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Stand Your Ground: What’s that?

by Christine Stapleton | May 1st, 2014

A multi-year effort by Sen. Christopher Smith, D-Fort Lauderdale, to persuade his colleagues to clarify their intentions when the legislature passed the Stand Your Ground law in 2005, has again failed.

Sen. Christopher Smith, D-Fort Lauderdale

Smith attempted to tag an amendment onto this year’s concealed weapons bill, SB 296, that would have added language to the statute explaining that the law was “not intended to encourage vigilantism or acts of revenge, authorize the initiation of a confrontation as a pretext to respond with deadly force, or negate a duty to retreat for persons engaged in unlawful mutual combat.”

“If you didn’t intend for stand your ground to be used in movie theaters and on the streets you will vote for this amendment,” Smith said. “Did you intend for people to use this in such an aggressive way?”

Sen. John Thrasher, R-St. Augustine, argued that the effort had not been vetted by committees and urged a vote against the amendment. However, Smith responded that the language he proposed had gone through both the criminal justice and judiciary committees.

With Marion Hammer, lobbyist for the National Rifle Association, sitting in the front row of the gallery, the senate voted 13-24 against the amendment.

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