Florida Senate Advances Changes In Stand Your Ground Law

Tallahassee_Old_and_New_CapitolsUPDATE: Florida Hearing On Repeal Of Stand Your Ground Is Nov. 7th

For the first time since neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman’s acquittal in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, Florida’s Senate held a hearing on changes to the state’s controversial stand-your-ground law, and new guidelines for deadly force and self-defense by neighborhood watch groups were approved with a vote of 7-2

The Judiciary Committee hearing was held Tuesday on Senate Bills 130 , regarding deadly force, filed by Senator David Simmons (R-Altamonte Springs) and SB122, regarding self-defense, filed in August by Senator Chris Smith (D-Fort Lauderdale).

The two bills were combined into one, as SB130, by an amendment passed at the hearing. Simmons was one of the authors of Florida’s original infamous stand-your-ground law. The bill still has to go through three more hoops before it reaches the House: the Criminal Justice, Community Affairs, and Rules Committees.

The combined SB130  requires county sheriff or municipal police departments to issue guidelines for neighborhood crime watch programs. It gives guidelines on deadly force, providing that a person who is justified in using force is immune from criminal prosecution and civil action initiated by the person against whom the force was used; and providing that any reason, including immunity, used by an aggressor to justify the use of force is not available to the aggressor under specified circumstances.

state of florida senate emblem

The self-defense part allows police to authorize a person to use force, but not deadly force, in defense of property, providing that person is immune from civil action brought by whoever the force is used against, and providing that a law enforcement agency’s right is not restricted in investigating the use of force on which an immunity claim is based. The law also gives the Department of Law Enforcement power to collect, process, maintain, and disseminate information and data on all incidents concerning alleged justifiable use of force in Florida.

The legislation faces an uphill battle within the House of Representatives in the state known for underhanded politics. State Representative Matt Gaetz (R-Fort Walton Beach) was selected as Chairman of any House review, and has been infamously quoted as saying he will not change “one damn comma” in the state’s stand-your-ground law. And so far, every effort to change the law has been blocked.

Meanwhile, any Florida House hearing on HB 4003, the bill to repeal stand your ground, filed in August by State Representative Alan Williams (D-Tallahassee), will not take place this month, since Williams would not be available to attend due to other commitments.

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9 thoughts on “Florida Senate Advances Changes In Stand Your Ground Law

  1. If that is your reasoning (i.e. time to stop this law that has been misused and abused”) is a faulty logical argument! There are plenty of laws that our federal government misuses and abuses, not to mention state laws NATIONWIDE!
    Furthermore, the Trayvon Martin case was not won nor do it have anything to do with “Stand Your Ground”, it was argued and won on strictly SELF DEFENSE! Do your research and stop relying on the media to inform you of what really happened. I am not saying that what occurred was okay, to the contrary, it was a shame, however, there is nothing legally wrong with the law, it’s interpretation is faulty, but that is no excuse nor is it a valid logical argument with which to utilize to abolish a piece of legislation that extends the “Castle doctrine”. It gives a person the right to defend themselves if threatened, so you can save your own life and not be a victim.
    Also, you are committing a red herring when stating “elect non-whites”, RACE has nothing to do with this, so stop the logical fallacies people.

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    1. All laws are subjected to faulty interpretation, and to be misused and abused. That goes for all laws NATIONWIDE. To state that a good piece of legislation needs to be abolished because of its inherent ability to be misused and abused, then by your reasoning, all laws need to be abolished. It is not the law that is the problem, nor was it ever argued in court, SELF-DEFENSE was argued and was how the case was won. The Stand Your Ground Law had nothing to do with the case. Read the case law as it is public record.
      The media kept misinforming people about that. Do your research please.

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      1. Christopher, some laws can cause more damage than others. In my opinion, this one is causing death. I understand your point I just can’t buy into it. Shall we agree to disagree. I do dislike conflict.

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