Proposed Law Will Close "Stand Your Ground" Loophole, State Senator Says

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Sen. Chris Smith
State Sen. Chris Smith (D-Fort Lauderdale) announced Monday that he was introducing legislation that would close a loophole in Florida's Stand Your Ground law.

It would prevent people from using it as a defense if they left a place of safety or chased someone, and it would also create "reasonable guidelines" for neighborhood watch officers (cough, George Zimmerman, cough).

This is the so-called "Stand Your Ground" law -- Florida Statute 776.013:

A person who is not engaged in an unlawful activity and who is attacked in any other place where he or she has a right to be has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly force if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.

But critics of the law have pointed out that, if there are no witnesses, a shooter could lie and make up any story so a Stand Your Ground defense would fit.

"This law is neither working as intended nor protecting those it was intended to protect," Smith said in a statement.

Smith said his bill, SB 122, would stop "gang members, angry neighbors, and any other violent individuals from initiating deadly confrontations and then -- barring a witness -- claiming immunity from prosecution under Stand Your Ground. The 'Last Man Standing' escape hatch would finally close with the passage of this legislation."

From his news release:

Under Senator Smith's bill, the law "implies no license for the initiation of a confrontation," and immunity for anyone resorting to deadly force would not be allowed if the individual left a place of safety, or chased someone down. An aggressor who resorted to deadly force would need to prove that all reasonable means consistent with their safety to avoid danger had been used, and that steps were taken to avoid "taking a human life."

Additional provisions include lifting the restrictions on law enforcement's ability to investigate the use of force and the issuance of "reasonable guidelines" for neighborhood crime watch patrols and participants.

Pointing to another version of the bill rejected by the Republicans in the 2013 legislative session, Sen. Smith noted that SB 122 also contained a number of GOP-backed recommendations to fix acknowledged problems in the current Stand Your Ground statutes.

If there were no witnesses to a shooting incident, it's unclear how Smith's proposed law will help determine who was the aggressor.

In any case, the state Legislature doesn't meet until spring 2014, so we'll see if any other proposals come up.



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7 comments
Danny Morin
Danny Morin

Why not? Why it his responsibility to pay for the states mistake?

Danny Morin
Danny Morin

Considering he was acquitted of all charges he should be paid back.

Joe Mason
Joe Mason

and now he wants his donated legal fund money back and wants the Florida tax payers to pay for it but he had plenty of money to buy Assault rifles last week

Danny Morin
Danny Morin

Oh look, another article about stand your ground that has little to do with stand your ground. *cough*George Zimmerman was not guilty due to self defense not stand your ground *cough*

Joe Mason
Joe Mason

Good luck with A Republican tea party controlled legislator and A Republican Governor wishful thinking

FredF
FredF

there was a case about a year before Zimmerman.  old white guy (in a  gated HOA) bikes up to 2 blacks inside the HOA gate, and he stops to ask them a question.  (video was posted on WSVN and SS), 

They beat the old guy, then robbed him.  (sucker punched then kicked on the ground). 


-because the old guy 'left his place of safety'  he would have no SYG protections?  

did I get that right?   



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