State Reviews Stand Your Ground Law: Law Abiding Citizens – 1, Advocates For Self-Imposed Victimhood – 0

Posted on November 16, 2012


Florida (The Gaslamp Post) – A taskforce created by Florida Governor Rick Scott has concluded it’s seventh and final public hearing regarding the state’s Justifiable Use of Force statute.  The taskforce was given the responsibility of publicly reviewing the statue, more commonly known as the “Stand Your Ground” law, in response to public outcry over the shooting of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman in February.

According to the Pensacola News Journal, the 19 member taskforce, headed by Lt. Governor Jennifer Carroll concluded it’s work this past Tuesday, and said that they do not expect any major changes to the law.

During the open hearing, Floridians were welcome to come and express their views and make recommendations about the law.

“It seems to me that citizens should have the right to keep the law and defend the law,” Gulf Breeze resident Larry Sessions said.

Joe Waldron of Pensacola, legislative director of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, argued that the law should not be repealed because of one “racially charged, media-hyped” incident.

“Stand Your Ground … is nothing more than an extension of the Castle Doctrine’s concept. A man’s home is his castle. And in your castle, you have no duty to retreat in order to defend yourself or your loved ones from assault,” he said. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Stand your Ground is not broken.”

Being an open forum, other counter-opinions made themselves known.  Not surprisingly, activists from Washington D.C. made an appearance in order to throw their two cents in.

“An individual who chooses to kill another is given greater protection under this law than a law enforcement officer,” said David LaBahn of the Washington, D.C.-based Association of Prosecuting Attorneys.

“Prosecutors believe people have the right to defend themselves, but offering immunity to those who choose to take others’ lives is problematic,” he said.

Ginny Simmons, director of the Washington-based Second Chance Campaign, said the law’s vagueness has had deadly consequences.

“We’ve heard too many cases where someone is dead by a shooter who could have retreated from confrontation,” she said. “We owe it to the people of Florida to ensure a law that provides clarity on the use of deadly force while minimizing unintended tragedies along the way.”

When it was all said and done, the taskforce made an official statement.  In a draft recommendation intending to be submitted to the state legislature, they said:

“The task force concurs with the core belief that all persons, regardless of citizenship status, have a right to feel safe and secure in our state. To that end, all persons have a fundamental right to stand their ground and defend themselves from attack with proportionate force in every place they have a lawful right to be and are conducting themselves in a lawful manner.”