Stage set for showdown over ‘Stand Your Ground’ as task force meets near Sanfordby Dara Kam | June 12th, 2012
LONGWOOD _ Floridians will get their first face-to-face chance to sound off on the state’s controversial “Stand Your Ground” law at the first public meeting of Gov. Rick Scott’s “Citizen Safety and Protection Task Force” today.
The task force has received more than 6,500 e-mails, many of them emotional, weighing in on whether the law should be changed. The National Rifle Association, which pushed Florida’s first-in-the-nation “Stand Your Ground” law seven years ago, launched a campaign last week urging gun rights activists to contact the task force and let their feelings be known.
The four hours of public testimony in the afternoon sets the stage for a potential showdown. Opponents of the law – led by the parents of Trayvon Martin, the unarmed, black 17-year-old shot to death by neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman in February – will hold a rally during the panel’s lunch break. Martin’s parents Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton will deliver more than 300,000 petition signatures asking that the law be changed.
Even the locale of the meeting, the first where the panel will take public testimony, is controversial.
It’s being held at a church in Longwood, not far from the Sanford gated community where Trayvon Martin was shot to death on a rainy night in February. Even some panelists privately complain about the meeting’s location, saying it contradicts the purpose of the panel. Scott said he does not want the task force to focus on the Martin/Zimmerman case, but instead to look at the law overall and see if it needs to be changed.