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House's Weatherford Calls For 'Stand Your Ground' Law Review, But Change Unlikely

Florida House Speaker Will Weatherford says he’s open to a legislative panel reviewing the state’s Stand Your Ground Law. Weatherford’s comments came in an editorial for the Tampa Tribune.

House Speaker Will Weatherford has said he does not support a repeal of the state’s Stand Your Ground Law, but says he will direct a legislative committee to consider whether the law should be tweaked.

Earlier in the week, Weatherford said he was open to suggestions for how to do that from law enforcement officials.

Meanwhile, a protest over the law continues at the Capitol. The protestors, called the Dream Defenders, have been pushing state officials to hold a special session to repeal the law. In a statement, House minority Leader Perry Thurston echoed that call.

"I make this request for a special session based on my belief that there is demonstrable confusion within and among police departments, prosecuting offices and the courts about the application of the law. As presently crafted, the statutes have not simply helped law-abiding citizens protect themselves from attack, but rather they have been used as cover for perpetrators of crimes," Thurston wrote in a letter to Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner.

But a special session and ultimate repeal of the self-defense law is highly unlikely. Panhandle Republican Representative Matt Gaetz has been tapped to head the House’s review committee, and Gaetz says he sees no reason for the law to be changed or repealed.

The Stand Your Ground Law played a role in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin and the acquittal of his shooter, neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman. But even before the case, there were concerns the law was being applied inconsistently.

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Lynn Hatter is a Florida A&M University graduate with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Lynn has served as reporter/producer for WFSU since 2007 with education and health care issues as her key coverage areas.  She is an award-winning member of the Capital Press Corps and has participated in the NPR Kaiser Health News Reporting Partnership and NPR Education Initiative. 

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