resident is confronted or threatened in a public place, he or she must first try to avoid the confrontation or flee before taking any violent step in self defense against an assailant. The bill, supported by the influential National Rifle Association, was approved by both houses of the Republican-run legislature on Tuesday.