Sen. Chris Smith, D-Fort Lauderdale, announced today that he has formed his own task force to study the impact of the controversial “Stand your ground law."
As the Trayvon Martin case continues to stir up anger surrounding the law, Smith told reporters: "Florida is in crisis mode."
Trayvon’s death has many Tallahassee lawmakers taking a closer look at the 2005 legislation, which allows the use of deadly force in "self-defense" situations.
When George Zimmerman shot and killed Trayvon on the night of Feb. 26, he claimed he felt threatened, but lawyers for Trayvon’s family have said that Zimmerman was the aggressor and should be arrested.
Several lawmakers have called for a repeal or change to the law, and Gov. Rick Scott has promised that a task force would look into it once the criminal investigation concludes.
Smith is the incoming state Senate minority leader and feels that the state should not wait to take a look at the law. "We will not sit around and wait for action," he said.
Smith said his task force will include the state attorneys from Broward and Miami-Dade, plus the public defenders from those two counties and Palm Beach County. Fort Lauderdale Police Chief Frank Adderley, former Democratic state Sen. Dan Gelber, and incoming House Minority Leader Perry Thurston, D-Fort Lauderdale, will also be on the panel.
The group will take public testimony from 4 to 6 p.m. Thursday at the Broward County Main Library. Smith also announced the launch of FloridaStandYourGround.org, a website that he said would "allow Floridians and people throughout the country to immediately begin weighing in with their experiences, thoughts and suggestions" on the law.
Hopefully Smith succeeds in his mission to end the “Stand your ground law” in Florida.
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