Friday, March 30, 2012

It's Time For Florida Move To Amend The Stand Your Ground Statute

Are Florida legislators taking the hint about the mess with Stand Your Ground that were exposed by the Tayvon Martin death at the hands of George Zimmerman and moving to act to modify/amend/repeal it?

Thus far, the Senate has not considered any changes - the 2005 items were the enacting/amending legislation imposing SYG.

No action in the House either.

The Florida Statute that needs to be addressed is Fla. Stat. Sec. 776.012.

If you're a Florida resident and want to see this law changed, this is where you've got to put pressure on legislators to change the SYG law to give civilians no greater rights to use firearms than law enforcement (as it stands, a civilian could shoot someone in cold blood and claim self defense and not even be charged unless there's probable cause - and even then, prosecutors are showing themselves unwilling or incapable of doing so, but a police officer in the same situation would likely find themselves assigned to desk duty, brought up on charges of police misconduct, and face potential civil damages cases too).

It's one thing to stand your ground on your own property or in your own home. It's quite another for someone to do so on a public street or byway or park. And it has the potential to put more than those involved in the incident at risk. At a minimum, the law should be amended such that a person is not entitled to SYG if they initiate the contact or thereafter chase after the person.

The fact is that law enforcement was opposed to this legislation at the outset and the legislature enacted it over their objections. We're now seeing the results of that disastrous choice, and it is past time for Florida to rectify the situation. It may not bring back Tayvon Martin, but it could spare others who are killed under similar circumstances.

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