Florida Set To Finally Have Hearing To Re-examine “Stand Your Ground” Laws
Marissa Alexander, who received 20 years for aggravated assault after firing warning shot at abusive spouse.
After a series of protests done across the country since the “Not Guilty” verdict of George Zimmerman, according to Reuters, lawmakers in Florida plan to hold hearings this fall to re-examine the “Stand Your Ground” laws in that state. The “Stand Your Ground” law allows those who fear for their life (whether the threat is truly deadly or not) to use deadly force to defend themselves rather than trying to move away from the situation. It has received major criticism for being unfairly applied and was put front and center during the Zimmerman trial. An announcement was made on Friday by Will Weatherford, the Republican speaker of Florida’s House of Representatives who said that after receiving a barrage of calls, letters, emails and responses from everyday people, as well as celebrities, Attorney General Eric Holder and President Obama, he wanted to give people a chance to express their views and see what changes could possibly be made. According to the Huffington Post, Weatherford wrote an op-ed about the law and the public outcry, but it’s not yet clear what exact date the hearings will start and end:
“Across Florida, representatives are receiving calls, letters, visits and emails from constituents with diverse opinions on ‘Stand Your Ground. Passions are high, but every person has the right to express their views on this matter of great importance.
Our evaluation of its (the law’s) effectiveness should be guided by objective information, not by political expediency.
Does the law keep the innocent safer? Is it being applied fairly? Are there ways we can make this law clearer and more understandable?”
While some say violent crime has decreased since “Stand Your Ground” laws were enacted in different states, others say it’s racially biased. According to Reuters, a recent poll found that “a strong majority of white voters and men support the laws, while black voters generally oppose them and women are almost evenly divided.” I agree that a major conversation needs to be had about “Stand Your Ground” laws, especially after the case of Marissa Alexander, who received 20 years just for firing a warning shot at a wall at her abusive husband, and tried to use “Stand Your Ground” only to be rejected. When does it work? And more importantly, who does it work for? Fingers crossed that this will bring some real change.