Dennis Baxley is an author of one of the nation’s most notorious gun laws, Stand Your Ground.
And lately, he’s relieved.
When a special prosecutor last week charged George Zimmerman in the Feb. 26 killing of Trayvon Martin, it was a political public-relations indictment of those who said Stand Your Ground gave the shooter blanket immunity.
“I’m sort of happy about this guy being charged, on the political front, because I’m able to say: ‘See, I told you, it doesn’t say you can’t charge the guy,’ ” said Baxley, a Republican state representative from Ocala.
So it’s not just liberals, black lawmakers and others who cheered the second-degree murder charge against Zimmerman. Gun-rights advocates and the National Rifle Association received some political cover to resist calls to change the deadly force law.
Of course, if a judge tosses the charge and cites Stand Your Ground, the pressure will only increase to clarify the law’s intent. Indeed, the law goes on trial before Zimmerman in an actual court and in the court of public opinion.
But the facts of the Zimmerman case might make it politically tougher to amend Stand Your Ground in the Florida Legislature.
Here’s why: Special Prosecutor Angela Corey actually read the statutes. And they probably don’t give Zimmerman much immunity.
Corey probably found that, after chapter 776.013 (a k a Stand Your Ground), there’s another chapter, 776.041, called “use of force by aggressor.”