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Original House Sponsor Of Stand Your Ground Talks Changes To Law, Senate Bid

Sascha Cordner

The man who sponsored Florida’s Stand Your Ground law in the state House says he wants lawmakers to tread carefully as they examine the law, but he feels there should be some type of debate.

Amend Stand Your Ground?

Ocala Republican Representative Dennis Baxley says caution is key if lawmakers consider repealing the law or, in his words, “diminishing a valuable piece of legislation”…

“But, at the same time, I’m not going to pre-empt the discussion. The way a legislator starts a discussion is file a bill. So, there will be a debate whether or not bills are heard in committee or what kind of things come out of that process, I don’t presume to decide at this point what the outcome is,” said Baxley.

Still, he says he’s both puzzled and frustrated that the law, in some cases, is being used by criminals. But he says that doesn’t necessarily mean the law is flawed. Meanwhile, Stand Your Ground's main author, Senator David Simmons as well as Senate Democratic Leader Chris Smith have filed separate bills to amend the law in hopes of clearing up misunderstandings associated with the law. There are also a couple of bills asking for its repeal.

2016 Senate Bid

The longtime Republican lawmaker in the Florida House is also hoping to grab more influence in the other chamber. Ocala Representative Dennis Baxley says he’ll make another bid for the Florida Senate in 2016. In 2007, Baxley lost to Inverness Republican Senator Charlie Dean. But, this time, Dean is facing term limits.

“Senator Dean is my senator. I endorsed him, after losing to him in ’07 in the primaries. He’s a very fine Representative. So, I have the highest regard for him. And, I’m certainly not doing it in any way to impinge on his career in the Senate, but I felt it was important to be transparent and let people know what my intentions are,” said Baxley.

Baxley says he still plans to continue serving in the Florida House for two more years. He made his remarks at a Capital City Republican Club meeting in Tallahassee.

For more news updates, follow Sascha Cordner on twitter @SaschaCordner.