Will Trayvon Martin case spur rethinking of Stand Your Ground laws? (+video)
Calls are mounting to reassess, and perhaps refine, the Stand Your Ground law in Florida, after the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin by a man who apparently pursued the teen and then claimed self-defense.
Seven years after Florida enacted a landmark gun rights law that became a model for other states, calls are mounting from the public and some state officials, including Gov. Rick Scott (R), to reassess it in the aftermath of the fatal shooting of an unarmed black teen, Trayvon Martin, by a neighborhood watch captain who apparently confronted Trayvon after deeming that he looked suspicious.
A coalition of black Florida lawmakers has asked House Speaker Dean Cannon, a Republican, to open hearings on the Stand Your Ground law, which removes any duty by an armed citizen to retreat from danger and allows the use of deadly force if there's a reasonable fear of death or grave harm. Mr Cannon says he wants to wait until more facts are known about the incident, and until state and federal investigations are wrapped up, before he decides whether to do that.
Meanwhile, state Sen. Chris Smith, a Broward County Democrat, has said he's writing a bill that would bar a shooter from claiming self-defense if he or she is at any point the aggressor or provocateur.
Governor Scott has told the news media he's open to changing the law, enacted in 2005. "If there's something wrong with the law that's in place, I think it's important we address it," he said. "If what's happening is it's being abused, that's not right."
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