Citizens speak out over Stand Your Ground law

caines | 6/14/2012, 6 a.m.

Protestors call for repeal of law

Chris Brown, spokesperson for the Second Chance on Shoot First campaign that sponsored Tuesdays march and rally, says he hopes members of the task force and legislators alike will take heed to increased criticism of the Stand Your Ground law. We would like to send a message that the public is voicing outrage over reckless shoot-first laws in Florida and across the country, he said. We hope they either repeal it or reform it to make it a rational law. To that end, in early April State Senator Chris Smith [Ft. Lauderdale] formed an independent panel to review the law. The panel, comprised of prosecutors, defense attorneys, police chiefs and law professors, took a closer look at the 2005 law and its ambiguous language. It allows citizens to use lethal force anywhere they are legally allowed to be to prevent death or great bodily harm. In a 21-page report, the panel pointed to overwhelming documentation of the laws use and more importantly, its abuse. The panel also urged a strict revision that would have sent Zimmerman into immediate police custody. Our goal is to prevent a system tantamount to lawlessness, where any person can, within a matter of seconds, render himself investigator, judge, jury and executioner, all in one, Smith said. Smith wanted his panels recommendations to be reviewed by the task force, but a spokesperson for Scott said it was not the place for public comment. Smith says he will sponsor a bill during the 2013 Florida Legislation that will make sure his groups recommendations get fair consideration. According to Brown, the Second Chance campaign has collected 340,000 signatures on petitions that ask for the Stand Your Ground law to be either revised or repealed. By D. Kevin McNeirkmcneir@miamitimesonline.com