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House Committee Kills 'Stand Your Ground' Bill

November 17, 2015 - 11:45pm

A House committee killed off a bill which would make it easier for Floridians to claim self defense in Stand Your Ground cases on Tuesday, leaving the bill’s future up in the air.

The bill was stalled by a 6-6 vote, with two Republicans -- Reps. Charles Van Zant, R-Keystone Heights and House Subcommittee Chair Carlos Trujillo, R-Miami -- joining four Democrats to vote against the measure.

The legislation, sponsored by Rep. Dennis Baxley, R-Ocala, would shift the “burden of proof” for Stand Your Ground cases, and give defendants more protection from prosecution by requiring prosecutors to prove “beyond a reasonable doubt” whether a defendant is entitled to immunity at a pretrial hearing in order to disprove a claim of self-defense immunity. 

Rep. Trujillo said he understood the plight of those who need to use their firearms for self-defense.

The Florida Supreme Court ruled defendants using “Stand Your Ground” as their defense have the burden of proof that they should not be prosecuted. Stand Your Ground cases generally contain pretrial evidentiary hearings to determine whether or not a defendant is immune from prosecution.

Baxley’s bill gathered strong support from the National Rifle Association, which said the legislation was important for gun owners protecting themselves.

“If you own a gun and you ever have to use it to protect yourself or your family and -- you think, because of the Castle Doctrine/Stand Your Ground law, that the law is on your side, think again,” NRA lobbyist and former president Marion Hammer wrote in an email to members. “The Legislature gave you protection in 2005, but prosecutors and the courts have taken it away.”

Despite the bill’s early end, Hammer didn’t seem deterred from the possibility of the legislation making a return in the future, saying the bill would be back until it passed.

The Senate companion bill is set to be heard in the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Criminal Justice Wednesday. 

After a bill dies in a House committee, it’s up to the Senate committee chair whether the companion bill will be heard or not. 

Sen. Greg Evers, R-Baker, has been a staunch advocate of “Stand Your Ground” reforms, pushing a bill which would make Floridians firing a “warning shot” immune from the 10-20-Life provision in the Sunshine State.

The bill’s future is dim, but it’s not totally crossed out just yet. There’s still a possibility the legislation could be revived in the House and thrown into a package of different bills and ultimately pass, though it would be difficult to reach that point.

The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Criminal Justice meets Wednesday at 10 a.m.


Since when in America is the burden of proof on the defendant?The burden of proof is always on the prosecution,how does a law that reverses that ever get passed,who writes these laws,& why can't we get it amended?!We've got some serious problems with this legislature,they're not much better than the congress.

Bad timing with allowing Syrian ISIS Refugee American Citizen Status.

By your notion, even "Jesus" would not have been welcome. After all he was middle-eastern, and Mary & Joseph were expecting at the time they were shown the manger. You probably think Jesus was just another "anchor-baby" and his parents were "takers." Enjoy H E L L.

Jesus didn't want to strap a bomb on Mary and tell her to kill you and your family! Kirk.

This is a mistake that will come to haunt Floridians,... and 'seal the fate' of the Democrat Party in Florida.

You are disgusting and insane. Who the heck are you, Jesse James? No one wants to live in a state "where a mentally-ll" nut can shoot a bunch of people and claim "I was protecting myself." Or a husband can beat his wife and shoot her and claim, "I thought she was going for a knife." Please do DIE....#literally

Once again, the courts have manipulated and mangled the intent of a law so as to protect evil doers and criminals and not the injured party. The Florida Girl above isn't any woman that i can recognize as a true Florida Girl. I attended elementary through high school right here is Florida and none of the ton of Florida Girls I grew up with would spew that kind of warped thinking. She must be a transplant and just saying she's a Florida Girl.

I think we need to appoint a new committee.

"We" don't get to do the appointing thank God....#sillymoron

I guess that whole "we the people" thing sorta just zinged right over your head, didn't it?

Reps. Charles Van Zant, R-Keystone Heights and House Subcommittee Chair Carlos Trujillo, R-Miami - I do NOT mince words. BOTH of you are absolute IDIOTS! Ever hear of "AMENDMENT 2"? Government has NO BUSINESS dealing with this Constitutional RIGHT at all! You have let the people of Florida down.... or did you SELL your vote? I'm not in either of your Districts, but know folks who are. I'll encourage THEM to encourage YOUR VOTERS to DUMP YOU!

When seconds count - police are minutes away.

"Rep. Trujillo said he understood the plight of those who need to use their firearms for self-defense."... Apparently you don't. But then again, you're a Miami RINO. This is not the first time a Miami RINO stopped 2nd. Amendment Legislation.

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