Stand your ground repeal bill filed

George Zimmerman speaks to an unidentified investigator at the scene of Trayvon Martin's fatal shooting a day later giving police a blow-by-blow account of his fight with the teen. The Feb. 27, 2012, image was taken from a Sanford Police video posted on a website called gzlegalcase.com by Zimmerman's defense team. On the tape, Zimmerman did a reenactment of the scuffle with Martin in the moments before he shot the 17-year-old from Miami. (AP Photo/Sanford Police video via Zimmerman Defense Team)

George Zimmerman speaks to an unidentified investigator at the scene of Trayvon Martin's fatal shooting a day later giving police a blow-by-blow account of his fight with the teen. The Feb. 27, 2012, image was taken from a Sanford Police video posted on a website called gzlegalcase.com by Zimmerman's defense team. On the tape, Zimmerman did a reenactment of the scuffle with Martin in the moments before he shot the 17-year-old from Miami. (AP Photo/Sanford Police video via Zimmerman Defense Team)

George Zimmerman during a court hearing Thursday April 12, 2012, in Sanford, Fla. Zimmerman has been charged with second-degree murder in the shooting death of the 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. (AP Photo/Gary W. Green, Orlando Sentinel, Pool)

George Zimmerman during a court hearing Thursday April 12, 2012, in Sanford, Fla. Zimmerman has been charged with second-degree murder in the shooting death of the 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. (AP Photo/Gary W. Green, Orlando Sentinel, Pool)

TALLAHASSEE — The controversial "stand your ground" self-defense law would be repealed under a bill filed this week by a House Democrat.

The law, which allows those who feel threatened to shoot back at assailants out in public, seized the national spotlight last year with the February shooting death of Trayvon Martin in Sanford, north of Orlando.

Rep. Alan Williams, D-Tallahassee, filed the measure on Wednesday.

The death of the unarmed 17-year-old Martin at the hands of a neighborhood watch volunteer under disputed circumstances raised questions about when and where Florida residents are allowed to shoot each other in light of the law, which says force can be met with force with no duty to first retreat.

In the Martin death, authorities arrested neighborhood watchman, George Zimmerman, and charged him with murder. He plans to try to use the "stand your ground" defense."

After the case drew national attention, Gov. Rick Scott tapped a task force that examined the law for nearly a year, but its draft report offered few major changes. Williams, however, said the stand your ground law has failed.

"In several cases, it's given individuals the ability to hide behind this law, when going out and carrying out acts of violence, especially in several cases of deadly acts of violence," he said.

Williams said the bill has no Senate sponsor yet, but several lawmakers are considering taking it on. In his own chamber, Williams will have to get the bill past Rep. Dennis Baxley, R-Ocala, who chairs the House Judiciary Committee. Baxley co-sponsored the self-defense law in 2005 and sat on the Scott task force. He has often said that the law was never intended to protect those who pursue their victims.

Attempts to reach Baxley for comment were unsuccessful.

"I'm hopeful that Chair Baxley will give this bill the light of day if it gets to that point," Williams said.

Zimmerman's trial is set for June. His case became something of a rallying cry for gun-rights supporters, who donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to Zimmerman's defense fund.

© 2013 marconews.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Discuss
  • Print

Comments » 0

Be the first to post a comment!

Share your thoughts

Comments are the sole responsibility of the person posting them. You agree not to post comments that are off topic, defamatory, obscene, abusive, threatening or an invasion of privacy. Violators may be banned. Click here for our full user agreement.

Comments can be shared on Facebook and Yahoo!. Add both options by connecting your profiles.

Features