(courtesy bme.com)

“Florida lawmakers late Thursday voted down a bill to repeal the ‘stand your ground’ law linked to the shooting death of teenager Trayvon Martin,” orlandosentinel.com reports. “The 11-2 vote in the House Criminal Justice Subcommittee likely kills any repeal effort in the Legislature this year. But a separate Senate measure still pending could revise the self-defense law first passed in 2005.” Oh great. Strangely (i.e. not) the tussle over SYG divides along party lines . . .

“The evidence is overwhelming that ‘stand your ground’ keeps Floridians safer,” Gaetz said, adding that most state residents support the law . . .

The stand your ground law … is not working,” said Rep. Alan Williams, D-Tallahassee, who sponsored the repeal bill (HB 4003) . . .

“Stand your ground” enables people who perceive a threat to use deadly force without first trying to retreat from a confrontation. It is far more lenient than the widely adopted Castle Doctrine, which allows people to defend themselves in their homes.

Do these people know nothing about the natural right to self-defense or are they willfully ignorant? I’m thinking yes. Unfortunately, the mainstream media covering this “debate” are equally clueless about the actual law and its actual effects with actual people.

Though he did not claim “stand your ground” as a defense at trial, Zimmerman’s earlier assertion of the law caused massive protests and demonstrations, and the verdict prompted a 31-day sit-in at the Capitol by the Dream Defenders group during the summer.

What earlier assertion might that be? At no point did Zimmerman claim SYG as a defense. And how about this:

The Senate bill would require sheriffs and city police departments to set guidelines for Neighborhood Watch programs such as the one Zimmerman participated in and to restrict members to observing and reporting suspected crimes.

The bill also would prohibit people who are the aggressors in confrontations from then claiming “stand your ground” immunity.

And it would specify that law enforcement must conduct a full investigation in shootings even if the law is claimed as a defense — a change spurred by the Sanford Police Department’s claim that it couldn’t do so in the Zimmerman case.

One of the Senate bill’s more controversial provisions would allow lawsuits against people acting in self-defense if they negligently injure or kill an innocent bystander.

Weatherford called the task-force recommendations “helpful.” But he added that House leaders were undecided whether they would consider the Senate bill if it passes that chamber.

“We’re always open to discussion,” he said. “We’ll wait and see how it progresses over there before making a determination.”

I wasn’t aware that the aggressor in a confrontation could claim SYG immunity. And if he or she did, a claim does not an adjudication make. As for the removal of civil immunity for a defensive shot or shots gone wrong, well . . . that’s a tough one. I tell you what. As soon as police officers can be sued for collateral damage from bullets gone astray we’ll hold non-LEOs to the same standard. Fair’s fair right? [h/t SS]

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36 Responses to BREAKING: FL Subcommittee Turns Its Back On Stand Your Ground Repeal

  1. In SC we don’t have stand your ground. Instead, we have a duty to retreat from certain places, mainly out in the public on a street or in a store, if doing so won’t increase your danger. We don’t need to try to escape first in our home, car, place of business or club.

    Personally I don’t see why someone would not try to get away before using deadly force. Pulling a gun is a tool of last resort. But who am I to judge?

    And the funny thing is Zimmerman was classic self defense. He was being assaulted and if this was in SC he couldn’t retreat.

    • The issue is that before the SYG law, there was no good, easy to understand and universally applicable guidance that you could base your reaction on, in a highstress situation. So you would never know if you were allowed to protect yourself or if you would go to prison if you pulled your gun.
      That gives the bad guys an unfair advantage, as they didn’t have to recite state law to determine their next move in a deadly encounter that lasts less than 2 mins.

      While SYG could benefit from better language, fundamentally it is sound.

    • You SC folks must be able to out run thugs and bullets better than us 40 something Florida guys. Wait, do you leave your wives and daughters behind?

      • Would I be in more danger if I had to pick up a kid and start running? Retreating is not an option there so it’s fine.

        • Duty to retreat only applies if you can retreat safely. If wife and kids are with you, and they might be in danger than you have no such duty to retreat.

          The problem is the presumption. In court you have the burden to prove that you couldn’t retreat. With stand your ground laws you need not prove that you could safely retreat.

    • The problem with duty to retreat (DTR) laws is that they go against human instinct. A main human instinct is the “fight or flight” reaction. When threatened, we will do one of the two. What DTR laws do is remove the immediate “fight” option, forcing you to first consider retreating, even if that goes against your immediate instinct. While SYG laws do not stop you from retreating, DTR laws do stop you from fighting back, at least until you have either tried to retreat, or have assessed your situation as unescapable. Either way, SYG laws allow you to make the choice to fight or retreat, while DTR laws make the choice for you.

