"Self-Defense" Deaths Have Tripled Since "Stand Your Ground" Law Was Passed

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The number of "justifiable" deaths in Florida that have resulted from self defense has tripled since 2005 when then-Governor Jeb Bush signed the "Stand Your Ground" law. That's the same law that has so far kept George Zimmerman out of jail for shooting 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. Though, even the original drafters of the law now say that Zimmerman should not be protected by it.

CBS4′s David Sutta pulled the statistics. Between 2000 and 2004, the number of "justifiable homicides" averaged about 12 a year. At the time, a homicide was only considered self-defense if a criminal threatened someone in their home or property. The "Stand Your Ground" law eliminated the property requirement, and allowed someone to claim self-defense if they justifiably felt they were in danger in any place.

Since that law passed the number of justifiable homicides nearly tripled, and averaged 35 a year between 2005 and 2010.

"When the Legislature passed this in 2005, I don't think they planned for people who would go out and become vigilantes or be like some weird Batman who would go out and kill little kids like Trayvon," state Sen. Oscar Braynon, D-Miami Gardens, tells CBS4.

Meanwhile, two legislatures who helped pass the law in 2005, former state Sen. Durell Peaden and current state Rep. Dennis Baxley, are now defending it and both say that it should not apply to Zimmerman.

"They got the goods on him. They need to prosecute whoever shot the kid," Peaden, a Republican who sponsored the bill, tells the Miami Herald. "He has no protection under my law."

"There's nothing in this statute that authorizes you to pursue and confront people, particularly if law enforcement has told you to stay put," Baxley echoes. "I don't see why this statute is being challenged in this case. That is to prevent you from being attacked by other people."

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