Scott ‘Stand Your Ground’ task force releases final recommendationsby Dara Kam | February 22nd, 2013
Gov. Rick Scott’s task force examining the state’s “Stand Your Ground” law officially released its final recommendations today, essentially saying the law giving citizens the right to defend themselves with deadly force without the duty to retreat when they feel threatened should remain intact.
Scott appointed the task force after a national outcry sparked by last year’s Feb. 26 death of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed, black, 17-year-old shot and killed by neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman. Zimmerman claimed he shot Martin in self-defense, shining a spotlight on the state’s first-in-the-nation Stand Your Ground law that allows individuals to use deadly force when they feel threatened and provides immunity from prosecution. A judge has not yet decided whether the Stand Your Ground applies in the case against Zimmerman, who was arrested charged with murder after Scott appointed a special prosecutor.
Scott’s “Citizen Safety and Protection” task force held meetings around the state and approved the draft recommendations in November.
The group is asking the Legislature to consider:
_ Defining the portion in the law that allows individuals to use Stand Your Ground as long as they are not engaged in “unlawful activity.”
_ Give law enforcement agencies more specific instructions about what neighborhood crime prevention programs and their volunteers can do.
_ Whether immunity from prosecution in criminal and civil actions applies to innocent bystanders.
Altamonte Springs Republican state Sen. David Simmons, a co-sponsor of the 2005 law who served on the panel, has filed a bill (SB 930) that includes two of those suggestions but does not address innocent bystanders.
House and Senate Democrats, including Senate Democratic Leader Chris Smith, have filed a slew of bills that would amend the law or repeal it altogether but GOP legislative leaders say they want the law to remain as is.
And task force is recommending that