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State Senator Requests Special Panel On “Stand Your Ground” Law

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Senator Chris Smith

Senator Chris Smith

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Trayvon Martin

TAALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/NSF) – Less than 24 hours after it was announced that the Florida House planned to hold a subcommittee hearing later this year to address the state’s controversial “stand your ground” law, the state’s Senate is moving towards doing the same.

On Tuesday, Minority Leader Chris Smith, D-Fort Lauderdale, asked Senate President Don Gaetz to form a select committee to examine Florida’s self-defense laws, particularly the controversial “stand your ground” law.

The laws have come under heavy scrutiny since the July 13 acquittal of George Zimmerman in the shooting death of teen Trayvon Martin in Seminole County.

Smith referred to an August 2nd memo in which Gaetz wrote that no senators had approached him with a specific proposal.

“Mr. President, please consider this my specific proposal: First, I respectfully request that you convene a Senate Select Committee to examine Florida’s self-defense laws, specifically as they relate to Stand Your Ground, and whether changes need to be made to better protect our citizens,” Smith wrote in the letter.
“I would like to serve as a member of that committee.”

Smith also requested that “stand your ground” bills being drafted for the 2014 legislative session be placed first on the committee’s agenda for a hearing. Gov. Rick Scott and Republican legislative leaders have rejected calls to hold a special legislative session on the “stand your ground” issue.

The News Service of Florida contributed to this report

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