"Stand Your Ground" Repeal Bill Filed in Tallahassee, but Support Looks Thin
After a monthlong sit-in, threats of a national musician boycott, and impassioned pleas from the family of slain Miami teen Trayvon Martin, a legislator has taken the first step toward repealing Florida's Stand Your Ground law. Rep. Alan Williams, a Tallahassee Democrat, has filed HB 4003, which would overturn the law tied to neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman's shooting of the unarmed Martin.
Don't hold your breath for the Republican-dominated Florida Legislature to line up behind the move, though.
"I have seen nothing to give me any indication that the Legislature wants to change the Stand Your Ground law," Marion Hammer, the former NRA president who helped craft the law, tells the Florida Current.
Before filing the bill, Williams helped the Dream Defenders, the group that sat in protest inside Florida's capitol from July 16 until last week demanding a special session to repeal Stand Your Ground.
"We can finally have a meaningful dialogue on this next month," Williams tells the Current. "I thought it was important enough that we at least put a bill out there for discussion."
Expect most of the GOP reps in Tally to lean on the same argument as Hammer, though, who notes that a "blue ribbon" panel formed by Gov. Rick Scott after Martin's death found no need to change the law.
That panel, conveniently, included "unbiased experts" such as Rep. Dennis Baxley, the Republican who drafted the bill in the first place and three other lawmakers who voted for or cosponsored the law. Half of them are even members of ALEC, the conservative think tank that got Stand Your Ground passed in scores of other states. No politicians who opposed the law found a seat on the task force.
So its findings were probably as foregone a conclusion as the death of Williams' repeal bill, which gets its first public hearing in a criminal justice subcommittee next month.