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Stand Your Ground Changes are back for second year

December 13th, 2016 by Mike Vasilinda

For the second year in a row, Second amendment advocates in the state legislature are trying try to override a Supreme Court decision they say turned the states Stand Your Ground law upside down. But opponents say the change would stack the deck against justice.

Florida’s stand your ground statute says police can’t arrest someone who claims they feared for their life or that of others unless an investigation finds the use of force was illegal. But since a 2015 Supreme Court of Florida ruling, courts have required a hearing in which a defendant has the burden to prove force was necessary. State Senator Rob Bradley thinks that’s upside down.

“Most Floridians understand intuitively that the Government has the burden of proof throughout a prosecution. So what this bill does is to insure that the Government has the burden of proof, not just at trial but the immunity hearing as well” says Bradley.

The move is opposed by Prosecutors, Dennis Baxley passed Stand Your Ground in 2005 as a House member.

“We did this for the law abiding citizens. We didn’t do it for the prosecutors” says Baxley, who was elected to the state Senate in November.

On the other side, State Senator Gary Farmer would like to see Stand Your Ground go away…completely..

“This sort of cowboy mentality of shoot first and claim it was justified later, I don’t think that’s the best policy for our state” Farmer told us.

And Audrey Gibson from Jacksonville says prosecutors should forget the hearing and just charge someone.

We get to justice quicker if we go to charging and build the case from there’ says Gibson.

Among the slew of gun bills being proposed this year, many believe the stand your ground changes have the best chance of passing.

The legislation passed the Senate last year, but not the House.

A call to the State Prosecutors Association for comment on this story was not returned.

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