Florida Senate Judiciary Committee advanced a bill that made some changes to the state’s controversial “Stand Your Ground” law.
The bill, which was passed by a vote of 7-2, has been strongly supported by the family of Trayvon Martin. The 17-year-old was shot and killed by neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman. Zimmerman was charged with second degree murder and was acquitted by a Florida jury in July.
“Tracy and I have said from the beginning that our hope is that the tragedy of Trayvon’s death can be turned into real change so that other parents don’t have to experience the grief we have endured” Sybrina Fulton, the mother of Trayvon Martin, said following the announcement of the bill’s advancement.
“The work here is not done, and we fear an uphill battle going forward to achieve real change in our son’s name.”
Stand Your Ground allows citizens to use deadly force if they feel their life is in danger.
New changes to the bill would include providing proper training for neighborhood watch programs, ensuring a proper investigation is conducted after Stand Your Ground is claimed, allowing lawsuits against people acting in self-defense if they negligently injure or kill an innocent bystander and limit the use of the law when aggressors claim it.
“I see this as an important first step in making sure that Florida’s Stand Your Ground Law properly protects victims and applaud the committee for taking this first step,” said Martin family attorney Ben Crump in a press release. “In light of current events in Washington D.C., It is refreshing to see legislators compromising and working together so that Florida’s citizens are protected.”
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