Will Weatherford (R), the speaker of Florida’s House of Representatives, recently announced that the state will hold hearings on its controversial stand-your-ground law sometime in fall.
“We must look at the facts," Weatherford wrote in a post on the Tampa Tribune. "I have asked the chair of our Criminal Justice Subcommittee to hold a hearing this fall on ‘Stand Your Ground.’ Our evaluation of its effectiveness should be guided by objective information, not by political expediency. Does the law keep the innocent safer? Is it being applied fairly? Are there ways we can make this law clearer and more understandable?”
It is worth noting that holding hearings about the law does not necessarily mean the Republicans are preparing to do away with the law entirely. Based on Weatherford’s article, it seems that he is more interested in clarifying how the law applies rather than removing it.
“A common reaction [to a shooting death] is to search for answers and assign blame, yet I believe the focus of some has been misplaced on Florida's stand-your-ground law,” he said.
He then went on to argue that George Zimmerman did not use SYG as part of his defense, which makes SYG a poor scapegoat for the shooting of Trayvon Martin. He also stressed the importance of citizens being able to defend themselves against attackers.
The article is strongly in support of SYG, which draws into question the motivation for the hearing. It could simply be a political move to silence critics of SYG by promising hearings that go nowhere. It might offer SYG supporters an opportunity to appease opponents by watering down the law ever so slightly without removing the law altogether.
What are your thoughts? Does Weatherford’s promise to review the law seem disingenuous considering how much he defended it? Does stand-your-ground belong in the Florida law books?
Source: Tampa Tribune