It is the inalienable right of every individual to defend themselves from an attacker. Many states including Florida have passed Stand Your Ground laws to protect this right any time and any where a person is attacked and in fear of their life. Toluse Olorunnipa, McClatchy Newspapers, reports, “Florida’s controversial ‘Stand Your Ground’ law continues to enjoy widespread support among likely voters, even as a state task force considers rewriting the law, according to a new Tampa Bay Times/Miami Herald/Bay News 9 poll.”
This comes on the heal of a video showing Samuel Williams, age 71, who sprung into action on Friday to thwart an armed robbery at an internet cafe. “Williams was present when two masked thugs walked into the Palms Internet Cafe in Marion County, Florida. One of the men was brandishing a gun while the other had a bat. They started ordering patrons around and one smashes a computer screen. That’s when Williams took action,” reports The Blaze.
View the surveillance video of Mr. William’s actions click here.
Nearly 65 percent say the 2005 law — which allows people who believe they are in grave danger to use deadly force to defend themselves — does not need to be changed.
Voters in South Florida and blacks are the most likely to say “Stand Your Ground” should be repealed or amended, and that Zimmerman was not justified in shooting Trayvon.
George Zimmerman case , who is facing second degree murder charges in the shooting of Trayvon Martin, hinges on the popular “Stand Your Ground” law. The came under scrutiny after the Martin shooting, with some calling for its repeal. The 2005 law — which eliminates the so-called “duty to retreat” during a confrontation in a public place — remains popular in Florida, with only 18 percent saying it should be repealed.
Randy Gaskins, a 57-year-old firefighter and paramedic in Gainesville, is a big fan of the law, and has a concealed weapons permit. “I love ‘Stand Your Ground,’ ” he said. “I don’t want to turn tail and run. Now, I’m not going to look for trouble or anything, but if someone advances on you, you should be able to defend yourself.”
A state task force is currently reviewing the Stand Your Ground law to see if changes should be recommended to the Legislature. Critics say the law has allowed murderers to escape justice, and that it is not applied fairly to all races. However, the decision to use deadly force rests with the person being assaulted and in the Zimmerman case race did not appear to play a role in the shooting.
Debra Peoples, of Tampa, said her son Chyvas was convicted of manslaughter after killing a gang member who attacked him, and was not allowed to use “Stand Your Ground.” “This law failed my son,” Peoples, who is black, told members of the task force last week. “I implore you, to look at the disparity of how the ‘Stand Your Ground’ law is applied.”
Sixty-nine percent of black voters believe the law should be repealed or modified, compared to just 28 percent of white voters and 34 percent of Hispanics.
Outside organizations have formed the Second Chance on Shoot First campaign, that includes New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the NAACP and the National Urban League. Second Chance to Shoot First presented a petition to the state task force with more than 300,000 signatures demanding changes to the law. They argue that those who initiate a confrontation should not be protected under Stand Your Ground. There is no indication that Mr. Zimmerman initiated any confrontation.