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Democrats calls for 'stand your ground' special session

Rep. Dwayne Taylor, D-Daytona Beach, has asked Speaker Dean Cannon to call a special session for review of the "stand your ground" self-defense laws. Meanwhile, other black lawmakers are saying any action, including a task force appointed by the governor, should begin immediately.

Cannon's office said he disagrees with those requests because still too many unaswered questions about the death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.

Photo(7)"Speaker Cannon feels that legislative action is premature at this point given the ongoing investigations as well as the upcoming convening of the Seminole County Grand Jury," spokeswoman Katie Betta said via email. "Speaker Cannon will be closely monitoring the situation and any new developments that may arise in the case. He will also make recommendations to Governor Scott regarding appointments to the Task Force on Citizen Safety and Protection which will review the 'Stand Your Ground' law following the investigation by the special prosecutor."

Several black House members brought Skittles and Arizona Ice Tea with them to today's session on redistricting in a tribute to Martin. Picture above left to right, are Rep. Perry Thurston, D-Plantation, Rep. Mia Jones, D-Jacksonville, and Rep. Geraldine Thompson, D-Orlando. Rep. Dwight Bullard, D-Miami, wore a hoodie under his suit.

African-American lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have also said they would like to serve on the task force that will be convened by Gov. Rick Scott to look into "stand your ground" and other public safety issues. Democratic Senators Gary Siplin of Orlando, Oscar Braynon of Miami Gardens, Arthenia Joyner of Tampa, and Chris Smith of Fort Lauderdale have either asked to be named to the committee or been recommended by someone else.

Smith agrees that quick action, notwithstanding the results of the Martin investigation, is needed.

"We have to act swiftly like we did when the German tourists were getting killed on I-10," he said, referring to the 1993 shooting of a British tourist and his companion at a Jefferson County rest stop on Interstate 10. The fatal shooting of Gary Colley  prompted a widespread review of Florida's gun laws.

Scott has not said how the task force will be composed or how members will be selected, but he also doesn't want the work to begin until the investigation surrounding Martin's death is concluded. Smith sent the governor a letter asking for the task force to commence discussion within six days and a special session once that group finishes its work.

Katie Sanders, Mary Ellen Klas and Steve Bousquet contributed to this report.

Comments

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Rachel

There is nothing wrong with Stand Your Ground laws they are passed overwhelmingly by state houses and state senates all across the country (in every region). They are also held to be constitutional by Intermediate appellate courts and state Supreme Courts across the country. I would greatly appreciate it if the media would focus on the good these laws do in protecting good people from criminals and prosecution. Also there have been reductions in crime in the states that these laws are passed in.

Rachel

I would also like to add that there would be nothing more tragic than for the legislature to do away with a self-defense law that has done more good than bad. If someone was to be a victim of Rape, Robbery, Cajacking, Attempted Murder, Aggravated Battery, etc... why should the victim have to legally try to retreat or face prosecution for defending themselves?

Rachel

Why should any citizen have a legally obligated duty to retreat from an attacker? Is this really what the Democrats want in the news? Do they honestly believe that the most important thing to do right now is to get rid of a self-defense law? Are they on the side of criminals or law abiding citizens who elect them? I know they will become more of a minority in the state legislature if they try to go through with anything.

Irufushi6

Rachel, don't forget what Rahm Emmanuel said, "Never let a crisis go to waste". When Democrats try and pass laws it is NEVER out of "concern" for the people, it is only to advance their Socialist, Marxist agenda. Pathetic, really, that that's the only way they can pass anything, by hyping up the emotions of the public. But it makes us wonder, do you think they would ever cause an event like this? Knowing how corrupt this administration is, I wouldn't be surprised.

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