After a lengthy hearing, a panel of Florida lawmakers refused a proposal to repeal the state's controversial "stand your ground" law yesterday. The five-hour hearing began at 3 p.m. yesterday and the Florida House of Representatives Criminal Justice Subcommittee decided that it was satisfied with what the statute had accomplished for the state.
"Today, our state is a safer place and has the lowest crime rate in 42 years," said Rep. Marti Coley, who added that the law is "good and should not be changed."
Rep. Alan Williams of Tallahassee created the bill, which would've stripped people of the right to use deadly force against anyone causing them to fear for their lives. As NBC News notes, this hearing came in the wake of protests following George Zimmerman's July acquittal for fatally shooting Trayvon Martin in Sanford back in February 2012. Protesters demanded Gov. Rick Scott arrange a debate over the law; when he refused, House Speaker Will Weatherford agreed to set up the hearing.
The panel also approved a revision of "stand your ground" that grants immunity to anyone who fires a warning shot. This would shield individuals from the the state's mandatory minimum sentencing requirement for discharging a weapon for the purpose of warning. Hopefully, this will aid Marissa Alexander, who was sentenced to 20 years in prison for firing a warning shot, claiming that her husband was attacking her.
In September, Alexander won an appeal for a new trial. The hearing, originally scheduled for today, has been delayed until next Wednesday.
[via NBC News]
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