Entries in Stand Your Ground Law (4)


Florida 'Stand Your Ground' Task Force to Hold First Public Hearing

ABC News(SANFORD, Fla.) -- The task force put together to examine Florida's controversial "Stand Your Ground" law in the wake of the Trayvon Martin shooting, is holding its first public hearing on Tuesday.

The task force is meeting just a few miles away from the gated community where George Zimmerman shot and killed Trayvon Martin, 17, on Feb. 26.  Zimmerman, 28, claims he was "standing his ground," in self defense.

Members of the public on Tuesday will get a chance to say what they think of the measure critics call the "shoot first" law.  Martin's parents are also expected to be in attendance.

Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll is heading up the task force.  She voted for the law in 2005, but says all views are welcome.  

Groups trying to overturn it are planning a rally outside.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


NRA Exec: Coverage of Trayvon Martin â€˜Sensational’

Karen Bleier/AFP/Getty Images(ST. LOUIS) -- A top National Rifle Association official lashed out today at what he called the “sensational” coverage of the Trayvon Martin case and called violent crime a fact of life, in a speech at the group’s annual meeting in St. Louis.

“Everyday victims aren’t celebrities. They don’t draw ratings, don’t draw sponsors. But sensational reporting from Florida does. In the aftermath of one of Florida’s many daily tragedies, my phone has been ringing off the hook,” the group’s executive vice president Wayne LaPierre said.

It was the first public comment LaPierre made on the Martin case, though he did not once say the name of the teen or that of George Zimmerman.

Martin, 17, was unarmed when neighborhood watchman Zimmerman shot him as he was returning to his father’s home after buying Skittles and tea at a gas station on Feb. 26.

Zimmerman, who claimed self-defense, was questioned but not immediately charged.

Special prosecutor Angela Corey charged Zimmerman on Wednesday with second-degree murder. Zimmerman was arraigned on Thursday and remains in custody in Sanford, Fla.

The attorney representing Zimmerman has said he does not yet know whether he will invoke Florida’s “Stand Your ground” law in his client’s defense.

The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence is using the case to advocate a “no” vote on the National Reciprocity Act, which if passed, would force states with stricter gun laws to honor concealed weapons permits granted in other states, which have uneven criteria for obtaining a permit.

The Brady Campaign has renamed it the “George Zimmerman Armed Vigilante Act.”

“These new bills would force states with strong gun laws like New York — where Zimmerman never could have gotten a permit — to honor the concealed carry permits of states with abhorrently low standards, such as Florida,” the Brady Campaign wrote on its website.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


President Clinton on Trayvon Martin Case

Kris Connor/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Former President Bill Clinton said the “tragedy” of the killing of Trayvon Martin should cause a re-thinking of the “Stand Your Ground” law.

“There are different stories being told,” the former president said, “so the first thing I have to say is that it’s important to find out the facts.”

Clinton continued “but to me, beyond the incredible personal tragedy- this young man was not armed, he clearly presented no threat to anybody’s life — is, the most important thing I’ve read was from the former police chief in Florida in the community, he was one of many law enforcement officers testifying against that Stand Your Ground law. And he said, you know this is going to create all kinds of problems. And it’s going to be almost impossible to prove what was in someone’s mind when a certain thing happened.”

Clinton said “people have always had a right to have a handgun in their home- to protect their homes- then we’ve seen this breathtaking expansion of the concealed weapons laws in America moving from the late 90′s into this decade, far — if you will — to the extreme that America had ever been on these.

“And now the Stand Your Ground law,” he continued. “I think the law is going to create real problems because anyone can — anyone who doesn’t have a criminal background, anyone not prohibited by the Brady Bill and caught by the checks — can basically be a part of a neighborhood watch where they have a concealed weapon whether they had proper law enforcement training or not. And whether they’ve had any experience in conflict situations with people or not.”

“So I hope this will lead to a reappraisal of the Stand Your Ground laws,” President Clinton said, “and I hope that the truth will come out and that the tragedy of this young man’s loss will not be in vain- it’s just terrible. Whatever the facts were — all these people trying to jump on him and talking about some mistake he made in his life- that’s irrelevant because unarmed person who was killed on the street by a gun. And so I hope justice will be done in this case but I hope that the larger justice that would somehow redeem a portion of this terrible loss.”

He said: “the American people should re-examine their position on that and ask: Is this really worth it? Are we really all that much safer taking the chance that this kind of thing could happen over and over and over again?”

The president made his comments in an exclusive interview with ABC News focused on his work with Clinton Global Initiative University.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Trayvon Martin Case: Lead Investigator Asked to Step Down

Comstock/Thinkstock(SANFORD, Fla.) -- As tensions between community leaders and residents in Sanford, Fla., reach a boiling point, the man leading the investigation into the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin is being asked to step down.

During a heated special meeting regarding the death of the unarmed teen, who was shot and killed allegedly by the self-appointed neighborhood watch captain George Zimmerman, Sanford city commissioners conducted a vote of no confidence against embattled Police Chief Billy Lee. Three of five commissioners voted against the chief.

One commissioner demanded that Lee resign. It is now up to the city manager to decide whether or not to let Lee go.

"The unknown in a tragedy will make the heart do crazy things, and we haven't done a good job of getting out in front of that," said Sanford Mayor Jeff Triplett after the vote. "I have confidence in him in a lot of ways, and don't have confidence in him in some ways."

The vote of "no confidence" came after Triplett was forced to answer some tough questions from neighborhood residents and the media, during an NAACP meeting aimed at addressing allegations of police misconduct in the community.

"If there were mistakes made we are going to act accordingly," Triplett said in response to a question from ABC News about the investigation into Martin's death.

Some believe local authorities botched the investigation from the start.

Martin, who was black, was carrying only a bag of skittles, iced tea and his cell phone, when Zimmerman shot and killed him on Feb. 26. While Martin's family has repeatedly called for Zimmerman's arrest, Sanford Police accepted and stand by Zimmerman's claim of self-defense.

But it's not just the mayor, or the conduct of the police officers, that is being questioned.

Florida's "Stand Your Ground" law gives enormous leeway to people like Zimmerman to use deadly force if they feel threatened. Since the law was enacted seven years ago, justified homicides in Florida have jumped threefold, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

Twenty states have similar laws, but Florida's is widely viewed as having the broadest application. Courts across the state have been trying to figure out how to grapple with the legislation.

Cases like Martin's have led Florida State Representative Dennis Baxley, R-Ocala, one of the original sponsors of the law, to say that it has been misused.

"There was nothing in this statute ever intended to protect somebody who was pursuing or confronting other people," said Baxley.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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