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No Hope For Special Session On “Stand Your Ground” Law

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Florida Legislature (Source: David Sutta/CBS4)

Florida Legislature (Source: David Sutta/CBS4)

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Tallahassee (CBSMiami) – Any hope of holding a special legislative session on the state’s “stand your ground” self-defense law is officially dead.

Secretary of State Ken Detzner sent a letter to Gov. Rick Scott and legislative leaders notifying them that a poll of lawmakers came up well short of the 96 legislators who would need to support a special session to consider changes to the law, which grants immunity to people who use deadly force if they have reason to believe their lives are in danger.

In fact, 108 lawmakers voted against calling a session, while 47 voted for it. Another four legislators did not cast a vote.

The vote for the session fell largely along party lines, with seven House Democrats joining Republicans to quash it: Reps. Mike Clelland of Lake Mary; Mark Danish of Tampa; Dwight Dudley of St. Petersburg; Katie Edwards of Plantation; Michelle Rehwinkel Vasilinda of Tallahassee; Linda Stewart of Orlando; and Carl Zimmermann of Palm Harbor.

The poll stemmed from a sit-in protest at the Capitol by a group called the Dream Defenders. The group protested against the “stand your ground” law after the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, though Zimmerman’s attorneys did not use the law as a trial defense.
The protesters left the Capitol last week. Meanwhile, Rep. Alan Williams, D-Tallahassee, filed legislation Monday to repeal the law, but that bill remains unlikely to pass during the 2014 regular session.

The News Service of Florida contributed to this report

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