You are hereTampa Bay Times: Five years since Florida enacted "stand-your-ground" law, justifiable homicides are up

Tampa Bay Times: Five years since Florida enacted "stand-your-ground" law, justifiable homicides are up


-By Ben Montgomery and Colleen Jenkins

October 17, 2010- TAMPA — Two men meet at a park one Sunday afternoon in September. One is playing basketball with his daughter. The other has a gun tucked in his pants.

The two men argue about a kid who's skateboarding. The man with the gun tries to enforce the rules. The other man lunges.

The unarmed man takes his last breath in front of his 8-year-old daughter. Two days later, authorities charge the gun owner with manslaughter.

Case closed? Maybe not.

If history serves, the gunman stands a very good chance in court. The case may not even make it to trial.

That's because of Florida Statute 776.013(3), which took effect five years ago this month. The old law gave you the right to protect yourself with deadly force inside your home. The 2005 law gives you the right to protect yourself in a park, outside a Chili's, on a highway — just about anywhere.

You need only to "reasonably believe" that pulling the trigger or plunging the knife or swinging the bat is necessary to stop the other person from hurting you.

Reports of justifiable homicides tripled after the law went into effect, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. Last year, twice a week, on average, someone's killing was considered warranted.

The self-defense law — known as "stand your ground" — has been invoked in at least 93 cases with 65 deaths, a St. Petersburg Times review found.

FULL STORY HERE:

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