    • SC stand your ground law

      A person who is not engaged in an unlawful activity and who is attacked in another place where he has a right to be, including, but not limited to, his place of business, has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his ground and meet force with force, including deadly force, if he reasonably believes it is necessary to prevent death or great bodily injury to himself or another person or to prevent the commission of a violent crime as defined in Section 16–1–60.

  2. “Stand your ground” enables people who perceive a threat to use deadly force without first trying to retreat from a confrontation…”

    There was time when you could legally duel to the death because of feeling dishonored or insulted. Now we are expected to run away or cower when threatened or attacked? Harden the f*ck up, America.

  3. I just read the Florida statute and it states that the use of force is not justified if the person initially provoked the use of force against himself, UNLESS he believes the force against him (that he provoked) is so great that he is in danger of death or great bodily harm.

    So let me get this straight. In Florida, I could pick a fight with someone twice my size. Then when that person starts to beat the sh@t out of me, I would be justified in pulling out a gun and killing him.

    That’s a little ambiguous, don’t you think?

    • “…That’s a little ambiguous, don’t you think?”

      No.

      If your life is in danger you are allowed to defend yourself.

      The Stand Your Ground laws don’t actually have anything to do with the guy twice your size kicking your ass after you tried to kick his. The Law is designed so that after the event your actions aren’t second guessed by a bunch of people who weren’t there and don’t have any emotional or physical association with the event.

      Here is the ‘ferinstance….

      That guy twice your size is about to kill you. You manage to draw on center mass and shoot. Nine months later and sitting in a court room the lawyer points at his nice big print out of the scene and asks “why didn’t you just run away? Why didn’t you just duck out the back door right there (pointing at the exit that was five feet away from where you were standing)?”

      After the fact it is easy to see you could have done any number of other things. In the heat of the moment not so much.

      That is what Stand Your Ground is all about. You don’t have lawyers and attorneys and public opinion questioning you about why didn’t you do this instead. Or why didn’t you do that instead. That is what Stand Your Ground is all about. That is the ambiguity that is removed.

    • You can attempt to disengage from the fight. Just because you started a fight doesn’t mean you have to let someone kill you. Furthermore, several of the ~ 117 SYG cases involving a death, weren’t with guns. There have been knives, icepicks and several other weapons.

      I am not sure what is ambiguous because section (3) of SYG says “who is attacked.”

      http://www.leg.state.fl.us/statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0700-0799/0776/Sections/0776.013.html

      • We have similar wording in CT that says something along the lines of if you initiated or provoke an attack or confrontation you are not justified in using deadly force in self defense. It goes on to say that if you made a reasonable effort to disengage or remove yourself from said confrontation is made, you are then justified in the use of deadly force to prevent death or grievous bodily harm.

        The law gives you an out but I would never expect that to be enough in this day and age where prosecutors are overzealous about pursuing prosecution in self defense cases. What one wouldn’t see a case where a guy started a fight, killed the other guy, then claimed self defense? It sounds like a sure win for them. It seems to me that it would just come down to being portrayed to the jury as he started the fight looking for trouble. Its basically the same thing that they tried with GZ, it just so happened to work out ok for him. I wouldn’t expect similar results in CT.

        I also fail to see a situation where you need to go around starting fights, or ‘confrontations’ but both of those terms are ambiguous. Does fight mean fisticuffs or does it mean oral arguments?

        • That’s the thing, CT has the foundations for SYG and Castle Doctrine but the current state of our legislature and executive office would never amend the laws to be more user friendly. So the guy who wants to stay on the right side of the law is met with gray areas and we end up with confusing crap that would need to be fleshed out in court. I’m sure there are cases that would support an interpretation of many of our laws one way or the other but no one has the time to play amateur legal scholar to that extent and even if they did, one or two cases does not guarantee application or interpretation in the same manner. At the end of the day, we need our laws made clearer and I have been telling this to my representatives for a few years now but none care. And I’m not even talking about the shit show that is our new AWB.

          I like FL’s laws for this reason. I like NH’s laws even more for this reason. Simple, easy to understand, concise, and clear. How any law should be regardless if it is a gun law or not.

    • BTW, the statute you are referring to is not 776.013 which is the Castle Doctrine and section (3) being the SYG part.

