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Florida lawmakers have agreed to hold hearings this fall to review the state’s “Stand Your Ground” law, which has come under intense scrutiny since George Zimmerman was found not guilty in the shooting of Trayvon Martin.
“I have asked the chair of our Criminal Justice Subcommittee to hold a hearing this fall on ‘Stand Your Ground,’” wrote Will Weatherford, the Republican leader of the Florida House of Representatives, in a column in the Tampa Tribune. “Our evaluation of its 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?”
But, he added: “Demands for a special session to repeal the law disregard the very foundation of our representative democracy by presuming that a law passed by the majority of a constitutional body should be reversed by the objections of a few.”
The announcement on Friday by [Weatherford] marked the biggest concession yet by the state’s Republican leaders to protesters’ demands for a top-to-bottom review of the law, which allows people in fear of serious injury to use deadly force to defend themselves rather than retreat.
Since Zimmerman’s acquittal on July 13, Martin’s grieving parents, backed by African-American civic leaders, celebrities, students and political figures, including President Barack Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder, have all said the Stand Your Ground law needs to be re-examined.
Jillian Rayfield is an Assistant News Editor for Salon, focusing on politics. Follow her on Twitter at @jillrayfield or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. More Jillian Rayfield.
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