Florida Finally to Review "Stand Your Ground" Law, Sorta
Ok, so it's not quite a repeal, but it's still something. Florida legislators announced Friday that hearings will be held later this fall to address the state's controversial "Stand Your Ground" law, which was instrumental in the acquittal of George Zimmerman last month.
Florida House Speaker Will Weatherford reportedly instructed Matt Gaetz, chairman of the Criminal Justice Subcommittee, to have a committee hearing to address recent concerns over the self-defense law. The law — which allows people to use deadly force to defend themselves — came under intense scrutiny after two jurors said they felt compelled to acquit Zimmerman of Trayvon Martin's death because of it.
Protests have been held across the U.S. calling for a special session to review or repeal the decree, and even the President has voiced concern over the law.
"Across Florida, representatives are receiving calls, letters, visits and emails from constituents with diverse opinions on 'Stand Your Ground,'" Weatherford said. "Passions are high, but every person has the right to express their views on this matter of great importance."
According to Gaetz, the hearing will allow people to discuss the decree, and members of the subcommittee will be welcome to put forward proposals for modifications -- but he won't back any of them.
“I don’t intend to move one damn comma on the ‘stand your ground’ law,” Gaetz said. “I’m fully supportive of the law as it’s written. I think any aberrational circumstances that have resulted are due to errors at the trial court level."Gaetz isn't alone; supporters of the law are still surprisingly numerous. According to a Quinnipac University poll released Friday, over half of the U.S. favored the Stand Your Ground law -- although most of those people were white and male. Shockingly, only 37 percent of black individuals were in favor of the law. Protestors called the Dream Defenders, who have been camped out in the Florida state house pretty much since Zimmerman's acquittal, are nonetheless celebrating the small victory.