Florida Governor Says "Stand Your Ground" Law Special Session Won't Happen, as Protests Continue
Following days of demonstrations at the state capitol, Florida Gov. Rick Scott met Thursday night with protestors, and announced that a special session will not be called to change the state's "stand your ground" laws.
At least 30 protesters calling themselves the "Dream Defenders" marched on the Capitol Tuesday, refusing to leave the governor's office until the self-defense law is removed or modified. Scott met with six representatives from the group Thursday night, but refused to consider a special legislative session.
“Tonight, the protestors again asked that I call a special session of the Legislature to repeal Florida’s Stand Your Ground law. I told them that I agree with the Task Force on Citizen Safety and Protection, which concurred with the law. I also reminded them of their right to share their views with their state legislators and let them know their opinions on the law,” Scott stated.
The law has of course come under scrutiny after unarmed Trayvon Martin was shot by neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman. Zimmerman was in part acquitted for murder because of the law, which allows people in Florida to use force to defend themselves without any requirement to evade or retreat from a dangerous situation. In February, Scott appointed the task force re-examine the law—but the group concluded that the law "worked" and shouldn't be overturned.
The Dream Defenders remain unsatisfied, calling for more protests as of Friday morning.
"We’ve made a demand. We want that special session,” one of the protestors said.
Meanwhile, Florida Senate Democratic leaders Chris Smith and Perry Thurston are also calling for a special legislative session to reconsider the statute.
"This bill actually encourages people to shoot their way out of situations and that's not how we live in a civilized society," Smith told journalists.
Smith and Thurston have claimed that a ballot initiative might be a serious possibility if the state failed to change the law, and are certain that — following Zimmerman's acquittal — there would be enough signatures to put the issue on the ballot.
After the Dream Defenders meeting, Scott told the press he had spoken with Martin’s mother, and is calling for a statewide day of prayer "for unity" on Sunday.