News
5:34 pm
Wed November 6, 2013

Florida House Dems Back Senate Tweaks of Stand Your Ground

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Florida House Democrats met with reporters Wednesday to say they don't want to turn Thursday’s Stand Your Ground hearing into a publicity stunt.

The Stand Your Ground law is being revisited due to last year's death of Miami Gardens teen Trayvon Martin, shot by Sanford, Fla., George Zimmerman.

The House Criminal Justice Subcommittee will take up a bill by Democratic state Representative Alan Williams. The measure would repeal the 2005 Florida law that says people don't have to retreat in a situation where they fear for their lives.

The repeal bill isn't expected to pass, and House Democrats say simply having a hearing on it isn't enough. So Minority Leader Perry Thurston is asking House GOP leaders to adopt a Senate-backed plan to make minor tweaks to the law.

"What would make us be able to live without being in a wild, wild west situation," Thurston said. "That’s what the people of the state of Florida want us to come here for. They want us to come here, sit down and make the adult decision needed to move forward."

Criminal Justice Subcommittee Chairman Matt Gaetz says he's open to a debate on the issue, but that a majority of Floridians and lawmakers support Stand Your Ground.”

Gaetz also says the Democrats aren't unified in their stance, as some members want to repeal the bill while others just want minor changes.

The issue has come to a head since the shooting death of Trayvon Martin last year and the acquittal of George Zimmerman in a subsequent trial this summer.