Tallahassee, FL -- March 27, 2012 --
Wearing a hoodie over his shirt and tie, Representative Dwight Bullard joined House members in a moment of silence for Trayvon Martin. Martin was killed February 26th while walking through a Sanford neighborhood wearing a hooded sweatshirt.
“We continue to morn his untimely death and search for answers,” said Rep. Dwayne Taylor.
His shooter, 28 year-old George Zimmerman, is claiming self-defense. The case has sparked debate over Florida’s Stand Your Ground Law, with House Democrats calling for changes to the self-defense statute.
“You can not balance the cost of life, the loss of life against the cost of a special session,” said Rep. Darryl Rouson.
“Someone had mentioned waiting until after the election. That’s totally inappropriate,” said Rep. Perry Thurston.
The number of justifiable homicides has nearly tripled since Stand Your Ground became law in 2005. Representative Dennis Baxley sponsored the bill. He says the number of self-defense shootings has risen because Floridians feel more empowered to protect themselves.
“I think those numbers reflect that the statute works, that in those circumstances when a person is under violent attack they are able to turn the situation around,” said Baxley.
Baxley says Stand Your Ground should not apply in the Martin case, based on what he’s heard. But new information leaked by police suggests Martin may have been beating Zimmerman just seconds before he shot and killed the teen.
As House Democrats continue their calls for a special session to review stand your ground, Republicans want to wait until all the facts behind Martin’s death are revealed before deciding how to move forward.