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"Stand Your Ground" Forum to Draw Mix of State Lawmakers

July 24, 2013 | WMFE - State Sen. Geraldine Thompson says public opposition to Florida's "stand your ground" law is growing, but only legislators can change the law. The Central Florida democrat will join other state lawmakers and attorneys Wednesday evening for a discussion of "stand your ground" at Florida A&M University's College of Law in Orlando.

The discussion will center on whether the law should be altered after former Neighborhood Watch volunteer George Zimmerman's aquittal on second-degree murder and manslaughter charges for shooting Trayvon Martin.

Zimmerman says he shot the unarmed teenager in self-defense.

Senator Thompson opposes "stand your ground." She says any change to the law must come from within Florida's Republican-dominated Legislature.

"There are 160 of us so those are the people who are going to have to have the will to re-examine the law and to amend it if we find that that is necessary or to repeal it."

Thompson says despite a task force Gov. Rick Scott appointed last year to review the law, little real discussion of "stand your ground" has taken place. Like other critics she says the task force was stacked with the law's supporters. 

A Florida Republican who helped write "stand your ground" will be at tonight's forum: State Sen. David Simmons. Also at the forum: state Sen. Chris Smith, a South Florida democrat who's called for changes to the law.


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