Stand Your Ground

Dream Defenders

Just how much support is there really for Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” Law? Did the failure of a poll that could have triggered a special session lead to the Dream Defenders ending a month-long protest? We'll take a look at what led up to this point.

“I think their time has kind of run out,” said House Speaker Will Weatherford.

Florida Department of Children and Families

A majority of Florida lawmakers say there will be no special session to review Florida’s Stand Your Ground law. The preliminary results of a procedural move led by a group of Democrat lawmakers show they don’t have enough votes to trigger a special session. But, that’s still not deterring those who want another look at the law.

Florida House

Governor Rick Scott’s refusal to hold a special session reconsidering the state’s Stand Your Ground law is not dissuading a group of Florida Democratic lawmakers. In a procedural move, they’ve bypassed Scott and the Republican leaders of the House and Senate to initiate a poll among their colleagues.

Florida Senate

Florida Senate Minority leader Chris Smith says he’s not giving up on getting a bipartisan group of lawmakers to take a look at the state’s Stand Your Ground law, despite being turned down by the Senate President Tuesday. Smith wanted Don Gaetz to form a select committee, but Gaetz rejected that request.

Dwight Bullard Headshot
Florida Senate

A Democratic state senator is calling for state officials to pardon a Jacksonville woman sentenced to 20 years in prison for firing a gun in her husband’s house. Miami Senator Dwight Bullard says Marissa Alexander’s case highlights the need to repeal the state’s Stand Your Ground law.

Florida Capitol police have now spent more than $100,000 mark on overtime pay, working round-the-clock to provide security for protestors who have been there the last three weeks, protesting Florida's Stand Your Ground Law. 

Since the start of the protest, Capitol Police have had to double their security detail. Florida Department of Law Enforcement spokeswoman Gretl Plessinger says normally the FDLE wouldn’t have to be paying overtime on a regular basis.

Jackson Scott Photo by Phil Sears

Florida Governor Rick Scott is criticizing Reverend Jesse Jackson over remarks he made while joining a Capitol protest Tuesday. Jackson made his remarks while calling for a repeal of the state’s Stand Your Ground law.

Jackson says he believes Governor Rick Scott will change his views on Florida’s Stand Your Ground law just as former Alabama Governor George Wallace changed his mind about segregation following the many civil rights protests in Alabama in the 1960s.

A day after House Speaker Will Weatherford said he’d consider input from law enforcement officials on changes to Florida’s Stand Your Ground law, some in the legal community weighed in Wednesday, saying they haven’t formulated any plans yet.

Jesse Jackson Supports Capitol Protesters

Jul 30, 2013
R.Benk / WFSU-News

The “special session” protesters at Florida’s Capitol have been demanding for more than two weeks finally happened Tuesday. But, the governor and most state leaders weren’t among the participants. Demonstrators convened their own so-called “people’s session” urging reform to the state’s Stand Your Ground law.

Some Wonder If Capitol Protest Is Worth The Cost

Jul 26, 2013

It’s been nearly two weeks since anti-Stand Your Ground law protesters began occupying Florida Governor Rick Scott’s outer office demanding he call a special session. This week, capitol police divulged what it’s costing taxpayers to let the group stay. Now, some are asking if they’ve overstayed their welcome.

R.Benk / WFSU-News

Governor Rick Scott has repeatedly said he has no intention of calling a special session to address Florida’s Stand Your Ground law, despite a week of protesters camping out in the governor’s office. The governor Monday sent Department of Juvenile Justice Secretary Wansley Walters to meet with demonstrators.

R. Benk / WFSU-News

Civil rights groups are petitioning Florida Governor Rick Scott to re-examine the state’s criminal justice system in the wake of George Zimmerman’s acquittal for killing Trayvon Martin.

Protesters filed into the Florida Capitol Tuesday sporting hoodies and signs that read “justice for Trayvon.” When they were told Governor Scott wasn’t in his office, they decided to wait for him anyway.

Warning Shots Fired In Florida Debate Over Gun Control, "Stand Your Ground"

Feb 28, 2013

The state’s controversial "stand your ground" law would cover warning shots to fend off attackers and teachers would be able to pack heat on campus under bills now before legislators.

Freshman Rep. Neil Combee, R-Polk City, filed a bill on the one year anniversary of the shooting death of Trayvon Martin in Sanford that would free any individual from prosecution for firing a warning shot or even simply flourishing a firearm to scare away any would-be attacker.

