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Trayvon Martin’s Mother Calls for Repeal Of Florida’s Stand Your Ground Law

| January 17, 2013

Trayvon Martin's mother, Sybrina Fulton, calling for the repeal of Florida's Stand Your Ground law at the Capitol Wednesday.

Trayvon Martin’s mother, Sybrina Fulton, calling for the repeal of Florida’s Stand Your Ground law at the Capitol Wednesday.

With lawmakers taking a new look at Florida’s “stand your ground” law, the mother of the young man whose death brought the law back into focus urged lawmakers Wednesday to repeal it.

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“How many lives do we have to lose?” Sybrina Fulton, mother of Trayvon Martin, asked outside the legislative chambers. “How many children have to be killed? How many times are we going to bury our loved ones and not do anything about it?” (Watch the press conference below.)

The law – passed in 2005 – allows people who feel threatened to shoot their assailants in public.

Martin, who was 17, was shot and killed by neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman in Sanford on Feb. 26 of last year. Martin was walking through a gated neighborhood where his father lived and was unarmed. Zimmerman was following him because there had been lots of burglaries in the neighborhood.

Zimmerman wasn’t arrested for 44 days following Martin’s death, until protest rallies were held nationwide. Now he faces a second-degree murder charge and a June trial. He plans to use the “stand your ground” defense, saying he felt threatened.

Fulton said the law had protected her son’s killer.

“I just don’t quite understand how someone can be a make-believe cop, pursue my son who had every right to be in that neighborhood, chase him, get in a confrontation with him, shoot and kill him and not be arrested. Something has to be done.”

Rep. Alan Williams, D-Tallahassee, has filed a bill (HB 4009) to repeal the law. Sen. Dwight Bullard, D-Miami, who called the law “legalized vigilantism,” has said he’ll sponsor it in the Senate.

An analysis of FBI homicide data by the office of New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, co-chair of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, found that states that passed “stand your ground” laws saw a 53.5 percent increase in justifiable homicides in the three years after enactment, while states without such laws saw a 4.2 percent rise.

Trayvon Martin.

Trayvon Martin.

“Every Tom, Dick and Harry who kills somebody is saying ‘I was standing my ground,'” said Fulton’s lawyer, Benjamin Crump, of Tallahassee.

Gov. Rick Scott appointed a Safety and Security Task Force in the wake of Martin’s killing to study the “stand your ground” law and make recommendations to the governor and Legislature.

Black lawmakers were irate that none of them, including Sen. Oscar Braynon, who represents Miami Gardens, where Martin lived with his mother, was appointed to the panel.

“The only people put on there were people that were proponents,” said Braynon, a Democrat. “So we’ll be just as bold in our response as they were bold in their response to us…when they put none of us on the committee, when they refused to come to our community, and when they gave us recommendations that amounted to nothing.”

Rep. Dennis Baxley, R-Ocala and the House sponsor of “stand your ground” in 2005, took issue with that. He was one of four lawmakers tapped for the task force.

“The Safety and Security Task Force did an extensive review, heard a lot of testimony, weighed all the evidence, and decided that the overall evidence was that we had some pretty effective legislation going,” he said. “People that say we didn’t do anything, they just don’t like the outcome.”

Baxley said the law is depicted as controversial, but in fact passed the Senate unanimously and the House 94-20.

“I think most people understand it, that we want to stand beside law-abiding citizens,” he said. “And if they stand their ground and stop a violent act from occurring and prevent people from being harmed, that’s the right thing for them to do, and we should stand with them.”

Asked whether the repeal bill wasn’t “pie in the sky,” given the strength of support for the law, Williams replied: “If we didn’t file it at all, the opportunity to do anything would have been zero. You lose nothing by having an honest debate.”

–Margie Menzel, News Service of Florida

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10 Responses for “Trayvon Martin’s Mother Calls for Repeal Of Florida’s Stand Your Ground Law”

  1. Exactly what does the “Stand Your Ground” law say? Anybody know? Anybody care? Is the Race Card being played here?

    • nyhla holmes says:

      I care because now people are gonna think they can just walk up on someone and kill them.Geoge was suppose to be guilty there was no reason to walk upon Travon and kill him.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Dream on.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Remember how things were before castle doctrine and stand-your-ground? Crime victims were being sued for defending themselves by their assailants and their assailants’ families. On occasion, juries were actually siding with the assailants. That is why these laws were passed and why they are still relevant today, because defending one’s self, home, and family is not a crime.

    Considering how there had been a wave of recent break-ins, was Zimmerman in the wrong, in his capacity as a neighborhood watchman, to tail Martin? That didn’t give Martin the right to brutally assault Zimmerman. Following people is annoying, but it’s not against the law. We don’t beat up people for just looking at us funny in a civil society.

  4. Prescient33 says:

    “Stand your ground law” in FL is a codification of the common law principle of “self defense.” The section under attack is,
    ” A person who is not engaged in an unlawful activity and who is attacked in any other place where he or she has a right to be has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly force if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.”
    It permits a person to defend his or herself when they are a victim of a felony away from their home, without imposing a duty to flee as some jurisdictions have done. Thus if you are attacked when engaged in lawful activity such as walking in a park, you can defend yourself from being a victim. If you are legally carrying a weapon, you may use it without having to attempt to escape the clutches of a felon.
    Do the opponents wish us to submit to a beating, a rape, or some other felony to help the felon escape injury? What do they fear from a rational spelling out the doctrine of self defense?
    Before acting in untoward haste, and to avoid throwing the baby away with the bath water, wouldn’t it be the American way to let the Trayvon Martin case proceed through our judicial system?

    • Denis says:

      Absolutely NOT ! It does NOT codify common law self defence !!

      Common law demands that if a person has the opportunity to seek protection from the police, they MUST do so. This statute removes that obligation.

      Common law demands that if a person has the opportunity to avoid the confrontation, they MUST do so. This statute removes that obligation.

      You have highlighted exactly why “Stand your ground” is legalised murder, and has nothing to do with self defence.

  5. One Senior Citizen says:

    Their is no right to kill, but we do need to have the right to bear arms and defend ourselves. Should I have to defend myself or my family and then have to fight a law suit from my attacker (or family) because I caused them some type of harm up to and including death is wrong. All acts of violence need to be examaned and ruled on by the courts as to weither it was standing your ground or not. It is the courts businness to establish guilt or innonsence not the media.

    We have all read the stories of the guilty walking away free and the innocent being jailed for many years before being proven as innocent. Let’s hope that we have the correct outcome of this tragady even if we do not agree with it. Public opinion does not belong in the court room but the right to defend ourselves belongs in the public domain outside of the court room.

  6. Joe E says:

    Has Zimmerman even had his day in court….yet, we are looking to repeal a law when this trial has not even found a verdict. How about we wait until the outcome of the trial before we make a decision about repealing a law.

    And Mr. Crump…from every Tom, Dick, Harry and Joe…If we don’t attempt to Stand our Ground from every wanna be thug then we will the one that is killed or injured.

    • Denis says:

      The law was flawed before it was enacted. The case, regardless of the outcome, demonstrates how the right to self defence has , in effect, become the right to attack and kill. That is a “right” that we should all be fighting to lose.

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