The Future of Florida’s Stand Your Ground Law

Trayvon Martin-George Zimmerman case of 2012-2013.   After all, Florida law had always recognized the right of self defense in the home under the “Castle Doctrine” from the seventeen century decree.  Protection outside the home was based on common sense law: if threatened with serious bodily harm one had the right to protect oneself and others if retreat appeared impossible.  So, little concern was expressed when the NRA and the relentless NRA lobbyist Marion Hammer pushed “Stand Your Ground” legislation through both houses of the Florida Congress.

Longstanding Law Without Recognition:

It seemed as if nothing had really changed.  That is until the highly emotional reaction to the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the killing of Trayvon Martin.  But calls for review of the controversial law are falling on deaf ears.  Florida politicians claim “Stand Your Ground” has had no effect on the campaign trail.  However, it is a little early to determine that since the Martin-Zimmerman trial just ended.  Republican Florida Governor Rick Scott, influenced by the recent poll of fifty percent of Floridians still supporting “Stand Your Ground” while expressing dismay with the acquittal, refuses to review the legislation.  And the governor may be on solid ground.  Factors against review stand in his favor.

Florida Legislature:

New business of the Florida legislature has concluded for the year.  Not until 2014 will any new business be listed on the docket. A special session needs to be convened for a special review of “Stand Your Ground.”  A call for such a session by a minority like the Democrats is nearly impossible.   Democrats need a super majority of three-fifths of all the one hundred and fifty-nine sitting Florida legislators.   Not only is such a threshold required, but it has to be reached by September 2, 2013, before work begins in Tallahassee on September 23, 2013, with business already on the docket.  The prospect of convening a special session is not viable in Florida history of special sessions.  Since Florida’s constitution of 1885, a special session by legislative vote has never occurred.

Political Change Need To Address Changes With The Law:

The Florida legislature is Republican dominated.  The Governor’s office is Republican.  “Stand Your Ground,” the child of the NRA, is Republican legislation.  The Democrats who call for review have insignificant influence.  “Stand Your Ground” law will remain until Republicans decide otherwise. As such, anyone using “Stand Your Ground” for defense is advised to contact a Washington County criminal defense lawyer or an attorney in any county where they are charged in order to protect their rights.

The right to bear arms is a steadfast principle held by most Floridians as well as most Americans.  In this age of 9/11, it has become more unwavering.  The NRA, whose basic principle is the right to bear arms, is a potent force in Florida politics.  There are one and one-half million gun owners in the state of Florida.  That is a lot of votes. Since Florida is a gun lenient state, that number of voters will continue to grow and become an even effective determiner in Florida politics.

Florida voters have short memories.  Keeping emotions high for five months are almost impossible in politics.  The future of Florida in intertwined with “Stand Your Ground.”  Until public opinion changes, and that is very doubtful, Florida and “Stand Your Ground” will remain one.

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