The immunity measure would cover acts of self-defense as well as stepping in to protect others.

Capital Report: Election Reform Talks Heats Up

Jan 22, 2013

State employees will have to keep paying three percent of their salaries their own retirement accounts. Regan McCarthy reports an effort to stop the payments has been quashed by a Florida Supreme Court ruling, finding the law requiring the payments, to be constitutionally sound.

In the battle over how Florida runs its elections, Republicans and Democrats have largely been on opposite sides. But, as Jessica Palombo reports, lawmakers say, everyone’s getting on the same page as the Governor releases his ideas for election reform this [last] week.

What’s the best way to protect Floridians from tragedies like the school shooting in Newtown Connecticut? That depends who you ask. Representative Dennis Baxley (R-Ocala), said he likes the idea of expanding the number of places where guns can be carried.

“Making gun free zones, while a well intentioned, desire to keep everyone safe. We have unintentionally, inadvertently made them a target,” Baxley said.

Jacksonville Teen's Death Prompts New Anti-'Stand Your Ground' Campaign

Dec 7, 2012

The family of an unarmed Jacksonville teenager killed after a dispute about loud music is calling for a repeal of the controversial Stand Your Ground law.  Jordan Davis’s shooting death happened in November, just as the state task force convened to examine Stand Your Ground was issuing its report.

At at a press conference in Jacksonville on Friday, the Florida president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the Rev. R.L. Gundy, called for a repeal of Stand Your Ground.

After February’s fatal shooting of unarmed Florida teenager Trayvon Martin in Sanford, the state task force assembled to study the controversial Stand Your Ground self-defense law are continuing to gather public input.

The task force is considering what changes to recommend to the legislature after holding a workshop in West Palm Beach on Wednesday.  

While he is sorry that Trayvon Martin ended up dead, George Zimmerman says he doesn't regret anything he did the evening of Feb. 26 and that it was "God's plan" that he would end up killing the unarmed 17-year-old.

"For me to second guess it or judge it" would be wrong, Zimmerman told Fox News Channel's Sean Hannity in a pre-recorded and edited interview broadcast Wednesday night.

The Prosecutor in the Trayvon Martin case released tapes of six recorded phone conversations Monday that Martin’s shooter, George Zimmerman, had with his wife while in jail.The tapes show Zimmerman talking to his wife about transferring money from an account linked to a website created to raise funds for Zimmerman’s legal defense.

Capital Report: 06-15-2012

Jun 18, 2012

Florida’s fight with the federal government over plans to purge the voter rolls hit a new high this week as both entities announced dueling lawsuits over the issue. The state is accusing the federal government of stonewalling its efforts, and the feds say the purge is unconstitutional. Lynn Hatter reports as the fight drags on, more people are weighing in on what is becoming an increasingly contentious issue in a battleground state.


Governor Rick Scott’s “Stand Your Ground” task force is rejecting claims from some Democrats that it is biased in favor of the law. Lynn Hatter reports, the group pushed back against the bias claims at its first meeting Tuesday.

Lieutenant Governor Jennifer Carroll is chairing the group, officially called the “Task force for Citizen Safety and Protection".  And she takes issue with its critics, who say the makeup of the group is biased.


State Senator Chris Smith says Florida’s Stand Your Ground law needs an overhaul, and, if the task force created by Governor Rick Scott doesn’t move on amending the statute, he says he will. Lynn Hatter reports on Monday Smith released the findings of his own task force – which would do away with key provisions of the law but stops short of recommending a full repeal.


Florida Governor Rick Scott is announcing a task force to look into the state’s “Stand Your Ground Law.” Regan McCarthy reports the task force is set to hold its first meeting in May. The formation of the task force comes after the shooting death of an unarmed teen back in February.

About 150 people marched to Florida’s Capitol building to remember the African-American teen who was killed in Sanford back in February by a neighborhood watchman. Lynn Hatter reports the group was protesting the handling of case by local authorities on the 44th anniversary of the assassination of Civil Rights Leader Martin Luther King Jr.

A state senator is launching his own task force to study Florida’s Stand Your Ground law. James Call reports, Fort Lauderdale Senator Chris Smith says Florida’s reputation can’t afford to wait for the governor to act.

The February shooting death of Trayvon Martin has focused media attention on a Florida law allowing people to respond with deadly force if they feel threatened. Smith, a south Florida Democrat, says the national uproar is a threat to Florida’s tourism-based economy.