Florida’s permissive firearm laws have landed the state in the centre of a national controversy but the Sunshine State is refusing to bow to pressure to reform its controversial Stand Your Ground Laws.After George Zimmerman cited the law in the shooting death of unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin, Gov. Rick Scott created a Stand Your Ground task force to review the law.
And now the task force has decided not to change the gun laws, The Associated Press reported Tuesday.
“The task force concurs with the core belief that all persons, regardless of citizenship status, have a right to feel safe and secure in our state,” the task force wrote in its recommendation. “To that end, all persons have a fundamental right to stand their ground and defend themselves from attack with proportionate force in every place they have a lawful right to be and are conducting themselves in a lawful manner.”
The group did make two small changes to the law but that might actually make it easier to claim self defence, according to the Miami Herald.
The task force shifted the issue to the Legislature and the courts but did recommend lawmakers look more closely at who can invoke Stand Your Ground laws.
That recommendation seems to fly in the face of studies that found the law is either often abused or completely ineffective.
Texas A&M researches Cheng Cheng and Mark Hoekstra reviewed the laws back in June and found that while Stand Your Ground laws don’t deter crimes like aggravated assault or burglary, they do increase homicides.
“We find that murder and non-negligent manslaughter are increased by 7 to 9 per cent. This could represent either increased use of lethal force in self-defence situations, or the escalation of violence in otherwise non-lethal situations. Regardless, the results indicate that a primary consequence of strengthening self-defence law is increased homicide.”
That same month The Tampa Bay Times studied 200 Stand Your Ground cases and found the law has been used to free the aggressors, including one person who shot someone in the back.
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