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Senate Democratic Leader: #HearTheBills amending Stand Your Ground

Two more Florida lawmakers are calling for changes to Florida's controversial Stand Your Ground law.

On Thursday, Senate Democratic Leader Chris Smith, D-Fort Lauderdale, and House Democratic Leader Perry Thurston, D-Fort Lauderdale, launched a social media campaign asking their fellow lawmakers to debate the self-defense legislation.

“Why do they fear this debate?” Smith asked. “We have a clear case that shows Stand Your Ground has very troubling problems, and those problems are central to the well being of Floridians. These changes do not affect a person’s right to self defense. But they stop the ability to hide behind self defense when you bring yourself to a fight.”

Smith also announced plans to re-file his legislation amending Stand Your Ground. He filed a similar proposal during the last session, but it did not receive a hearing.

“The common sense changes to Stand Your Ground in this bill include some a Republican senator recommended," Smith said. “Stand Your Ground was supposed to be about improving public safety. But unless these changes are adopted, no one is truly safe and everyone is fair game.”

Smith's bill would prevent aggressors from receiving immunity, he said. It would also provide less confusing language for adopting jury instructions, and require sheriffs and police chiefs to issue guidelines prohibiting neighborhood watch participants from pursuing and confronting suspects.

Rep. Alan Williams , D-Tallahassee, said Thursday that he would re-file a bill to repeal Stand Your Ground.