WUFT News

After Holder’s Speech, “Stand Your Ground” Laws Are Again In The Spotlight

By and on July 17th, 2013

Florida’s “stand your ground” law continues to be debated across the country following the not guilty verdict for George Zimmerman.

Florida’s law was the first of its kind in the nation, and many other states have followed in the years since. The stand your ground law states people have the right to use deadly force to defend themselves when in fear of “imminent peril of death or great bodily harm…”

While delivering a speech this week at the NAACP Convention in Orlando, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder encouraged attendees to take a stand against stand your ground-style laws.

But other lawmakers say they feel instead of changing the law, the nation needs to promote a less violent society.

Jimmie Smith, Republican state representative in Citrus and part of Hernando counties, said legislators want people to be able to defend themselves.

“The stand your ground law gives you the right to not have to flee a situation. So if somebody breaks into your home, you do not have to run. If somebody tries to take your car, you can stand and defend yourself,” said Smith.

State Rep. Dennis Baxley (R-Ocala) speaks Wednesday in the WUFT newsroom.

Ethan Magoc / WUFT News

State Rep. Dennis Baxley (R-Ocala) speaks Wednesday in the WUFT newsroom.

Although Smith is not surprised  some would like the government to reevaluate these laws, he hopes they will remain unchanged. Dennis Baxley, Republican state representative from Ocala, co-authored Florida’s law in 2005. Baxley said the law has become a political football that has put the U.S. attorney general under a great deal of pressure to do something.

“I’m very disturbed by the fact that we are playing that as a race discussion when this is truly about respect for human life and what will keep our people safe,” said Baxley.

Baxley said he wouldn’t be surprised if lawmakers introduce new bills during the next legislative session to make possible changes in the law.

Meanwhile in Tallahassee, members of the group Dream Defenders have been holding a sit-in outside Gov. Rick Scott’s office pushing for changes to the stand your ground law.

“There are tons of things going on in our state that just disproportionately affect people of color,” said Nailah Summers, University of Florida Dream Defenders president.

Summers said the Dream Defenders do not plan to leave until Scott hears their concerns.

Baxley said he’s aware of the Dream Defenders and others’ concerns about the law.

Still, he said, “you don’t build policy just on that kind of emotion.”

Two interviews with Baxley, one long and one short, can be heard below.


This entry was posted in Politics and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.
 

More Stories in Politics

Feds Take Aim at Scott ‘LIP’ Lawsuit

Federal officials filed documents Monday responding to a lawsuit by Gov. Rick Scott. The suit says the federal government “engaged in unconstitutional coercion” to make Florida expand its Medicaid program, while federal officials say this is a baseless claim.


Florida Advances To Online Voting Registration

Gov. Rick Scott signed a bill that would implement an online voter registration system for Florida. The system is planned to be in place by 2017.


Lopez-Cantera ‘Strongly Considering’ Senate Bid

Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera publicly confirmed Saturday that he is considering running for U.S. Senate in 2016. He announced his possible candidacy at the executive board meeting during the Republican Party of Florida’s quarterly meeting at the Rosen Centre Hotel in Orlando.


Florida’s_Historic_Capitol_and_Florida_State_Capitol_2

Governor Scott Signs 28 Bills Into Law This Week

Governor Rick Scott signed almost three dozen bills into law this week. The new laws address issues ranging from revenge porn to the use of drones.


Marijuana graph

County Commissioners Discuss Misdemeanor Marijuana Issues

The Alachua County Sheriff’s Office performed a case study on marijuana charges from 2013 to 2014. Its findings sparked discussion about the appropriate response to stand-alone misdemeanor marijuana charges during Alachua County Commissioners meeting Tuesday.


Thank you for your support

WUFT depends on the support of our community — people like you — to help us continue to provide quality programming to North Central Florida.
Become a Sustainer
I want to support FM 89.1/NPR
I want to support Florida's 5/PBS
Donate a Vehicle
Underwriting Payments