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Lawmakers To Debate First Gun Bill Since Paris Attack

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On Tuesday, lawmakers take up the Florida Legislature's first pro-gun bill since the terrorists attack in Paris. Republican Representative Dennis Baxley’s bill makes it easier for a potential crime victim to invoke a so-called “stand your ground,” defense.

As it is now, a defendant has to go to a judge before trial and prove he has the right to use stand your ground. Baxley’s bill forces prosecutors to prove stand your ground doesn’t apply.

NRA lobbyist Marion Hammer says that would restore a fundamental principle of American justice.

“They put the burden of proof on the victim so the presumption of innocence until proven guilty in our judicial system was turned on its head.”

Hammer claims it’s too early to predict whether the mass murder in France creates a more favorable atmosphere for pro-gun legislation. But she’s reminding lawmakers France has strict gun control.

“It was like shooting fish in a barrel. There was no one there to fight back.”

The bill makes its first stop at the House Criminal Justice Subcommittee.

A Miami native, former WFSU reporter Jim Ash is an award-winning journalist with more than 20 years of experience, most of it in print. He has been a member of the Florida Capital Press Corps since 1992.