Guest Editorial…Pressing for change on stand your ground

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Several hundred people marched to the Florida Capitol on Monday to protest the state’s dangerous and misguided stand your ground law.

Among the marchers were the parents of slain African-American teenagers Trayvon Martin and Jordan Davis. Also among the marchers was the family of Marissa Alexander, who was sentenced to 20 years for firing a gun in the direction of her estranged husband.

While the Republican-dominated Florida legislature has shown no interest in making any substantial changes to the stand your ground law enacted in 2005, opponents should keep up the pressure to repeal or amend the law.

The Florida law says people who are not involved in illegal activity have the right to stand their ground and meet force with force, including deadly, if they reasonably believe it’s necessary to avoid death or great bodily harm.

The law is deeply flawed because it has been shown in the Martin and Davis cases you don’t need an actual threat. In the Martin case, George Zimmerman followed Martin before shooting him allegedly in self-defense. In the Davis case, Michael Dunn confronted Davis and his friends about loud music coming from their vehicle, before firing at Davis and a group of teenagers, allegedly because he thought they had a gun. No witnesses saw a gun and none was ever found. In both cases the shooter was the aggressor and the victims were unarmed.

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