Gov. Rick Scott doesn’t want to change Florida’s controversial
Stand Your Ground law, and public opinion polls and even Democrats
indicate the Republican might be on safe political ground.
self-defense law became central to the nation’s political debate over
guns after a jury found George Zimmerman not guilty in last year’s
shooting death of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed 17-year-old from Miami
A group of liberal-leaning protesters has occupied the
governor’s office lobby calling for immediate changes to Stand Your
Ground, echoing calls from activist and MSNBC host Al Sharpton.
But the exact role of Stand Your Ground in the verdict is unclear,
and a new poll released last week showed 50 percent of Floridians
support keeping the law intact, 31 percent want it changed and only 13
percent want a full repeal.
Though the poll was conducted by a
Republican-led firm, Viewpoint Florida, the findings jibe with four
other nonpartisan Florida surveys that have shown even greater support
for the self-defense law, which gives a person more rights to use deadly
force without having to retreat first in a confrontation.
three Democrats who have the best shot at facing Scott in next year’s
election say the law should be modified — not repealed — but they aren’t
making Stand Your Ground a top issue, either.
“I don’t think it’s the litmus test for the election,” said former state Sen. Nan Rich, the only major announced candidate.
should be a discussion about it,” said Rich, who met Saturday with the
Dream Defenders in Tallahassee. “But it’s not a litmus issue.”