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Sen. Chris Smith's Stand Your Ground claim faces Truth-0-Meter

The fatal shooting of unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin by a neighborhood watch volunteer in Sanford, Fla., has reopened debate about the state’s "stand your ground" law.

One of the arguments we’ve heard from lawmakers wanting to change the 2005 law is that deaths due to self-defense are up dramatically since "stand your ground" passed. The law -- approved overwhelmingly by the Legislature and signed by Gov. Jeb Bush in 2005 -- allows people to use deadly force when they believe their life is at risk.

Sen. Chris Smith, a Democrat who represents parts of Broward and Palm Beach counties, wants to rewrite the law because he fears its protections are too broad. Smith wants to change the law so that it only applies in cases that take place in a home, car or at work. He also wants to prohibit the use of "stand your ground" in cases where the shooter has provoked a confrontation, Smith said in a March 21 press release sent by the Senate Democratic office.

"This law has been a double-edged sword," said Smith, who was the House Democratic leader in 2005 when "stand your ground" passed. Smith voted against the law. "Stand your ground’ appears to be giving suspects better protections from arrest and prosecution than increased security measures for the citizens the law was originally intended to protect. This needs to be dramatically changed. … We can’t keep turning a blind eye to the number of lives this law has claimed."

According to the press release, Smith noted that "since the law’s passage, deaths due to self defense have jumped over 250 percent."

PolitiFact checks it out.

Comments

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Rachel

Deaths have jumped 250%! wow that's an alarming percentage that this article does not go in depth about. The average number of justifiable homicides a year in florida is around 36. Before the law passed it was around 15. Florida has 20 MILLION citizens. And the victims of this law - Burglars, Robbers, Carjackers, Attempted Murderers are getting what they deserve when they committ forcible felonies. I can't believe how the left could not wait for something like this to happen to go after the 2nd Amendment, Castle Doctrine, and Stand Your Ground Laws. Does Representative Smith want the people he was elected to serve to lay down and die in the face of an attacker? or maybe he favors criminals? Smith will be defeated as the votes are not there for him to win on this. Also when the facts come out that Zimmerman was struck from behind after giving up his pursuit of Martin, was thrown to the ground, Had a broken nose, scars and bruises, and that Trayvon was on top of Zimmerman Lets just see how Smith does in his proposals. Also the media should be advised that Trayvon supporters are belived to be responsible for setting fires near railroad tracks in the city of Sanford. When charges are not brought what will happen? riots perhaps?

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