Reporting Tim Kephart
Legislative Session Coverage
MIAMI (CBSMiami) – U.S. Senator Marco Rubio wants the legislature and the public to not rush to judgment on the “stand your ground” law and instead wait for more information on the Trayvon Martin case to come out.
The law, which was passed in 2005, allows Floridians to use deadly force if they feel their life is threatened in any location. Many states have a similar law, but restrict it to a person’s home.
The law is being used as a defense by George Zimmerman who shot and killed Trayvon Martin. Former Governor Jeb Bush, who signed the law, said it didn’t apply in this case. Rubio is taking a more nuanced position that allows him to defend the law while not blaming Martin for the shooting either.
“We don’t know the facts in this case … I think a lot of people have rushed to judgment,” Rubio said, according to the News Service of Florida. “It’s a self defense law. Stand your ground does not allow you to chase somebody and shoot them. I’m not saying that’s what happened in this case, but if it happened in this case, or any other case, stand your ground does not apply. Let’s wait until the facts are out so we can have an intelligent debate.”
Opinions on the shooting of Martin have broken down almost along racial and political lines.
Recent polling found Republicans said the law had nothing to do with the shooting and that Martin may have been to blame as much as Zimmerman. Democrats and a plurality of independents say the shooting had to do with Martin’s race and that the stand your ground law should be repealed.
The stand your ground law was passed while Rubio was in the state legislature, but before he became Speaker.