In Editorial, Tampa Bay Times Call for Repeal of ‘Stand Your Ground’ Law


In an editorial, the Tampa Bay Times is calling for repeal of Florida’s “stand your ground” law. The paper says the law “should be titled the Criminals Relief Act. When the controversial law was enacted in 2005, law enforcement officials warned it would be invoked by people prone to violence and mayhem. Seven years later, it’s clear those fears have been realized. Gang members, drug dealers, domestic abusers and other criminals have walked away from killings thanks to ‘stand your ground,’ and it’s clearer than ever that the law should be repealed.”

The paper says lawmakers who want to retain the law “are putting politics over sound public policy and the safety of Floridians.” A Tampa Bay Times analysis of more than 100 fatal “stand your ground” cases found that nearly 60 percent of people claiming the self-defense legal protection had been previously arrested, and one in three were accused of a violent crime. All told, 119 people who invoked “stand your ground” after killing someone had been arrested 327 times. The law came to the public’s attention after neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman invoked it after killing Trayvon Martin, an unarmed teenager. The paper says the law “will disproportionately absolve people quick to anger, who tend toward violence.”

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