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Trayvon Martin's mother urging repeal of Fla.'s 'Stand Your ground' law

Sybrina Fulton, the mother of Trayvon Martin, who was shot dead in 2011, is urging Florida legislators to repeal the controversial "Stand Your Ground Law."

Sybrina Fulton, the mother of Trayvon Martin, who was shot dead in 2011, is urging Florida legislators to repeal the controversial "Stand Your Ground Law."

TALLAHASSEE, Fla., - The mother of Trayvon Martin urged lawmakers on Wednesday to throw their support behind a bill that would repeal Florida's controversial Stand Your Ground law, which she blamed for the death of her son who would have turned 18 on Feb. 5.

Speaking to reporters outside the state Senate chambers, Sybrina Fulton said the 2005 Florida self-defense law that allows people who fear for their lives to use deadly force resulted in the Feb. 26, 2011, shooting of her unarmed son by neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman.

The statute has been invoked in defense of Zimmerman, who was arrested 44 days after Martin's death. The high-profile shooting of the black teenager sparked a public outcry from gun control activists.

Zimmerman faces second degree murder charges at a trial scheduled for later this year.

"We need to do something seriously about this law," said Fulton, whose voice broke as she fought back tears.

"As a parent I wouldn't want you to stand in my shoes because it is hard. It is difficult," she said.

Her comments came as President Barack Obama, speaking in Washington, D.C., proposed sweeping measures to help curb gun violence across the nation.

Martin was shot after an altercation with Zimmerman in a residential neighborhood in Sanford, Florida. Critics have said that Zimmerman pursued Martin, confronted him and shot him after the two scuffled. Martin was returning from a convenience store to the townhouse where he was staying with his father.

After Martin's death, Florida Governor Rick Scott created a task force that traveled around the state over a four month period to take testimony from hundreds of stakeholders from Pensacola to Miami. In November, the 17-member group issued draft report that largely upheld the law.

Earlier this month, state Representative Alan Williams, a Democrat, filed a bill to repeal the law. The Republican-controlled legislature is due to convene in March.

"These tragedies renew the argument that Stand Your Ground laws make ordinary citizens feel empowered to shoot first and ask questions later, boosting murder rates and justifiable homicide claims," said Williams.

State Senator Dwight Bullard, a Democrat like Williams and co-sponsor of the bill to repeal Stand Your Ground, said the fact that the task force came up with no substantive changes was unacceptable.

"It's legalized vigilantism," Bullard said of the law. "As a state, we can no longer stand for it."

Marion Hammer, a Tallahassee-based gun rights activist and former national president of the National Rifle Association, said Governor Scott's task force had done its job and reached a well-reasoned conclusion.

"Our position is that there is nothing wrong with the law," said Hammer.

Florida is known for its liberal gun laws. The number of active concealed weapons licenses in the state recently reached more than 1 million, more than any other U.S. state.

Comments

Somebody 1 year, 2 months ago

If she'd been a better mother and raised her son properly instead of him acting like a thug wannabe, perhaps he would still be alive today.

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Dino58 1 year, 2 months ago

You are heartless, gutless, and spineless. In other words Somebody, you are NOBODY.

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MRKIA 1 year, 2 months ago

THE STAND YOUR GROUND LAW IS NOT THE CAUSE OF HER SON'S DEATH. WHILE I DO NOT DOUBT THAT SOME INDIVUALS WILL FEEL EMPOWERED BY THIS LAW, REPEALING THIS LAW WILL HAVE NEGLIBLE EFFECT ON THE MURDER RATE. I PREFER KNOWING THAT I CAN PROTECT MYSELF AND FAMILY FROM IMMINENT DANGER FREE OF LEGAL REPERCUSSION. THE THUGS NEED TO KNOW THAT THEY CAN LOSE THEIR LIVES IF AN ARMED CITIZEN DECIDES TO STAND THEIR GROUND IN A CONFRONTATION. MY OPINION IS G.Z MURDERED THIS KID AND IS TRYING TO SHIELD HIMSELF WITH THIS LAW. G.Z. HAD NO REASON TO APPROACH MARTIN TRYING TO PLAY POLICE OFFICER. MARTIN, HAD HE HAD A GUN, COULD HAVE LEGALLY KILLED G.Z. AS THIS LAW IS WRITTEN. G.Z. IS A LYING, MURDERING OPPORTUNIST. GET READY TO DO SOME TIME.

