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Senate panel to consider Stand Your Ground revisions

A Senate panel on Tuesday will consider two proposals to amend the Stand Your Ground self-defense law that would require law enforcement agencies to set guidelines for neighborhood watch programs.

One of the bills was filed by Sen. David Simmons, the Republican senator who drafted the original statute nearly a decade ago.

“The Stand Your Ground law is an excellent law, but there are some improvements that can be made,” said Simmons, of Altamonte Springs.

Tuesday’s hearing marks the first time state lawmakers will consider revising the self-defense law since George Zimmerman’s acquittal in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Tom Lee, R-Brandon, said he supports moving forward with modifications “in a bipartisan way.”

But whether a similar proposal would gain traction in the Florida House of Representatives remains to be seen. Rep. Matt Gaetz, a Fort Walton Beach Republican tasked with chairing a House review of the law, has said he will not change “one damn comma” in the existing statute.

Gaetz did not return calls seeking comment.

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