The Dayton Beach News-Journal reports that Florida state records show justifiable homicides have tripled since the controversial ‘Stand Your Ground Law’ was passed in 2005. In addition, the total number of concealed weapons permits has almost quadrupled in the same period of time. The ‘Stand Your Ground Law’ states that a person may use force in self defense when there is a reasonable belief of a threat without an obligation to retreat first; thus, it has been successfully used as a defense for people who kill and claim self defense. Per a Tampa Bay Times report, an estimated 70 percent of those accused of a violent crime went free. The statute was meant to clarify how citizens could act in the face of danger.
From 2000 to 2005, there were a total of 78 killings that were deemed as justified, but in the years the law passed, 228 have been killed by citizens acting in self-defense. This is approximately one justified homicide every 10 days.
The seven-year-old law has come under intense scrutiny recently after the killing of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin who was shot and killed by neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman in Sanford. Zimmerman was not initially arrested, but is now facing second-degree murder charges following weeks of national protests. Since the tragic incident, people are arguing against the law saying it “discourages restraint and has led to unnecessary deaths,” though gun rights advocates believe the law deters crime and allows people to defend themselves from an imminent threat.
The statute has certainly drawn criticism on a national level, but a recent poll shows a majority of Florida voters like the law, with about 56 percent supporting it. However, a spokesperson for the Brady Campaign, which aims to prevent gun violence, states that since the passing of the 2005 law, Florida has become one of the most dangerous states in the U.S. as it is encouraging a dangerous mentality and has led to unnecessary tragedies.
The penalties for a violent crime in Florida can be very severe, and without proper legal representation, a person may face harsh consequences that can permanently impact his or her life. The Gulf County violent crime defense attorneys at Musca Law are committed to protecting your legal rights throughout your case and will work to get you the best possible outcome. Schedule a free consultation with our legal team by calling (800) 687-2252.