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B4it 1 year, 2 months ago

Wow MRKIA. Don't you think the judgement and conviction should be left up to the judge and jury? I know you are entitled to your opinion. But unless you were there and were a witness, your above statements are no more than racially motivated rants.

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MRKIA 1 year, 2 months ago

@B4IT: TRUE THAT MY COMMENT IS ONLT AN OPINION AND THAT IS WHERE I STAND ON IT. RACIALLY MOTIVATED YOU SAY? THAT IS ALSO AN OPINION BUT NOTHING COULD BE FURTHER FROM THE TRUTH. MY CONDEMNATION OF G.Z. HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH HIS OR MARTIN'S RACE. IT'S' ABOUT RIGHT AND WRONG.

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GG126 1 year, 2 months ago

Please type in lowercase. Most people don't even take time to read comments in all UPPERCASE. It means you are yelling and who wants to be yelled at?

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VSU 1 year, 2 months ago

I don't support repealing the stand your ground law, people should have the right to defend themselves. In the past I was supporting George Zimmerman in thinking he did it in self defense and later videos did show he had an injury to the back of his head, but at the same time Zimmerman lied about his financial situation, but unless they have a valid eye witness that saw the incident, I don't know how they could prove this either way. One thing we do know, the incident could have been avoided if Zimmerman had just let the police handle the situation. I understand if he was watching the neighborhood, but it was not his job to pursue Martin.

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MRKIA 1 year, 2 months ago

YOUR LAST 2 SENTENCES SAYS IT ALL. NOTHING RACIAL TO IT. SUBSTITUTE ANY RACE, SAME CONCLUSION.

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B4it 1 year, 2 months ago

Aren't you doing the same as MRKIA? Unless you were there and witnessed the incident, how do you know he was pursuing Martin?

Consider if you were assigned the duty to watch your neighborhood. You see someone walking through that you do not recognize and you call the police. While waiting on the police, you try to keep up with where the suspicious person went, but loose site of the person and head back to your car/post. And then you are jumped from behind. Now in this scenario, did you pursue and cause the problem? Could this also be another alternative to what happened rather than what is assumed and/or reported by the media. All I am trying to say is we need to be careful about assuming guilt without knowing all of the FACTS! What we know for sure is that the media was not up front with the truth or facts at the beginning of this tragic death.

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MRKIA 1 year, 2 months ago

FACT IS THAT G.Z. INITIATED THE EVENTS THAT LED TO MARTIN'S DEATH.

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VSU 1 year, 2 months ago

But if you were not there, how do you know your scenario is correct? And as I stated in my comment "but unless they have a valid eye witness that saw the incident, I don't know how they could prove this either way" You ask how do I know he was pursuing Martin? Only by Zimmerman's statement, he said he was following and watching Martin and then lost sight of him, but I don't know that he is telling the truth. I cannot ask Martin what happened can I? If you were not there,(And I seriously doubt that you were) how do you know whether or not Zimmerman was following Martin? This "was you there questionaire" can go both ways, so technically you was not there so you really don't know what happened, I was not there so I do not know what happened.

Once again unless they have a valid eye witness that saw the incident, there were only two people that really knows what went on and only one of those is alive. End of discussion!

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Trustbuster 1 year, 2 months ago

SCOTUS upheld such a law under Beard v. US (1895) and Brown v. US (1921).

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rorschach 1 year, 2 months ago

I don't understand the law in the first place. Even if there was no " Stand Your Ground" I believe that all citizens still have the right under law to defend themselves from death or serious bodily harm even to the point of deadly force. I don't see a need to add anything to that.

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MRKIA 1 year, 2 months ago

NO ONE SEEMS TO THINK THAT MARTIN HAD THAT SAME RIGHT. HE WAS NOT ARMED AND MINDING HIS OWN BUSINESS.

