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NRA Declares Victory, After Gov. Scott Signs Stand Your Ground-Related Bill Into Law

Jeffrey Camp

A gun rights group is declaring victory, after Governor Rick Scott signed a Stand Your Ground-related bill into law last week.

The new law changes the role of prosecutors during a Stand Your Ground immunity hearing. Before the Governor signed the bill into law, the accused claiming self-defense had to prove their claim was justified in order to avoid a trial. But, the new law shifts that burden to prosecutors during the pre-trial hearing—a change National Rifle Association’s Marion Hammer says is long overdue.

“In 2008, prosecutors and some sympathetic judges found a way to usurp the law by creating a special hearing and reversing the burden of proof and have been requiring people who use self-defense to prove they are innocent,” said Hammer. “That’s wrong. The legislature went back and fixed it.”

The new law stems from a dissenting opinion of a 2015 Florida Supreme Court decision. In the majority opinion, justices ruled the burden should stay with the defendant, so prosecutors wouldn’t have to prove their case twice.

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

Sascha Cordner has more than ten years of public radio experience. It includes working at NPR member station WUFT-FM in Gainesville for several years. She's worked in both radio and TV, serving in various capacities as a reporter, producer and anchor. She's also a graduate of the University of Florida with a bachelor's degree in telecommunications. She is the recipient of 15 awards from the Associated Press, Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), and Edward R. Murrow. Her award-winning stories include her coverage on the infamous “Dozier School for Boys” and a feature titled "Male Breast Cancer: Lost in the Sea of Pink." Currently, Sascha serves as the host and producer of local and state news content for the afternoon news program "All Things Considered" at WFSU. Sascha primarily covers criminal justice and social services issues. When she's not reporting, Sascha likes catching up on her favorite TV shows, singing and reading. Follow Sascha Cordner on Twitter:@SaschaCordner.