Since George Zimmerman shot Trayvon Martin in Florida, leftists in the state have focused on its ‘Stand your Ground’ laws even though they didn’t really figure into that case as much as some appear to believe. This was only exacerbated after a shooting in Pinellas County, Florida, over a parking space, in which the local Sheriff said that he didn’t believe he could arrest the shooter under the law.
However, after spending years trying to undermine the idea of such laws in the state, it seems like leftists and democrats in Florida may have been handed a resounding defeat at the state level when they failed to get enough votes via a poll to force a special session on the topic. Those who care about self-defense should rejoice, while democrats will likely grouse about the likely loss, an unsurprising result for yet another gun control push. What did the leftists expect was going to happen?
Democrat lawmakers at the capital in Tallahassee, Florida, asked Secretary of State Ken Detzner to poll state legislators and lawmakers concerning whether or not they would support holding a special session.
That special session would be on the topic of whether to repeal or amend the state’s SYG laws which left-leaning politicians around the country have repeatedly attacked.
Florida’s Senate has 40 seats, of which 23 are republican-held, with 16 held by democrats, and one held by an independent candidate.
The state’s House of Representatives has 120 seats, of which 75 are held by republicans, 41 by democrats, and four by independents.
In other words, this demand for a special session was not likely to get far just looking at the numbers and the composition of the legislature.
Although the vote is still technically ongoing, it does not look good for the democrats hoping to get rid of the law.
As of now, 49 house members have voted against the special session, while 39 have voted yes.
The vote in the state’s Senate is currently tied at 14-14.
Since 49 house members have already voted against it, and the leftists needed at least 72 votes in the house, that leaves them already without the three-fifths they need in the house.
As for the 40-person Senate, democrats there would need 24 votes to advance their agenda, which means that if three more individuals vote against the idea of reassessing the law, there’s nothing else they could do to advance that agenda there, either.
Florida’s Stand Your Ground laws are outlined in 2018 Florida Statutes 776.012 and 776.013.
Chapter 776 is concerned with the legal concept of ‘justifiable’ use of force.
776.012 lays out when a person is justified in using force except for deadly force (section 1) and when they’re justified in using deadly force (section 2).
As currently written, the law states that a person is justified in using deadly force (which includes firearms) if they reasonably believe that the use of such force is necessary to avoid imminent death or “great bodily harm” to themselves or another.
Such force can also be used to prevent the commission of a forcible felony, which is defined in 776.08 as, essentially, felonies that involve the use of threat of force or actual physical force against another.
The second portion of section (2) is the ‘stand your ground’ portion of the law, and states that a person who is preparing to use deadly force (or threatening to do so) in compliance with section (1) does not have a ‘duty to retreat’ from the assailant or situation so long as they are somewhere they have a right to be and they are not engaged in criminal activity.
Statue 776.013 simply lays out specific instances and standards.
Concerning the shooting in Clearwater, Florida, which began over a disagreement about a parking space and escalated when a man shoved another to the ground, it seems that the sheriff was unsure whether or not he could arrest the shooter.
Section 776.032 states that an individual who used force in compliance with existing laws is protected from both criminal prosecution and civil action for the use of force in the state.
It also states that a law enforcement agency can investigate the incident (as well they should) but that they cannot arrest the person for use of force, or for threatening to use force, unless they find probable cause that the use of force was unlawful.
So, no, the Stand Your Ground law in the state of Florida did not say that the shooter couldn’t be arrested.
Rather, the law protected him from arrest unless the investigators found reasonable evidence to undermine his claim that the force used was legal.
Why the democrats are so interested in making it harder for people to defend themselves is hard to understand.
However, thankfully, it seems like their latest attempt didn’t get far.