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rorschach 1 year, 2 months ago

I agree with you in that GZ was the one who initiated the confrontation that ultimately led to Martin's death. What I don't understand is why is there a need to rename a law that already exists.

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B4it 1 year, 2 months ago

Again MRKIA, were you there to know the FACTS? If Martin was minding his own business, then why was he in a fight? Seek the truth before condemning someone who may or may not be innocent.

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MRKIA 1 year, 2 months ago

HE WAS FIGHTING NO ONE UNTIL G.Z. THE WANNABE WYATT EARP PICKED ONE.

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USTPC 1 year, 2 months ago

Stand your ground laws protect an individual from being prosecuted criminally or civily. Without that law, even if you were in the right to defend yourself you could still be prosecuted for murder or assault or sued by the attacker if he lived or by his family members if he did not.

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rorschach 1 year, 2 months ago

If stand your ground offers the proyection you suggests then why is GZ being prosecuted? Also even if he is not convicted Travon's family can still file a wrongful death civil suit. People in states that have "stand your ground" are being misled into believing that they can shoot anyone for almost anything and play the "stand your ground" card like a joker in bid whist.

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USTPC 1 year, 2 months ago

In GZ case law enforcement felt that "stand your ground" did not apply and therefore he was arrested and will be tried in a court of law. It is now up to his attorneys to prove that the "stand your ground" law does apply. If they do and GZ is acquitted becasue of the "stand your ground" law then Trayvon Martins family would not be allowed to file a wrongful death lawsuit.

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USTPC 1 year, 2 months ago

776.032 Immunity from criminal prosecution and civil action for justifiable use of force.— (1) A person who uses force as permitted in s. 776.012, s. 776.013, or s. 776.031 is justified in using such force and is immune from criminal prosecution and civil action for the use of such force, unless the person against whom force was used is a law enforcement officer, as defined in s. 943.10(14), who was acting in the performance of his or her official duties and the officer identified himself or herself in accordance with any applicable law or the person using force knew or reasonably should have known that the person was a law enforcement officer. As used in this subsection, the term “criminal prosecution” includes arresting, detaining in custody, and charging or prosecuting the defendant.

Link to the entire law:

http://www.husseinandwebber.com/florida-stand-your-ground-statute.html

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Trustbuster 1 year, 2 months ago

If Florida repeals the stand your ground law the right to defend yourself must be protected. As I understand the Florida law was passed after a hurricane event so that property owners could use deadly force to protect themselves in the absence of law enforcement.

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trick1906 1 year, 2 months ago

B4it Probably thinks Lance Armstrong is still innocent of doping, since he didnt see him dope.

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B4it 1 year, 2 months ago

Trick... What a really dumb comment!. You have blindly missed my point of seeking and considering the FACTS prior to condemning someone. There were too many jumping to wrong conclusions based on distorted news stories. Even Obama got caught up in this before all of the FACTS were known.

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Tonto 1 year, 2 months ago

B4it, got yer back partner. This was tried in the media using a picture of the victum several years old to further inflame sentiments of the "child" being shot...how could that sweet smile be a threat?. First reports even claimed it was a racist incident because the shooter was white...then had to backtrack when it turned out to be hispanic but they made it about race anyway. Suppress the victum's junivle incidents as "not relevent". Then the shooters team started with the choir-boy routine and made it sound like he was Saint Thersa reincarnated, attacked for just "being there protecting the innocent property owners"..despite what the police told him to do. My prayers to the jurors who have to sort thru this to try and find the truth knowing that no matter the facts half the folks won't believe them when they give a verdict.

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USTPC 1 year, 2 months ago

You are right there Tonto. It does not matter whether Zimmerman is convicted or acquitted someone will be screaming about injustice. This case is a lose-lose for everyone. On top of that, with all the media coverage this was given, it will be extremely hard to find a jury of 12 who do not already have an opinion formulated one way or the other.

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agirl_25 1 year, 2 months ago

Is it SSDD or DDSS? Never could get that right.

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