    • Not ambiguous at all. Let’s look at the Trayvon Martin case, and pretend George Zimmerman started the fight. Trayvon Martin was straddling him on the ground, and bashing his head on the ground.

      Once the initial aggressor is no longer a threat, the once-victim has no right to continue beating him to death, any more than someone would have the right to shoot a prone criminal.

  4. They also voted to advance a bill that would allow defensive brandishing. Under current law, its ambigious, at best, that brandishing without shooting is covered like shooting in self defense. I was following a play by play on Florida Carry’s Facebook page earlier today. A solid day for gun rights in Florida.

      • Yep. The way the law is written, if I pull a gun in self defense and don’t fire (like maybe I can’t get a clear shot or even if I wanted to just ward off a threat and not fire) I can be charged with brandishing a firearm under Florida law. Specifically the use of force for self defense is allowed, but not the threat of force. HB 89 extends the current self defense statutes to also cover threat of force, allowing for brandishing in self defense.

        For the record, I’ve never had to draw and I pray I never will, but if I do, it will be to fire. But the law should not punish those who draw to defend, but never pull a trigger.

  5. “Do these people know nothing about the natural right to self-defense or are they willfully ignorant?”

    Neither. They are adroit political sycophants.

  6. One of the Senate bill’s more controversial provisions would allow lawsuits against people acting in self-defense if they negligently injure or kill an innocent bystander.

    Hmmm…probably no provision for perp to be open to litigation if said perp hits an “innocent bystander,” let alone the victim.

  7. This bill never really had a snowball’s chance, beyond letting Dem politicians tell their constituents they were “doing something.” Still, it’s good to see it shot down. If the Senate bill makes it out, look to see the same thing happen to it.

    • True, but bills like this rarely even get as far as sub-committee. Most never get a co-sponsor and never get assigned. I’m hoping that this got this far only on the recentness of the Zimmerman trial and the false association SYG had with it.

  8. All I had to see is that Dan Williams is a Socialist,read that Democrat,and that explained why he wants to repeal the SYG law.I bet he is anti-gun,and vowed when he ran for office that he would try to bring supposedly called Gun Violence a new buzz word for the Antis to call gun control,but really is people control,to a stop,yeah like the citizens can really stop politicians corruption without armed resistance.Be prepared and ready.Keep your powder dry.

    • If you mean Alan Williams, he has a ccw license. I have talked to him about this subject. He is actually a nice guy but the problem is he seems to be set on this anti gun stuff. The other thing is he doesn’t live in his district. Even when he ran for office, he didn’t live there.

  9. Rep. Williams is nothing but a thief and a scoundrel. He uses the Dream Defender protesters for his own ulterior motive. He and his ilk can go choke on a box of used needles. In typical socialistic fashion he claims to defend the poor yet makes millions off them. He is arrogant, cocky, rude, and racist.

    • I had a back and forth with a tally TV reporter last night and his excuse is the Dream Pretenders are a lobby group and liberals, moderates and conservatives are allowed to have their Lobby groups. I pointed out to him that his station has been passing them off as grass roots when they are astro turf.

  10. Prior to 2005 ..and under democratic leadership for many years ..if you were attacked YOU ..HAD to retreat weather you could or not even if you were injured..YOU still had to retreat…….and if you shot the attacker…YOU would be arrested and then would have to incur legal costs and such ..just to prove YOU were the victim and were not guilty of anything…and remember YOU were the one being ATTACKED….2005…Stand your ground…took away the progressive mandate to RETREAT when attacked by anyone……NOW the progressive mindset is back at all levels of our society…and we are seeing the carnage and damage to this nation…as IT ‘progresses’……..self-defense is Creator given….no man or woman can ‘legislate’ it away..even though they always try……..Semper Fi

  11. Hey all, just a reminder…this state is moving to the left and if we are plagued with a flipper rino independent career politician liar…crist…and many of his ilk that become elected then we are going to be faced with many decisions as I have had to make since living in S.Fl since the forties….the progressives will leave you no choice but to Nullify their insane ‘laws’..on a personal and daily basis…and maybe even from a cell….this is a fact…..just a reminder, that you can NEVER agree to anything they say…NEVER….Semper Fi

    • It’s coming, mark your words….

      It’s going to happen as elsewhere. The Big cities first which hold all the “voters”

      There is no stopping this.

  12. IMO, you have no “duty to retreat” ever. If you are minding your own business as a citizen and some punk confronts you and is threatening you with serious bodily injury and/or death, you have every right in the world to blow the SOB’s head off. The person with a duty is the aggressor. They have a duty to not threaten you in the first place.

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