Gov. Rick Scott had received about 4,800 emails as of Monday in opposition to state Rep. Charles McBurney’s bid to become a circuit judge in Northeast Florida, along with four messages of support, according to the governor’s office.
The emailed opposition came after influential gun-rights lobbyist Marion Hammer on Saturday advised members and supporters of the National Rifle Association and Unified Sportsmen of Florida to tell Scott that McBurney, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, was “unfit” for the judicial appointment. McBurney, R-Jacksonville, angered Second Amendment advocates during this year’s legislative session when his committee did not move forward with a measure tied to the state’s “stand your ground” self-defense law.
Members of Scott’s staff are scheduled to interview McBurney on Thursday for the vacancy in the 4th Judicial Circuit, which is made up of Duval, Clay and Nassau counties. In “stand your ground” cases, pre-trial evidentiary hearings are held to determine whether defendants should be immune from prosecution. Currently, defendants must prove during the hearings that they should be shielded from prosecution. The bill that died in McBurney’s committee would have shifted that burden to prosecutors, which could have made it easier legally for people to claim self-defense in shooting incidents. McBurney said Monday that “the bill would have victimized victims, especially those of domestic violence.” Scott has until June 24 to make the appointment, according to his office.–News Service of Florida