Florida Governor Strengthens The Second Amendment
Florida Governor Rick Scott signed amended current “stand your ground” legislation on Friday, making it easier for defendants in the state to successfully claim they were engaged in responsible self-defense when protecting themselves or others.
In spite of opposition from gun-control advocacy groups and virtually all Democrats, the bill supporting the Second Amendment rights of Florida citizens has been gaining support as it worked its way through the legislature. On Friday Governor Scott signed the constitutionally sound bill into law.
Until Friday, Florida law required defendants in a wrongful death trial to prove that any force they used was in self-defense in order to prevail, typically by retreating before shooting.
In a significant change enhancing the rights of the people to defend themselves, the new law take the burden of proof off of the defendant by requires prosecutors, rather than defendants, to prove whether or not force was used lawfully.
According to: reuters.com
Supporters of stand your ground laws, including the National Rifle Association, the powerful U.S. gun lobby, see the legislation as bolstering civilians’ right to protect themselves.
Florida’s self-defense law was initially passed in 2005, and inspired similar laws in other states. It removes the legal responsibility to retreat from a dangerous situation and allows the use of deadly force when a person feels greatly threatened.
Opponents have said the amended law will embolden gun owners to shoot first, citing the 2012 death of unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin in the Orlando area, which spurred national protests and the Black Lives Matter movement.
The neighborhood watchman who killed him, George Zimmerman, was acquitted of murder after the state’s stand your ground law was included in jury instructions.
Scott, a Republican, signed the amended legislation into law along with a spate of other measures passed this week in a special session of the state’s legislature. The measure was largely passed by party-line vote in the legislature.”