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Florida legislature expands Stand Your Ground

State decides that Stand Your Ground cases should no longer be public record

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Stand, don’t deliver

Not content to accidentally shoot itself in the face while sitting at a bar or attending class, the National Rifle Association managed to push a Trojan Horse of a bill through both the state House and Senate last week that will effectively expand the ridiculous castle-doctrine-turned-shoot-everyone Stand Your Ground law in the state. What was once known as the “warning shot” bill – intended to even the playing field for people like abused Florida wife Marissa Alexander, who is still fighting an extensive prison sentence for shooting a gun into the air as opposed to, say, gunshow enthusiast and jackass “hero” George Zimmerman, who walks free – has now grown to include some festive amendments.

How could such an amazing bill get even better, you might ask? Well, for one, it means that Stand Your Ground remains deeply enshrined in our unfair legal system, and continues to be overused in defense cases – Florida has had 237 Stand Your Ground defenses since 2005, according to the Tampa Bay Times, and the majority of those cases are determined to be “justified,” even in cases where it’s a child who dies, caught in the crossfire of a drug deal gone bad.

But wait! There’s more! The newly refashioned Stand Your Ground(er) will now make all Stand Your Ground cases secret, especially from the media that loves to talk about how this law is ruining our state. The Dream Defenders – the brave folks who held a monthlong sit-in at the Capitol just to get the governor’s attention on the issue – released a statement about the updated legislation on April 4. They are, shall we say, not happy.

“As citizens across Florida have demanded the repeal of the Stand Your Ground law, we are disappointed to see that the Florida Legislature has done quite the opposite,” said Ciara Taylor, political director for the Dream Defenders. “Today’s vote shows that our legislators have ignored our calls and have instead chosen to double down on this dangerous law that will continue to claim the lives of innocent, unarmed victims. We will remember the names of those who voted in favor of this law today – they will be on the lips of officers who explain to mothers why their children never make it home, in funeral packets of churches all across the South, and, most importantly, in the hands of Florida voters on Election Day in November.”

Guns down. Knives out.

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