Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll has said that the task force commissioned to look into Florida’s controversial “stand your ground” law will make its decision based on facts, not emotions, says the Tampa Bay Times. But the 19-member task force learned Wednesday that those facts — like many stand your ground cases — can be difficult to pin down. A University of Florida professor presented a slew of data tracking trends in crime, gun ownership and tourism since the 2005, but ultimately concluded that no definitive connections could be made yet to the stand your ground law.
The data collected so far “is insufficient to provide a conclusion on this issue,” said professor Monique Haughton Worrell of the university’s law school. “It’s a complex issue, requiring complex analysis.” Since the law was enacted in 2005, he said, overall homicides have increased, “justifiable” homicides have doubled, applications for concealed weapons permits have tripled, and tourism has been flat. Worrell told task force members meeting in West Palm Beach that a more in-depth study would be needed before the university could determine a connection between stand your ground and crime rates, gun ownership or tourism in Florida. Gov. Rick Scott commissioned the task force in the wake of the February shooting death of teenager Trayvon Martin, 17, which thrust the state’s controversial gun laws into a national spotlight.