'Gunshine State' indeed: More bogus hearings on stand your ground coming

August 10, 2013 

As student activists continue to camp out in the Capitol in protest of Florida's "stand your ground" law -- three weeks and running now -- Gov. Rick Scott remains committed to the law and continues to reject the Dream Defenders demand that he call a special session of the Legislature.

In steps House Speaker Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, last week, agreeing to hold hearings in the fall about the law. A concession to the law's foes? Hardly. Weatherford assigned Matt Gaetz, R-Fort Walton Beach, to chair the hearings.

Gaetz's response: "I don't support changing one damn comma of the stand your ground law."

So Florida will bear witness to another dog-and-pony show, all too laughable in its utter lack of credibility.

The governor appointed a task force to review the law last year after the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, but he stacked that panel with the law's proponents. Their conclusion: A few minor changes. But the Legislature ignored the recommendations.

The so-called "Gunshine State" is unlikely to bother fixing the unintended consequences of the 2005 law, which expanded deadly force justifications in confrontations and eliminated the duty-to-retreat provision in self-defense law.

Stand your ground needs tweaks to ensure even applications -- and not allow criminals and others to invoke it in defense of questionable and even overt circumstances.

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