Politics | WCTV Eyewitness News: Tallahassee, Thomasville, Valdosta

State Task Force Sticks By 'Stand Your Ground'

By: Matt Galka Email
By: Matt Galka Email

Florida Governor Rick Scott appointed a panel to look over Florida's gun laws including Stand Your Ground back in April of 2012. The task force released their final recommendations Friday.

The 45-page report ultimately recommended to keep the law. In it's core findings, the panel stated "All persons who are conducting themselves in a lawful manner have a fundamental right ot stand their ground and defend themselves from attack with proportionate force in ever place they have a lawful right to be."

Former NRA president Marion Hammer supported the panel's recommendations.

"Overwhelmingly the conclusion is the law is working fine. It doesn't need to be repealed or undone and it's a good law," said Hammer, who is now a NRA lobbyist.

But it doesn't sit well with everyone. Tallahassee activist group "The Dream Defenders" lobbied for youth representation on the Governor's panel. They say that George Zimmerman's stand your ground defense following the murder of teenager Trayvon Martin is an example of the negative impact the law has on minority youth.

"I'm very much disappointed but it's not surprising, it's up to students, it's up to youth, to organize and demand that this law is repealed because it's definitley a detriment to black and brown youth all over the state," said group member Michael Sampson.

The report did recommend some tweaks. They would like to see legislators review standards for neighborhood watch groups, including telling volunteers not to pursue potential suspects.


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