Florida Needs to Consider Changes to “Stand Your Ground” Law: Miami Herald


A handful of Democratic legislators, standing beside Trayvon Martin's mother, have proposed to repeal Florida's Stand Your Ground law. The law, approved in 2005, got national attention last year after the unarmed Miami teen was fatally shot in Sanford by neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman. The Miami Herald says in an editorial that the proposal to repeal the law has a remote chance in a Republican controlled Legislature, especially in the current, highly charged gun control debate gripping the nation. The newspaper says there are other proposals to scale back the self-defense statute which was meant to allow people who fear for their lives to use deadly force.

The law is written so vaguely that judges have been forced to set free criminals who used Stand Your Ground as a defense. Gov. Rick Scott has said that reviewing gun laws is “the right thing to do.” House and Senate leaders should make sure these bills get a full airing. It's the least the Legislature can do. As the nation embarks on a reexamination of U.S. gun laws after the Newtown slaughter, the Herald says Florida has an obligation to reconsider the Stand Your Ground law. The Herald says Florida was the second state to pass such a law, helping to lead the way on the issue, “and with leadership comes responsibility. Many law enforcement officers say the law has been inconsistently applied. In Trayvon Martin's case and others yet to come, the clarity of this law really is a life or death matter.”

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