Senator pushes for Stand Your Ground review, warns of ‘a lot more’ cases like Trayvon Martin’s
Florida Sen. Chris Smith, D-Fort Lauderdale, called the the state’s controversial Stand Your Ground law ambiguous on CNN this morning.
“How many other homeowners associations guards are going to ride around thinking, ‘OK, this is a good thing; I can carry a gun and I can patrol my streets’?” Smith asked this morning on CNN’s Newsroom.
“How many people in the streets of Florida are going to think, ‘Hey, we have this great Stand Your Ground law; I can pick a fight at the Miami Dolphins game, and when someone approaches me aggressivley I can shoot them’?” Smith added.
“Until we let Floridians know the parameters of our civilized society, I think there is chance of a lot more instances” similar to the shooting of Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Fla., earlier this month,” Smith said.
Newsroom reported Thursday that Gov. Rick Scott said Stand Your Ground can only be reviewed after the Martin case has been resolved.
Roland Martin, a syndicated columnist and CNN contributor, said that Scott should be “ashamed of himself,” adding that “lawmakers shouldn’t wait for a task force to begin to examine the Stand Your Ground law.”
Martin told lawmakers: “You do not need to wait for the governor to act. … Lawmakers, you passed it. You deal with it. Don’t wait for a task force to look at it a year from now.”
In a letter to Scott issued Wednesday, Sen. Smith wrote: “I was extremely disappointed in the reported response to my letter of yesterday, requesting that you expedite the convening of the special task force you first proposed to ‘thoroughly review Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law and any other laws, rules, regulations or programs that relate to public safety and citizen protection’ and to empower the Legislature to act.”
Smith’s letter adds: “Governor, my request to expedite the task force is not just about Trayvon Martin or skittles and iced tea. It is about the ambiguity of a highly contentious law that since 2005 has left a string of killings throughout Florida and the invocation of ‘stand your ground’ as a shield of immunity from prosecution.”
“For the sake of public safety, let the Task Force immediately begin theirs and empower the Legislature to act,” concludes Smith’s letter.
Read the letter in full here: