- Faith & Family
One year after 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was shot and killed by an armed neighborhood watchman, setting off a national debate about race and gun laws, the campaign to change state self-defense laws — “stand your ground” — in Martin’s name has petered out.
The incident led immediately to scrutiny of the law, which is on the books of 20 states in various forms. Basically, “stand your ground” says that people can use lethal force against an attacker without first attempting to retreat if they have reason to fear for their lives. Most states already allowed people to defend themselves in this way if they’re attacked at home, but “stand your ground” went a step further to cover all public places.
Citizen Safety Task Force releases final report
The Task Force concluded that Florida Statute 776 is a good law and should not be overturned. The Task Force’s top recommendations states:
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 who are conducting themselves in a lawful manner 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.
Governor Rick Scott said, “I want to commend the 19 members of the Citizen Safety Task Force and Lt. Governor Jennifer Carroll for their thorough and thoughtful consideration of Florida Statute 776.
Stafford weighs in on Task Force report
State Rep. Cynthia Stafford said in response to the report to Governor Rick Scott: “I am disappointed but not shocked. I think the deck was stacked toward this outcome by the Task Force. I think the people of Florida deserved to hear a fair and balanced discussion, but I don’t think that’s what they got in this case.”
“It’s been said that law-abiding citizens have a right to carry their guns. Well, law-abiding citizens who don’t carry weapons also have a right to walk down the street and sit in their cars and not be assaulted by a person with a gun. I was hoping for a different outcome to today’s Task Force report. I just hope this law doesn’t cause more deaths.”
By Miami Times staff report