Police in Sanford, Florida still maintain that George Zimmerman’s actions when he shot and killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin were legally justified because of the state’s controversial “Stand Your Ground” law. The self-defense law passed in 2005 over objections that it could lead to “racially motivated killings,” and now, lawmakers have asked Gov. Rick Scott (R) to appoint a special task force to look into the Martin case.
The governor’s office said he is reviewing the request. In the meantime, Senate President Mike Haridopolos said there would be no special committee on the use of the “Stand Your Ground” law, according to the Palm Beach Post:
“The Senate President feels that Governor Scott is currently taking all of the appropriate steps to address the tragic shooting of Trayvon Martin. Additionally, the Senate President is confident that the circumstances surrounding this shooting will be closely examined by lawmakers, and if the Senate concludes that laws need to be revised they will be addressed in the future,” Haridopolos’s spokeswoman Lyndsey Cruley said in an e-mail.
Haridopolos’ reaction is another example of Republicans who bow to the National Rifle Association, which pushed for the Florida self-defense law in the first place. And while debate continues in Florida about it, the NRA continues to lobby other state legislatures to enact the same controversial law. Just days after Martin’s tragic death, the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action urged Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton (D) to sign a bill that would bring a Florida-style “Stand Your Ground” law to Minnesota. (Dayton vetoed the legislation.)
Despite the NRA’s backing, the statistics still show that “justifiable homicides” have shot up in Florida since the self-defense law passed. And even the bill’s author thinks that, in this case, Zimmerman should be arrested for his role in Martin’s death. Nationally, Martin is one of more than 400 people who have been killed by people who have permits to carry a concealed gun.